John James Fenwick opened the first Fenwick store in 1882 as a Mantle Maker and Furrier shop. He only had two assistants, but business was good and quickly began to grow. He purchased his next store three years later, and as soon as his son joined the business in 1890, more locations quickly came under the Fenwick name. His reputation grew as a headliner in fashion, and soon, customers were flocking to his doors to buy his merchandise, but also to be a part of the exciting atmosphere Fenwick had created in fashion. His stores were genuinely fun places to be, especially when surrounded by the finest ladies retail in Europe.
Inspired by the department store, Le Bon Marche, in France, Fenwick and his son began to use the breakthrough style of selling various types of products and items in one place. Instead of specializing in one thing – such as apparel, blacksmith supplies, or ladies’ fashion (as Fenwick had been known for up to that point) – they followed the newest retail style. This was the best business move Fenwick ever made. As the years passed, Fenwick acquired more stores, as well as revamped their originals, making them bigger and better. Today, Fenwick has eleven stores across Europe, remains family-owned and operated, and has a value of £452 million.