Bergner's is a major department store in central and northern Illinois, established in 1889 in Peoria, Illinois, and offering mid-line to higher end merchandise in their largest stores. The current flagship store is located in Peoria at The Shoppes at Grande Prairie.
Bergner's was founded in downtown Peoria in 1889 by Peter Alan Bergner. Several years later, Bergner moved to another location in downtown Peoria, remaining at the location for many years. The company was family-owned by P.A. Bergner until his death in the mid-1920s. His son owned the company until his suicide in 1938 in Henry, Illinois
. Maus Frères
SA, based in Geneva
, acquired the company at that point and gave the store its unique red logo of six hexagons, an emblem Bergner's now shares with five corporate siblings as well as two current Maus subsidiaries.
In 1957, a second Bergner's store was opened in Peoria at the then-suburban Sheridan Village
shopping center. This Bergner's was the largest department store in Illinois outside of the Chicago
area. The chain opened more stores in the Peoria-Pekin area afterwards, then expanded as far as the Chicago suburbs.
The late 1970s and 1980s saw change for Bergner's. It acquired the eight stores of Myers Brothers Company
of Springfield, Illinois
, in 1978. In 1985, Bergner's acquired Boston Store
and all of its department stores in Wisconsin
along with three Gimbel's
locations. In 1989, P.A. Bergner bought Chicago's Carson Pirie Scott
for over $450 million. Carson's itself had just bought Minneapolis-based Donaldson's
in November 1987
. With this, Bergner's was a major Midwestern presence, with stores in five states: Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota
, and Iowa
, operating under the Bergner's, Carson Pirie Scott, and Boston Store names.
Bankruptcy and acquisition by Proffitt's
In August 1991
, Bergner's filed for bankruptcy
, with the company coming out of Chapter 11
with the new name Carson Pirie Scott & Co. and becoming a publicly-traded company.
Proffitt's Inc. (now Saks Incorporated) bought the company in 1998 and named the purchased group of stores the Northern Department Store group internally; its purchase increased the northern presence of the Saks company.
Sale to The Bon-Ton
In July 2005, Saks completed the sale of its Southern Department Store Group consisting of Proffitt's
to Charlotte, North Carolina
, Inc. On October 31
, Saks announced that it was selling Bergner's and its other Northern Department Store Group stores (Carson Pirie Scott, Younkers
, Boston Store
, and Herberger's
) to Bon-Ton
Stores in a $1.1 billion deal; the transaction was completed on March 6
. As of 2006
, the Bergner's name is used at 14 locations, all in Illinois.
- Aurora - Northgate Shopping Center (opened as Charles V. Weise in 1976, Bergner-Weise in 1980, Bergner's in 1983, converted to Carson Pirie Scott in 1990)
- Carpentersville - Spring Hill Mall (opened as Bergner-Weise in March 1981, Bergner's in 1983, converted to Carson Pirie Scott in 1990.)
- Freeport - Downtown (opened as Reed's Department Stores, then Weise-Reed, then Charles V. Weise, closed late 1970's)
- Joliet - Louis Joliet Mall (opened as Bergner-Weise in 1979, Bergner's in 1983, converted to Carson Pirie Scott in 1990)
- Mount Prospect - Randhurst (formerly Wieboldt's, converted to Carson Pirie Scott in 1990)
- Downtown - 200 SW Adams Street at Fulton Street - former flagship store. (Closed in 1986. Building later demolished.)
- Madison Park Shopping Center - Harmon Highway (closed in the early 1990s)
- Downtown (opened as Charles V. Weise, closed 1960's, consolidated with Colonial Village and North Towne locations)
- Colonial Village Mall (opened as Charles. V. Weise, closed 2006, vacant)
- North Towne Mall (opened as Charles V. Weise, now Gustafson's Furniture)
- Urbana - Lincoln Square Mall (formerly Carson Pirie Scott 1964-1991 and Herberger's 1994-1999, operated as Bergner's from 1991 to 1993 and 1999-2002 when it closed. Current offices of Health Alliance.)