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20 Things You Didn't Know about Bloomingdale's

Bloomingdale's is one of the best known department stores in the United States and has been for over one hundred and fifty years. It sells high end products across a range of different departments. The store in New York is the best known but they operate in a number of other states as well. Here are twenty facts about Bloomingdale's that you may not know.

1. It Was Founded By The Bloomingdale Brothers

The first store was founded by two brothers, Joseph and Lyman Bloomingdale, in 1872. The brothers were born in New York and had already established careers in the retail industry. They both worked for their father in his women's clothing store. They wanted to create a store where women could shop for clothing and accessories in the same place and so one of the first department stores in the world was opened.

2. Their First Store Was On 56th Street In New York

When Bloomingdale's first opened it was located on 56th Street in Manhattan. This store was open for fourteen years and in this time it became so successful that it got to the stage where the store was simply not big enough. They moved to bigger premises on 59th Street and this is where they have been ever since. Today this store is one of the most recognizable buildings in the whole of New York and the headquarters of the business are still at this location.

3. The New York Store Was The First Retail Store To Have Escalators In The US

Lyman Bloomingdale was the primary financier of Jesse W. Reno and his invention of the inclined elevator which would come to be known as escalators. Therefore it came as no real surprise when Bloomingdale's became the first retail outlet to make use of these in their store in 1898. This was good business for Lyman as not only did more people start to visit Bloomingdale's to see these escalators but it also meant that other businesses started to show an interest in having them installed at their premises. This gave him a very good return on his investment.

4. It Was Sold To The Federated Department Stores In 1930

Federated Department Stores was formed in 1929 and was created as a holding company for a number of stores including Abraham & Straus and F & R Lazarus. They purchased Bloomingdale's one year later when it was still a relatively new company. When the store was sold both of the Bloomingdale brothers who founded the business had died and it was being run by Lyman's sons. Federated Department Stores still own the company today although they are now called Macy's Inc.

5. Dubai Is The Only Location That It Operates Outside Of The US

Bloomingdale's has two stores in Dubai and this is the only overseas territory that the company is likely to expand to. There is a home store in Dubai that is situated over the one level. There is also a three level store in a different location that sells apparel and accessories. Although the stores bear the Bloomingdale's name they are ran by a separate company that is based in Dubai. There are no other plans to have stores in any other overseas locations at the present time.

6. The Expansion Of The Company Went Outwards From Manhattan

The company started to expand it's retail outlets in 1949 when it opened a new store in Flushing Meadows. Ten years later there were other stores in New York and New Jersey that formed a circle around the Manhattan store. As the company expanded even further then stores began to appear in other states such as California. There are approximately thirty five stores across America that are full range department stores with many more stores that just focus on one particular department such as home.

7. Ralph Lauren Rose To Prominence After Selling From A Boutique In Bloomingdale's

In 1967 Ralph Lauren was selling his clothes from a single drawer in a room inside the Empire State Building. He later started selling from a boutique within Bloomingdale's and this was the point when his work first started getting noticed. He is not the only designer that has benefited from selling their designs at Bloomingdale's and other notable names that have sold there include Calvin Klein and Perry Ellis. Today Bloomingdale's remains one of the first places that people head to when they want all the latest designer fashions in one place.

8. The First Designer Shopping Bag Was Created By Bloomingdale's

The 'Brown Bag' is one of the most iconic features of shopping at Bloomingdale's even today. The first designer shopping bag was introduced by the store in the 1960s and this is a tradition that has stayed with the company. It is rumored that the design of the first bag was inspired by a tarot card. Getting their name on bags that people would use time and time again meant that this was another way that awareness of the brand was spread.

9. Queen Elizabeth Visited The Store In 1976

When Queen Elizabeth visited New York for the second time she made a visit to Bloomingdale's. She was given a guided tour of the store and is said to have been particularly impressed by the British pottery and furniture that was on sale at the store. She had indicated that as this was her second time in the city she wanted to view it in the same way as a tourist would. The roads around the store had to be closed because the car she was traveling in needed to come down the street in the wrong direction so that the Queen was on the side closest to the building when she got out.

10. Only One Song Per Day Is Played In The New York Store

At the beginning of every day New York New York by Frank Sinatra plays as the doors to the store in Manhattan are opened. This is the only song that you will hear played in the store all day. If you are in New York and want to visit Bloomingdale's while you are there then this a good time of day to get there as it is not that busy and you will get to hear the song.

11. They Have A Philanthropy Program Called b.cause

This program gives employees the chance to decide which projects in their local area should benefit from this program. Charitable events are held in store and also out in local communities. This is a cause that the business really believes in and they see it as a chance to give something back to the communities that their employees call home. Details about the latest projects can be found in store or on the website.

12. Products Bought From Their Website Can Be Shipped Internationally

Even though there are no physical stores outside of the United States and Dubai people from other countries can still buy from the company. All of the shipping is carried out by Borderfree and this helps to keep delivery costs low. Details of the countries that shipping is available in can be found on the website. Selling internationally online is one of the most cost effective ways to expand into other countries without the need for a physical store. Free delivery is available on all orders in the United States that meet a certain order value.

13. They have a reward card called "Loyallist"

When you shop at Bloomingdale's you can earn points which can then be redeemed for money off vouchers. If you shop at the store on a regular basis then this is something that is well worth signing up for. The loyalty card is slightly different from that offered by other companies in that there are no restrictions in terms of what the vouchers can be redeemed for. If it is sold by Bloomingdale's then you can use your vouchers to purchase it.

14. Tony Spring Is The Current CEO

Antony Spring, also known as Tony, has been the CEO of the company since 2014 but he has worked for the store since 1987. He has worked his way up to the top position in this time and has had a lot of different responsibilities during this time. In his previous role of Senior Vice President he was credited with making sure that Bloomingdale's was always up there with other retail businesses that were continuing to do well. The fact that he had worked his way up within the business means he has a first hand knowledge of how the business works and this is something that his seen him well in his role as CEO.

15. The Store In The Mall Of America In Minnesota Was Closed In 2012

In 2012 Bloomingdale's announced that it would be closing some of its stores which were underperforming. One of the most controversial stores to be named for closure was the store in Mall Of America as it was one of the anchor stores for the whole mall. The mall is one of the most visited shopping destinations in the whole of the United States and some people did worry that it would be a mistake to pull out of this location when it had such a large footfall.

16. They Have Their Own Mobile App

The mobile app for Bloomingdale's is called The Big Brown Bag. Customers are able to shop directly from the app and choose to have their purchases delivered to them or collected from store. You can even order from the app and collect from store on the same day and there are not many other companies that offer such a quick turnaround as this.

17. They Offer A Personal Shopping Experience

The ethos of Bloomingdale's is to create a shopping experience that customers will not find elsewhere. One of the services that they offer is personal shopping where a member of staff will help you find clothes and accessories that suit you. You are able to set your budget with your personal shopper and they will help you find something that is really special. This can also be booked as a gift for a loved one.

18. Their Store In Manhattan Has A Sky Bridge

There is a sky bridge that crosses between 59th and 60th street at their Manhattan store. This is no longer in use but it was one of the last remaining examples of this type of bridge in Manhattan. This type of bridge was very popular at one point as it was a way to relieve some of the congestion that has always been a problem on the streets of New York.

19. They Have Always Managed To Stay Relevant Throughout Their History

The retail industry has changed a lot over the past few years and many stores have struggled to maintain physical stores now that online shopping is becoming more and more popular. However, this has never been an issue for Bloomingdale's as they have always managed to keep up with the different trends in retail and still remain successful. One of the ways that they do this is by continuing to work with the most popular designers of the time to ensure that products from these designers are available in their stores. They have embraced internet shopping and used it to their advantage when other retailers have struggled to do this.

20. The Company Still Tries To Carry On The Legacy Of The Bloomingdale Brothers

When Joseph and Lyman Bloomingdale first opened their store in Manhattan they wanted it to be different from anything anybody had experienced before. This is a legacy that the company still tries to achieve more than 150 years later. They are constantly evolving in terms of the services that they offer to their customers so that they do not have to look elsewhere. Their flagship store in the heart of Midtown Manhattan also plays a big part in their success. This is the first place that people think of when they hear Bloomingdale's mentioned and tourists from all over the world make it a part of their visit to New York.

Garrett Parker

Written by Garrett Parker

Garrett by trade is a personal finance freelance writer and journalist. With over 10 years experience he's covered businesses, CEOs, and investments. However he does like to take on other topics involving some of his personal interests like automobiles, future technologies, and anything else that could change the world.

Read more posts by Garrett Parker

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