To think it all started with a 19th century fad – the hoop skirt. That was the first item that Joseph and Lyman Bloomingdale carried in their Ladies’ Notions Shop in New York’s Lower East Side. In the late 1800’s, most fashion retailers specialized in just one type of garment. Not the brothers Bloomingdale – their East Side Bazaar, opened in 1872 on the Upper East Side of Manhattan sold a wide variety of European fashions. It was the beginning of what would become a “Department Store.”
In 1886, the business was doing well and the brothers moved a few blocks north to the current location of 59th Street and Lexington Avenue. The store expanded steadily and by the 1920’s, Bloomingdale’s covered an entire city block.
Flexing his marketing muscle, Lyman created splashy ad campaigns to bring people in the door. People started seeing the “All Cars Transfer to Bloomingdale’s” slogan everywhere – on billboards, delivery wagons, and even ladies’ beach umbrellas.
Print ads just couldn’t say it all. The store had to be experienced. So Bloomingdale’s became the stage for gala events and fashion shows, including “Woman of the Year, 1947.” With music, lighting and sophistication, it was retailing as theater.
It’s not just what you buy – it’s what you take it home in, too. We’ve always looked for new ways to be creative. In 1961, the Bloomingdale’s team came up with the first designer shopping bags. Since then, many have become collector’s items.
By the 70’s, everyone was stopping by 59th Street and Lexington Avenue for a look – including Queen Elizabeth. People came to see and to be seen. Once there, they were dazzled by the cutting-edge fashion of designers like Ralph Lauren, Perry Ellis and Norma Kamali, who got their first truly big opportunities at Bloomingdale’s. In 1972, Bloomingdale’s turned 100, changed from the curly script logo to the lower case bloom font with linked o’s seen today and created the tag line, Like No Other Store In The World.
Bloomingdale’s made retailing history by opening four stores in five days in California with one more the following year, making us the first and only nationwide full line upscale department store in America.
New concept stores like SoHo along with more stores in California, Florida, Atlanta and New Jersey ushered in the new decade, along with launching the always open and fashionable bloomingdales.com. This decade also welcomed our first international presence in Dubai and a massive full floor renovation – the Greatest Makeover in NYC – for our world famous Flagship Cosmetic Floor.
Bloomingdale’s was on the move to welcome the new decade with the launching of Bloomingdale’s The Outlet along with a new concept store in Santa Monica. Averaging four new outlets per year, Bloomingdale’s continues to expand this concept as well as planning a new department store in Glendale California. Bloomingdale’s continues to be committed to exclusive merchandise, customized services, and alternative shopping venues. Carrying on the Bloomingdale’s brothers’ dream, we’re always finding ways to set our stores apart. That’s both the legacy and the promise of Bloomingdale’s. After all, Bloomingdale’s is like no other store in the world.