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Perhaps, lured by the California Gold Rush, Frank D. Bullock came to San Francisco from Massachusetts in 1853. John Luther Jones of Virginia, arrived in 1864. The two men met while working as tailors for J.R. Mead and Company – a Gentlemen Furnishing Goods store. In 1868 they established Bullock & Jones at 421 Montgomery Street, selling custom-tailored ready-to-wear suits at moderate prices.

Despite the store’s success, Bullock left the business in 1876 after making a fortune in the stock market. He died just two years later at the age 41. Jones operated the business as sole proprietor until his untimely death in 1887. Harry V. Ramsdell, along with Edward Mills and Fred Gaudin, purchased Bullock & Jones from the company’s heirs. Ramsdell later bought out his partners to become sole owner of the business.

In 1904, the store moved to Sutter Street. Unfortunately, theirs was one of many buildings destroyed in the massively destructive fire that followed the 1906 earthquake. The company relocated to 340 Post Street at Eddy, soon unveiling plans for a grand, six-story building at 62 Kearney Street at Post, of which Bullock & Jones would occupy the first four floors.

The business continued to grow and thrive for decades, thanks to its reputation for quality tailoring and classic luxury. Wishing to retire, Sidney Goodwill, who had owned Bullock & Jones since 1979, sold the business to Saks Fifth Avenue for $25 million in August 1998. The sale included the direct mail business started in 1982, which was responsible for the bulk of the company’s sales. In 2000, less than two years after buying it, Saks decided the one-store operation wasn’t meeting expectations and closed the upscale, Union Square menswear emporium after almost 150 years at the same location.

Bullock & Jones continued as a national catalog business, but, in 2001, Saks announced plans to eliminate the catalog, as well. Eric Goodwill, the son of former owner Sidney Goodwill, and a partner, purchased the business back from Saks for a fraction of the $25 million Saks had paid to acquire it three years earlier. A Bullock & Jones brick-and-mortar store was soon opened at 272 Post Street at Stockton, just one block from its former location. In 2007, the store was shuttered. In 2024, Bullock & Jones was operating as an online and catalogue retailer, only.

Written by Ranch Queen Vintage