Saturday, December 18, 2010

Macy's Department Store, NYC, NY

This is Macy's Department Store, located at 34th and Broadway in New York City, but the store wasn't always located here. Rowland Hussey Macy's store, better known as R.H. Macy's, was located on 14th Street and 6th Avenue in 1858.

By 1877, the small dry goods store had developed into a successful department store and had grown so large, it took up the ground space of 11 adjacent buildings.

In 1902, Macy's had outgrown their old location and moved to its present location across from Herald Square. By, 1918, Macy's was doing well. The company became public in 1922 and began their expansion of competing department stores with stores such as LaSalle and Kock Toledo, Ohio, in 1923,  Davison-Paxton in Atlanta, Georgia in 1924 and Bambergers in Newark, New Jersey in 1936.

In 1924, the 7th Avenue entrance was completed, making it the World's Largest Store having one million square feet of retail space.  Back then, just as now, Macy's attracted shoppers from around the world.

Also in 1924, a tradition began.  The first Macy's Christmas parade was started by Macy's immigrant employees as a celebration of their new American heritage.  It featured floats, bands and animals from the zoo and had attracted 10,000 onlookers.  If you haven't guessed by now, it is now known as the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and officially ushers in the Christmas season every year with the arrival of Santa Claus at the end of the parade. 

In 1945, Macy's acquired O'Conner Moffatt and Company in San Francisco.  Two years later, the names were converted to the Macy's. This included the famous 1866 store in Union Square, where, in 1971, The Cellar was introduced to their basement. It was so successful that the New York stores followed five years later.

Federated Department Stores acquired Macy's (now known as Macy's Inc.) in 1994.  A & S (Abraham and Straus, a great department store in its own right) became part of Macy's in 1995.  In the same year, Macy's purchased the Broadway Stores, which includes Broadway, Emporium and Weinstocks. Jordan Marsh of Boston, already owned by Federated became Macy's in 1996.  Macy's also bought up 17 Stern's Department Stores located in New York and New Jersey in 2001.  In that same year, Macy's purchased stores in Hawaii and Guam.

By 2005, Macy's had 240 locations, most of its stores concentrated on both coasts of the United States.  When Federated became Macy's Inc., there were approximately 425 locations across the country. In 2006, Macy's locations grew larger, now serving customers in more than 800 stores all over United States and online.

There are several first's in Macy's history, beginning with the the promotion of Margaret Getchell to an executive position in the late 1800's.  They also developed the one-price system, and according to their website, in which the same item was sold to every customer at one price, and quoting specific prices for goods in newspaper advertising.  It was the first store to introduce the tea bag, the Idaho baked potato and different color bath towels,  Macy's was also the first store to acquire a New York City liquor license. They were also the first to start the tradition of holiday window displays in 1896.

A recreation of  the first store was also located in Freedomland on 14th Street and 6th Avenue  in the Little Old New York section of the park.

By the way, the red star that adorns the Macy's store was adopted by R.H. Macy as a symbol of his success from his sailing days. 

Here are some websites that will give you more history.

Wikipedia article:

the official website

Time Magazine article "A Brief History of the Thanksgiving Day Parade",8599,1862565,00.html

1 comment:

  1. I am a Macy's shopper, Clyde, so it is most interesting to me to learn about it's history. Thanks again, Clyde, for a great blog! :o)