Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the last four and a half decades, there’s no doubt that you’ve at least heard of Burlington Coat Factory. Chances are, you’ve probably even shopped there a time or two yourself. However, not everyone has the chance to shop there and still others may not choose to for one reason or another. If you don’t really know a lot about the store, you might be interested in reading through the list below and finding out 20 things about them that you might not have known before. If the store is one of your favorite haunts, you might even be more interesting to read through this list, as you’re bound to find out at least a few things that you didn’t know before.
1. It now has a shorter name
When it first got its start, it was almost always referred to as Burlington Coat Factory. This is a name that references how the company got started, which will be discussed in greater detail later on. These days, it goes by a much shorter name. It was actually several years ago that they started trying to cut out all but first word of the name and these days, it’s almost exclusively known only as Burlington.
2. It’s in almost every state
As a matter of fact, there is at least one Burlington Coat Factory store in all but five states throughout the US. There’s also one in Puerto Rico. That means that most people have had the opportunity to shop there at least once or twice. In the states where the store has proven to be profitable, it’s not uncommon to see more than one. Typically, you can count on finding Burlington stores in major metropolitan areas where additional foot traffic is virtually guaranteed. If there’s only one located in a particular state, you can almost bet that it’s in the largest city or at least the second largest in that particular state.
3. It has more than 600 stores
Obviously, the company has a lot more than just one store in most states. As you can see, it has more than 600 stores located in different places throughout the United States. In reality, that number is closer to about 631 stores. While it’s true that some states do only have one store and there are still five states in the US that don’t have any Burlington stores at all, some states have several locations from which you can choose to shop.
4. It got its name from its hometown
If you’re wondering where the name came from, it’s based on the company’s hometown. When it first got it start, that store was located in Burlington, New Jersey. As a matter of fact, there was a warehouse that was purchased that was referenced by the same name so the family merely decided to keep the name and continue using it. At the time, they probably had no idea that the store would become as popular as it is today or that it would grow at such a rapid pace that they would end up having so many locations. Nevertheless, this is a name that has proven to serve them well, so they never thought about changing it.
5. It wasn’t traded publicly for a few years
The company was traded publicly for many of its earliest years, but then in 2006 it was purchased in a private sale and was no longer traded publicly for a number of years after that. Eventually, the company changed hands again and not too long after that, things started getting back to normal, as they say. In short, the new owner started operating the company in much the same way that the original family had operated it for a number of decades before it was sold the first time.
6. That problem was remedied in 2016
As a direct result, the company started being publicly traded again in 2016. Almost immediately, its stock started rising, at one point selling for as much as 40 percent more than anyone expected. At a time when most brick-and-mortar retailers are struggling to survive, this is definitely something that speaks volumes about the way the company chooses to do business with most of its customers. In addition, it proves that stores that are willing to sell items at a certain price point and offer a decent selection in a nice atmosphere can still succeed, even in a day when people buy most things online.
7. The company is almost 50 years old
In just a few years, this company will be 50 years old. It started out in 1974, meaning that it has been in business for 46 years now. It’s pretty rare to find a business that’s able to stay afloat for that many years, especially when so much has changed in the retail industry during that time. For the most part, the companies that did extremely well back at the time this store was opened no longer exist. The ones that do are struggling to keep their doors open. Somehow, Burlington has managed to skirt all of that and it continues to do well.
8. They sell a lot more than just coats
Part of the reason for its overwhelming success is the fact that they don’t just sell coats and they haven’t for many, many years. Very early on they started realizing that if they wanted to do a good amount of business year-round, they were going to have to sell more than coats so they started incorporating other things. Even during its early years, they started selling items for babies, as well as shoes and other types of accessories, including clothing. Today, they sell all of that and then some. The modern Burlington store sells all kinds clothing, accessories, handbags, items for the home and even pet supplies. And yes, they do still sell coats.
9. They charge less than most stores
The thing that really gets a lot of people coming through the door is the fact that they sell name brand items and they typically sell them for about one-third of what they would cost at a high-end department store. For example, you might go in there looking for a bathing suit and find one that would sell anywhere else for upwards of $50. However, at Burlington, you can get that same bathing suit for about $15. Clearly, that’s enough to keep most people coming back again and again, especially if things continue to become more expensive virtually everywhere else.
10. It started out as a family business
Like so many businesses, this one started out as a family business. For many years, it was operated by a single family. It wasn’t until much later that they considered selling. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the company changed hands, but the same family that started it had continued to operate it up until then.
11. The history is really quite interesting
In this particular case, the wife of the family encouraged her husband to open the store. She had been working as a librarian and since her husband also had a full-time job, she had been taking most of the money she made and saving it. Once she convinced him to open the store with the rest of the family, she was able to use the money that she saved for the down payment and they purchased the warehouse in Burlington, New Jersey. From there, the rest really is history because that’s where they started everything that is related to Burlington.
12. A second location was opened the year after the first store was started
They did so well with the initial location that just a year later, they made the decision to open a second location not far away. This might be enough to make most people decide to run, but they clearly knew what they were doing. Over the years, they continued to open additional locations as their revenue allowed, careful not to overdo it. On the other hand, they were never afraid of the challenges that came their way and they met them head-on. That’s probably why the company still exists today.
13. They frequently help with charitable causes
This is a company that is well known for helping with various charitable causes, not the least of which involved attempting to find a cure for leukemia. They also help with a yearly coat drive in order to make sure that people who don’t have enough money to purchase their own coats can stay warm during the coldest months of the year. The company has long been involved with these types of causes and fortunately, that’s something that hasn’t changed. Many people were worried that it would change when the company was sold, but the new owners made the wise decision to continue operating in much the same fashion as the original family that it operated it for so long before them.
14. You might say they’re into health
There’s no doubt that this is a company that thinks outside the box. At one point, they even purchased a bus and decorated it in honor of heart health for women. The bus went and all over the country, stopping in various cities so that medical staff who were permanently riding on the bus could take vital signs, including pulse and blood pressure, as well as determine their body mass index. All of this was done free of charge and was accompanied by a small session that educated women on heart health and how diet and exercise can impact their health later on.
15. Animal rights activists might not shop there
No matter how much good a company does, there always seems to be one black eye and the one for Burlington is a big one, indeed. As a matter of fact, it just might be enough to make people that love animals refuse to shop there. A few years ago, they got in a lot of trouble when someone accused them of using real fur pelts that came from China on their coats that were labeled as faux fur. If you think that’s bad, the story actually gets worse. There was an investigation that was done and those accusations were determined to be correct. In addition, investigators found out that some of the pelts used for those faux fur coats actually came from dogs. That’s right dog lovers, animals that had been abandoned or euthanized in shelters somehow found their way onto several coats sold by the company that were labeled as fake fur. The company got in a load of trouble for doing this and it doesn’t appear that they’ve done it since. That being said, this isn’t exactly something that people are prone to forget about anytime soon, either.
16. It’s part of an urban legend
Even if you’ve never shopped there, you’ve probably heard the story about the snakes in the coats that bit a woman when she tried it on. This is an urban legend that has been circulating for years. According to the company, all of their coats are kept in a warehouse at less than 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Therefore, it would be impossible for a snake to survive long enough to bite someone. Nevertheless, it certainly makes you think every time you try on an article of clothing, whether it’s at Burlington or virtually anywhere else.
17. Their Manhattan store was basically destroyed in the 9/11 attacks
Sadly, the store in Manhattan will forever be connected to the events of 9/11. Part of the World Trade Center actually collapsed into the building and a landing gear and other pieces of one of the aircraft were found in the building as well. Ultimately, so much structural damage was caused that the store had to be razed.
18. That same site later became a source of major controversy
Later on, the same site caused a heated debate when individuals wanted to build a mosque there. Considering the events of 9/11, most New Yorkers didn’t take this very well and people we’re not afraid to state their opinions on both sides. All in all, the entire situation only served to cause more hurt for an area that was already suffering deeply. All of this was played out throughout the rest of the country, as everyone in the United States felt a similar pain.
19. Over the years, the store has reinvented itself
One of the reasons the store has managed to survive is because they’ve been able to reinvent themselves and change with the times. This is something that other major retailers couldn’t seem to do and many of them are no longer in business.
20. It’s still prides itself on providing customers with good value for their money
When it’s all said and done, it comes down to money. People don’t like to spend any more than they have to on a product so they like getting a good value. As long as Burlington continues to do that, they will probably have a lot of customers.