Rowland Hussey Macy opened his first dry goods store in Haverhill, Massachusetts in 1851. In 1858 Macy moved to New York City and opened R.H. Macy and Company on 14th Street and 6th Avenue. They later moved to the “Ladies Mile,” the stretch of Broadway known for its shops that catered to the fashionable women of the city. During this time R.H. Macy became a pioneer in the art of window dressing, being one of the first to feature large window displays.
In 1888 brothers Isidor and Nathan Straus became partners with Macy and in 1896 they became the owners of the store. (Isidor and his wife Ida died on the Titanic). Under their direction the store continued to grow and a location further uptown, at Herald Square, was acquired for a new store in 1902. Eventually this store came to occupy almost the entire city block and in the 1920s was considered to be the world’s largest store.
Even though Macy’s was not considered to be a high fashion store, their “Little Shops” were filled with quality French imports and adaptations. The store did have a more middle class image when compared to some of the other New York department stores.
R.H. Macy went public in 1922 and this began a period of expansion within the company. Not only were branch stores opened, but older, established department stores across the country were acquired by the company. Another period of growth occurred in the 1980s, with Macy’s stores being opened nationwide and some of the stores that were owned by Macy’s were changed to the Macy’s name.
In 1994 Macy’s was merged with Federated Department Stores. This began a long line of stores that were owned by both companies being switched to the Macy’s name. Many of the old department stores that were like traditions to the shoppers in cities (such as Rich’s in Atlanta and Marshall Field in Chicago) were made into Macy’s stores.
Written by fuzzylizzie