The Bon Marché

The Bon Marché

The Bon Marché, whose name means "a good deal" or "a good market", was the name chosen for a department store launched in Seattle, Washington, United States, in 1890 by the Nordhoff family. The name comes from Le Bon Marché, a noted Paris retailer and one of the world's first department stores, founded 40 years earlier.

Familiarly known to Washingtonians as The Bon, it was acquired by Allied Stores in 1929. A solid middle-range store, The Bon served largely working-class, boom-and-bust Seattle well; branches were added in several Northwestern cities. Among them were Spokane, Tacoma, Yakima, Walla Walla, and Bellingham, Washington and Boise, Idaho.

The Bon is known for their catchy jingles, such as the following to the tune of "The Banana Boat Song": "Day-o, One Day Sale, One day only at The Bon Marché! Save 20, 30, 40 percent (example savings)! Saturday only at the Bon Marche. Prices are down in every department! Saturday only at the Bon Marche!..." This jingle continued after the name was changed to Bon Macy's, with the appropriate changes.

Allied Stores was merged into Federated Department Stores in 1989. As part of its national rebranding program, Federated changed the name to Bon-Macy's in 2003. On March 6, 2005, the Bon-Macy's name was eliminated, with the stores renamed as the Macy's Northwest division of Federated.

History

Beginnings

Edward Nordhoff was born in Germany in 1858, and moved to Paris as a young man. In Paris, he worked for the Louvre Department Store, but developed great admiration for its rival, the Maison of Aristide Boucicaut "Au Bon Marché" (now part of the LVMH group). Nordhoff admired the values of this rival store's owners, who built their business with a foundation in customer service. He dreamed of opening his own store along these lines. In 1881, Edward immigrated to the U.S. While managing a popular Chicago department store he met Josephine Brennan, who worked on the sales floor. They married in 1888, and 2 years later set off for the West Coast with their baby, Eleanor.

Arriving in Seattle the year after the 1889 fire, the Nordhoffs found rental space scarce. They leased a one-story structure at the corner of First and Cedar in Belltown, for $25 a month.

Their entire savings of $1,200 was soon invested on merchandise for their store. Mrs. Nordhoff, not yet 20, stocked shelves, kept the books, cleaned and mopped. She learned the Chinook language so that she could better wait on Native American customers. Though the store was blocks out of the way, townsfolk began to trade with the hardworking young couple.

The panic of the early 1890s struck Seattle hard. Every cent was precious. Returning from his first buying trip east, Ed Nordhoff brought back something new -- sacks of pennies. Until then, change had been made only to the nearest nickel locally. Now customers walked for blocks to save pennies at The Bon Marché's sales.

Initial Growth

Their growing success allowed the Nordhoffs to relocate their store closer to the business heart of the city in 1896. They chose a one-story L-shaped building at Second and Pike.

In 1899, at age 40, Edward died of an illness his doctor called "phthisis", probably tuberculosis. Josephine remarried two years later. Her new husband, Frank McDermott, joined her and Rudolph Nordhoff, Edward's brother, in operating The Bon Marché.

The store entered a period of rapid growth under the management of this trio. Sales increased from $338,000 in 1900 to $8 million in 1923. The store was enlarged time and time again. In 1929, The Bon Marché opened at its current downtown location at Third and Pine. That year, the store was sold to Hahn Stores of Chicago. Five years later, Allied Stores bought the Hahn chain. Both corporations continued to operate the store under its original name.

In 1937, The Bon Marché opened it first store outside of Washington when Allied Stores merged Boise, Idaho-based C.C. Anderson's into The Bon Marché. As of 2007, the store still operates under the Macy's name in downtown Boise.

Expansion

The Bon began opening additional stores after World War II. In 1949, it provided the anchor store for one of the world's first modern shopping centers, at Northgate Mall. By 1986, when Campeau Corporation acquired Allied Stores, the Bon Marché was one of the best-known retailers in the Northwest, with about 40 stores throughout the region.

In the late 1980s, there were rumors that the Bon, along with Frederick & Nelson, were planning to open stores in Canada, with the acquisition of Woodward's Department stores specifically Downtown Vancouver, B.C.. These plans never made it beyond discussion.

In 1978 The Bon acquired 9 stores including Missoula Merchantile of Missoula, Montana and The Paris of Great Falls, Montana.

The Bon also opened and operated three stores in Utah: The largest one was in Ogden, Utah at the Ogden City Mall. The second was in Layton Hills Mall in Layton, Utah (a bedroom community north of Salt Lake City). Third was the smallest store in the entire chain - Logan, Utah. This store was located in the Cache Valley Mall.

After yet another change in corporate ownership in 1992, the Bon ended up in the hands of Federated Department Stores, a Cincinnati-based company which also owns the Macy's and Bloomingdales chains.

In 2001, The Bon Marché debuted a prototype store in Helena, Montana. The 65,000 square foot store features everything a typical Bon Marché has plus centralized checkouts.

Name changes

In August 2003, Federated "rebranded" the Bon Marché, turning it into Bon-Macy's. Federated also tacked Macy’s onto the names of four other regional chains under its umbrella (Burdines in Florida, Lazarus in the Midwest, Goldsmith's in Tennessee, and Rich's in the Southeast). Customers had about a year to get used to that change when, in September 2004, Federated announced that all its regional chains would be renamed Macy’s.

As of 2004, Bon-Macy’s consisted of 50 stores in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. New store signs, reading simply Macy’s, were in place by January 2005.

Former locations

Idaho

  • Boise - Boise Towne Square Mall (opened 1988, became Bon-Macy's in 2003, Macy's in 2005)
  • Boise - Downtown Boise (freestanding) (replaced C.C. Anderson's in 1937, became Bon-Macy's in 2003, Macy's in 2005)
  • Idaho Falls - Downtown Idaho Falls (freestanding) closed 1984 when Grand Teton Mall opened
  • Idaho Falls - Grand Teton Mall (opened 1984, became Bon-Macy's in 2003, Macy's in 2005)
  • Nampa - Karcher Mall (opened 1978, became Bon-Macy's in 2003, Macy's in 2005, moving to bigger location in late 2009)
  • Coeur d'Alene - Silver Lake Mall (replaced Gottschalks 2002, became Bon-Macy's in 2003, Macy's in 2005)
  • Lewiston - Lewiston Center Mall (opened 1978, became Bon-Macy's in 2003, Macy's in 2005)
  • Moscow - Palouse Empire Mall (opened 1979, became Bon-Macy's in 2003, Macy's in 2005)
  • Pocatello - Pine Ridge Mall (opened 1981, became Bon-Macy's in 2003, Macy's in 2005, closed 2006)
  • Twin Falls - Downtown Twin Falls (freestanding) (closed 1986)
  • Twin Falls - Magic Valley Mall (opened 1986, became Bon-Macy's in 2003, Macy's in 2005)

Montana

  • Bozeman - Gallatin Valley Mall (opened 1980, became Bon-Macy's in 2003, Macy's in 2005)
  • Helena - The Northside Center (opened 2001, became Bon-Macy's in 2003, Macy's in 2005)
  • Missoula - Downtown Missoula (freestanding) (replaced Missoula Mercantile in 1978, became Bon-Macy's in 2003, Macy's in 2005)
  • Great Falls - Downtown Great Falls (freestanding) (replaced The Paris in 1978, closed 1999)

Oregon

  • Eugene - Downtown (Broadway at Charnelton Street) (Mid-1950s-1990); then, Valley River Center (opened 1990, became Bon-Macy's in 2003, Macy's in 2005, closed 2006 in favor of Meier & Frank location)
  • Roseburg - Roseburg Valley Mall (opened 1980, became Bon-Macy's in 2003, Macy's in 2005)
  • Salem - Lancaster Mall (opened 1980, became Bon-Macy's in 2003, Macy's in 2005)
  • North Bend - Pony Village Mall (opened 1980, became Bon-Macy's in 2003, Macy's in 2005)
  • Bend - Bend River Promenade (opened 1980, became Bon-Macy's in 2003, Macy's in 2005)

Washington

  • Bellingham - Bellis Fair Mall (2 locations) (opened 1988, became Bon-Macy's in 2003, Macy's in 2005)
  • Bellingham - Bellingham Furniture Gallery (freestanding) (opened 1991, became Bon-Macy's in 2003, Macy's in 2005)
  • Bellingham - Downtown (Opened in 1950s, moved to Bellis fair mall in 1988)
  • Bremerton MSA/Silverdale - Kitsap Mall (opened 1985, became Bon-Macy's in 2003, Macy's in 2005)
  • Bremerton MSA/Silverdale - Silverdale Furniture Gallery (freestanding) (opened 1995, became Bon-Macy's in 2003, Macy's in 2005)
  • Burlington - Cascade Mall (2 locations) (opened 1989, became Bon-Macy's in 2003, Macy's in 2005)
  • Kelso - Three Rivers Mall (opened 1987, became Bon-Macy's in 2003, Macy's in 2005)
  • Kennewick - Columbia Center (2 locations) (opened 1969, 2nd location 2002 replacing Gottschalks, both became Bon-Macy's in 2003, Macy's in 2005)
  • Olympia - Westfield Capital (Capital Mall) (opened 1978, became Bon-Macy's in 2003, Macy's in 2005)
  • Olympia - Olympia Furniture Gallery (freestanding) (opened 1996, became Bon-Macy's in 2003, Macy's in 2005)
  • Richland - Downtown Richland (freestanding) (opened prior to 1964, moved to Columbia Center in 1967)
  • Seattle-Tacoma MSA/Bellevue - Bellevue Square (2 locations) (opened 1984, became Bon-Macy's in 2003, Macy's in 2005)
  • Seattle-Tacoma MSA/Everett - Downtown (Opened 1929 as Runbaugh-McLain, renamed The Bon in 1949, relocated to Everett Mall 1991)
  • Seattle-Tacoma MSA/Everett - Everett Mall (opened 1971 as The White Front Discount Store, Bon moved from downtown 1991, became Bon-Macy's in 2003, Macy's in 2005)
  • Seattle-Tacoma MSA/Federal Way - The Commons at Federal Way (formerly Sea-Tac Mall) (opened 1977, became Bon-Macy's in 2003, Macy's in 2005)
  • Seattle-Tacoma MSA/Lynnwood - Alderwood Mall (opened 1979, became Bon-Macy's in 2003, Macy's in 2005)
  • Seattle-Tacoma MSA/Lynnwood - Alderwood Furniture Gallery (freestanding) (opened 1985, became Bon-Macy's in 2003, Macy's in 2005)
  • Seattle-Tacoma MSA/Puyallup - South Hill Mall (opened 1994, became Bon-Macy's in 2003, Macy's in 2005)
  • Seattle-Tacoma MSA/Redmond - Redmond Town Center (opened 2003, became Bon-Macy's in 2003, Macy's in 2005)
  • Seattle-Tacoma MSA/Redmond - Redmond Furniture Gallery (Overlake S.C.) (opened 1987, became Bon-Macy's in 2003, Macy's in 2005)
  • Seattle-Tacoma MSA/Seattle - 1601 Third & Pine (Flagship) (opened 1929, became Bon-Macy's in 2003, Macy's in 2005)
  • Seattle-Tacoma MSA/Seattle - Northgate Mall (opened 1950, became Bon-Macy's in 2003, Macy's in 2005)
  • Seattle-Tacoma MSA/Tacoma - 11th and Broadway (Fisher's Department Store, merged with Bon Marche 1950, closed when Tacoma Mall store opened)
  • Seattle-Tacoma MSA/Tacoma - Tacoma Mall (opened 1964, became Bon-Macy's in 2003, Macy's in 2005)
  • Seattle-Tacoma MSA/Tacoma - Tacoma Furniture Gallery (freestanding) (opened 2003, became Bon-Macy's in 2003, Macy's in 2005)
  • Seattle-Tacoma MSA/Tukwila - Westfield Southcenter (Southcenter Mall) (opened 1968, became Bon-Macy's in 2003, Macy's in 2005)
  • Seattle-Tacoma MSA/Tukwila - Tukwila Furniture Gallery (Parkway S.C.) (opened 1981, became Bon-Macy's in 2003, Macy's in 2005)
  • Seattle-Tacoma MSA/Tukwila - Tukwila Clearance Store (freestanding) (opened 1974, became Bon-Macy's in 2003, Macy's in 2005)
  • Spokane - Downtown Spokane (freestanding) (opened 1947, became Bon-Macy's in 2003, Macy's in 2005)
  • Spokane - NorthTown Mall (replaced Fredrick & Nelson in 1993, became Bon-Macy's in 2003, Macy's in 2005)
  • Spokane - Spokane Valley Mall (opened 1997, became Bon-Macy's in 2003, Macy's in 2005)
  • Walla Walla - Downtown Walla Walla (freestanding) (opened 1920 A.M. Jensen's, became Bon in 1951, became Bon-Macy's in 2003, Macy's in 2005)
  • Wenatchee - Wenatchee Valley Mall (opened 2001, became Bon-Macy's in 2003, Macy's in 2005)
  • Yakima - Downtown Yakima (Opened as Barnes-Woodin in 1909, renamed Bon in 1952, moved to Valley Mall in 2002)
  • Yakima/Union Gap - Valley Mall (opened 2002, became Bon-Macy's in 2003, Macy's in 2005)

Wyoming

  • Casper - Eastridge Mall (opened 1983, became Bon-Macy's in 2003, Macy's in 2005)

External links

Unrelated Bon Marché chains

The Seattle-based chain was one of four similarly named enterprises in the United States. A second store, called "Bon Marché" (no "The"), was based in Asheville, North Carolina. A third chain, based in Lowell, Massachusetts, also carried this name but with the "The"; the chain merged with Jordan Marsh in 1975. A fourth "Bon Marché" was located in Ketchikan, Alaska until the store closed in 2001. The latter three were not related to either the Seattle chain, or each other. There were also two Bon Marché stores located in Utah: one at the Ogden City Mall in Ogden (now demolished),, and the other at Layton Hills Mall in Layton, Utah (now a JCPenney); it is unknown if these Utah stores were related to the Seattle Bon Marché chain.

References

External links

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