Bloomingdale’s slogan “like no other store in the world” couldn’t be more accurate. Unlike so many of their competitors who began with scarves or haberdasheries, Bloomingdale’s original store sold hoop-skirts. Owned by brothers Joseph and Lyman G. Bloomingdale and opened in 1861, the store was located on Third Avenue – the opposite end of New York from where the customers and competition were located. Innovation is a staple of Bloomingdale’s, though, and a few years after opening many changes were seen in the New York shopping life. Thanks to the addition of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and the construction of the Lexington Avenue Line of the subway, business was soon pouring into the East Side and right into Bloomingdale’s.
In 1886, the store moved to the block between Lexington Avenue and 59th street – the location where it currently resides today. As the 20th century rolled in, business exploded for the store. The new design of their store and the artful displays in their windows, plus the increased variety of merchandise and central location, had customers streaming through the doors – not to mention the installation of a subway stop directly in their basement. Talk about convenience!
With just a few, momentary dips in productivity, Bloomingdale’s thrived. They joined Federated Department Stores (now Macy’s, Inc.) in the 1950s, and they began to open up branch stores in other locations. Designer shopping bags and the intimate apparel launch of “Bloomie’s” in 1973 sent Bloomingdale’s from department store to tourist attraction, even earning a visit from Queen Elizabeth II in 1976.
In 1978, they launched their catalog, and business was now easily spread to every home across the entire United States. Through the next few decades, expansions and acquisitions happened rapidly. In 2008, Bloomingdale’s began to look overseas, eventually opening a store in Dubai.
With an amazing, free rewards program, bloomingdales.com, three awesome mobile apps, and over thirty-five aesthetically-beautiful stores, Bloomingdale’s has paved the way for what department stores should be like. Their outlet stores are excellent resources, too, as they offer the same great products for 35-70% off. Alternative shopping venues, exclusive merchandise, and personalized service are still in play today and are part of what sets Bloomingdale’s apart from the rest.