From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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, Kennewick, Longview, 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. On February 6th, 2008, the Macy's Northwest
division was merged with the Macy's West division, based out of San
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,
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. 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.
Initial growth and
An older Bon Marché logo
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
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
Idaho-based C.C. Anderson's into The Bon Marché. Until it's
closure in early 2010, the store operated under the Macy's name in
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 1978, the company acquired nine stores
including Missoula Mercantile of Missoula, Montana and The Paris of Great
Falls, Montana. The Great Falls store closed in 2000 and the
Missoula store closed as Macy's in 2010.
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. The stores in Ogden and Logan were sold to Lamonts department stores in 1988 because they
weren't performing well for the company.
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
(6,000 m2) store features everything a typical Bon
Marché has plus centralized checkouts.
Bon-Macy's logo used from 2003-2005
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
On February 6, 2008, Terry Lundgren announced the localization
strategy and the company's plan to shed 2,550 jobs. This included
laying off the Macy's Northwest headquarters and merging all of the
former Bon Marché stores under the Macy's West division.