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Bloomingdale’s Empire of ShoppingWednesday 30 September 2015
One of the most well-known American chains of upscale department stores is owned by Macy’s. Bloomingdale’s is a real empire of stores founded in 1861. America’s only nationwide, full-line, upscale retailer is recognized for its originality, innovation and fashion leadership. CovetED considers this brand to be modern, contemporary and “of the moment”.
Bloomingdale’s truly is “Like no other store in the world.” In fact, Bloomingdale’s is a leading attraction for visitors and tourists coming to the United States from around the globe. This brand includes 37 stores, bloomingdales.com and 13 Bloomingdale’s Outlet locations. Bloomingdale’s operates in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, under a license agreement with Al Tayer Insignia, a company of Al Tayer Group LLC.
Bloomingdale’s separates itself from the mainstream and is reinforcing its position as an authority for upscale, contemporary fashion. Customers are attracted by the latest styles from the hottest brands, such as Armani, Burberry, Chanel, Christian Dior, David Yurman, Gucci, Jimmy Choo, John Varvatos, Louis Vuitton, Maje, Miu Miu, Prada, Sandro, Theory and Tory Burch. Bloomingdale’s shoppers have come to expect and savor variety – the newest looks from established brands, as well as unique products from rising young designers. Supporting these fashion brands are exceptional customer amenities – international visitors’ centers, personal shoppers, outstanding fitting rooms and lounges – elegant events and personalized, attentive service that strengthen customer relationships and build loyalty.
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Brothers Joseph and Lyman G. Bloomingdale founded Bloomingdale’s in 1861, when they began selling hoop skirts in their Ladies Notions’ Shop on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. The pair were sons of Benjamin Bloomingdale, a Bavarian-born salesman who had lived in North Carolina and Kansas, and settled in New York City. In 1872, the Bloomingdale brothers opened their first store at 938 Third Avenue, New York City.
As the hoop skirt’s popularity was declining, the brothers closed their East Side Bazaar in 1872, in a small row house on Third Avenue and 56th Street, selling a variety of garments such as ladies’ skirts, corsets, “gent’s furnishings”, and European fashions. At the time the East Side was a working class neighborhood with shanty towns, garbage dumps, and stockyards. Most of their customers and competitors were in the Upper West Side, and at that time most “respectable” stores only specialized in one trade.
Within a few years after opening the store, the Metropolitan Museum of Art opened, the new St. Patrick’s Cathedral was dedicated near the store after moving from its downtown location, Central Park was completed, and the upper portion of the New York City Subway-operated IRT Lexington Avenue Line began construction. These additions brought to the East Side wealthy customers, who built brownstones that surrounded the new park.
The store moved in 1886 to its current location on 59th Street and Lexington Avenue. It was designed with large plate glass display windows and large merchandising areas. Instead of the common practice of cluttering the display windows with an assortment of the goods they sold, the store featured in each window a couple of products as props on a theatrical mise-en-scène. Many of these products were European imports.
By the start of the 20th century, Bloomingdale’s growth had greatly increased, facilitated by its convenient location at a hub of New York City’s horse-drawn trolley system. Offerings at the time included ladies’ stockings at 10¢ a pair (equivalent to $3.00 in 2015), $10 men’s wool suits (equivalent to $283.00 in 2015), and $149 upright pianos (equivalent to $4,224 in 2015). In 1902, the advertising slogan “All Cars Transfer to Bloomingdale’s” capitalized on the store’s location, and the company commissioned artist Richard F. Outcault to create a series of paintings around this theme. The slogan appeared on billboards and on 5,000 free beach umbrellas which were offered to street vendors and delivery cart drivers.
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Around 1905, hard times hit. The popular upper class shopping area moved downtown along Sixth Avenue to between 14th and 23rd Streets. In 1913, the 59th Street Station of the Lexington Avenue subway was constructed in Bloomingdale’s basement, further reinforcing the “All Cars Transfer to Bloomingdale’s” slogan, and business recovered. By the 1920s, the store covered the whole city block.
In 1930, Bloomingdale’s moved to a new location off of Lexington. The building, which had grown to encompass the entire block, had an eleven-story addition and was completely redesigned by architects Starrett & van Vleck in the Art Deco style.
In 1949, Bloomingdale’s opened its first branch store in Fresh Meadows, Queens.
Bloomingdale’s also had a full line branch store in New Rochelle, NY and a furniture store in the Vernon Hills shopping center in Eastchester, NY (about seven miles (11 km) away) which they wanted to expand, however, the City of New Rochelle and the surrounding neighborhood were opposed to Bloomingdales being enlarged, for fear of increased traffic congestion and the loss of some other long-time businesses along New Rochelle’s Main Street. Subsequently, Bloomingdales built a full line store in White Plains combining its Eastchester and New Rochelle stores. (The White Plains store is now one of the only freestanding suburban stores, as most others are a part of a mall environment.) The same year Bloomingdale’s joined Federated Department Stores, now Macy’s, Inc.
In 1961, all over in the US the company started using designer shopping bags to promote its “Esprit de France” exhibit. The design, by artist Jonah Kinigstein, was based on French tarot cards in dramatic shades of red, black, and white. In 1973, the iconic “Brown Bag” appeared. These were designed by Massimo Vignelli, who also designed the current store typeface, and they were prominently labeled in three sizes: “Little”, “Medium”, and “Big”. Fashion designer Michaele Vollbracht designed one of the classic shopping bags in red, black, and white of a formally dressed man on one side and a woman on the other. Other artists who have designed shopping bags were fashion illustrator Antonio Lopez, and Mark Kostabi.
In 1969, Bloomingdale’s two branch stores opened in Garden City, New York on Long Island, and Jenkintown, Pennsylvania. Bloomingdale’s opened home furnishing stores on the East Coast using products from the flagship’s home furnishings department.
According to a survey taken around 1972, over 60 percent of the customers lived and worked in the luxury high-rise apartment and office towers near to the main store. Bloomingdale’s sold such popular items as pet rocks and glacial ice cubes.
In 1973, the store stamped the name “Bloomie’s” on ladies’ panties as part of its launch for intimate apparel in 1973. The rising popularity caused the store to become a tourist attraction, and articles stamped with “Bloomie’s” became popular as souvenirs.
During Queen Elizabeth II’s visit to New York City in 1976, traffic was reversed on Lexington Avenue so the Queen could exit her vehicle on its right side and enter the famous Manhattan flagship through the main entrance.
New York City Flagship Store
One of the most famous department stores in NYC, the Bloomingdale’s store in New York is home to dozens of designer clothes and accessories you can only find in New York City. Taking up an entire block of real estate on the chic Upper East Side of Manhattan, Bloomingdale’s in NYC is the perfect place to begin shopping in New York City.
Known for their huge inventory of the latest designer fashions in NYC, as well as the “little brown bag” that is the trademark of this department store in New York, the Upper East Side Bloomingdale’s in NYC is every dedicated shopper’s dream. Bloomingdale’s NYC features clothes and accessories for everyone in the family, as well as toys, kitchenware and more.
A NYC landmark since it opened in 1927, the Bloomingdale’s Department Store in Manhattan is one of the most popular places to shop in NYC.
If you enter the Manhattan Bloomingdale’s in NYC from the main entrance on Third Avenue, you’ll immediately be greeted by their friendly Services Desk and Visitor Center. The multilingual staff and helpful directory at the Bloomingdale’s New York City entrance will point you in the right direction at this famous store in NYC.
For NYC tourists looking for a little help when picking out the latest fashions in NYC, personal shoppers at Bloomingdale’s Department Store New York are also located on the first floor.
Bloomingdale’s Manhattan is perhaps most famous for its huge selection of designer women’s clothing, accessories, make-up and more. Featuring high-end designers like Calvin Klein, Marc Jacobs, and D & G, women shopping at Bloomingdale’s in NYC have their choice of all of the most fashionable items in the Upper East Side of Manhattan.
Designer clothing for women can be found on floors 2- 4 at Bloomingdale’s NYC. The main floor is also the home of the “Bway” area in Bloomingdale’s, which is a collection of the finest perfumes and cosmetics in NYC. Try out high-end products from Chanel and MAC, and enjoy helpful tutorials from the “Beauty at Your Service” make-up consultants at Bloomingdale’s Department Store in Manhattan.
Also located in the women’s section on the fourth floor of Bloomingdale’s in NYC is the shoe salon. Designer shoes at Bloomingdale’s New York include products from Vera Wang, DKNY, Nike and Adidas. For the coolest designer boots and heels in NYC, check out Bloomingdale’s on Lexington Avenue.
Men shopping at Bloomingdale’s in NYC can enjoy a great selection of designer suits and casual clothing. Located on the lower level of Bloomingdale’s New York City, the men’s section at this Upper East Side store features great items from Giorgio Armanni, Gucci, and Lacoste. Dress to impress during your next vacation in NYC with help from Bloomingdale’s Manhattan.
Bloomingdales has its own dance! The iconic department store has teamed up with famed choreographer Normann Shay, who has worked with major celebs like Madonna, to create a dance called, fittingly, the B-Roll. The dance was rolled out in conjunction with the store’s spring 2015 100% Exclusive campaign.
According to Sophia Tang, the company’s Senior Vice President of Creative, the brand wanted to do something to make the experience of shopping at the store that much more interactive. You can see the tutorial and learn the moves by yourself!