Sunday, October 28, 2012

Macy’s celebrates another year: Happy 154th to Macy’s

“…He looked like something that had gotten loose from Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade …”
~~ Harpo Marx

(Nov. 23, 1888 – Sept. 28, 1964)American comedian, film star and second-oldest Marx brother

Obviously, the Marx Brothers shopped at Macy's. Did you know that 154 years ago today, October 28th in 1858 Macy's had the first day of business? Happy 154th to Macys!

One of the most popular department stores around is still described by many as being the “largest store in the world,” (however South Korea has a store 2X the size).

Macys has a history of traditions and culture including being featured in the 1947 movie "Miracle on 34th Street," sponsorship of the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City since 1924, and also sponsoring New York City's annual Fourth of July fireworks display since 1976.

Founded by Rowland Hussey Macy between 1843 and 1855, four retail dry goods stores were opened, including the original Macy's store in downtown Haverhill, Massachusetts, (established in 1851) to serve the mill industry employees of the area.

All four Macy’s stores would fail, but Macy would learn from his mistakes.

He moved to New York City in 1858 and established a new store named "R.H. Macy Dry Goods" on Sixth Avenue between 13th and 14th Street.

He strategically positioned the location to be far north of where the other dry goods stores were at the time.

Born in Nantucket Island, Massachusetts, as a teenager, Macy worked on the whaling ship, the Emily Morgan.

While working on this ship, at the age of 15, Macy decided to get a red star tattooed on his hand. Little did anyone know that he would carry this star theme with him and incorporate it on all of Macy's emblems and logos.

Still touted as the most popular department store in the world, Macy's biggest asset is its brand.

The vision of Macy and his little red star tattoo on his hand as a 15 year old is a testament of how far imaginations and dreams can go. Below is a collage of some of the many Macy's logos and themes over the years that incorporate the star:

Other Resources
The Department Store Museum

Photos courtest of Wikimedia unless otherwise specified.

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  1. I use to travel to NYC to visit relatives and we would also take the 5 train to NYC to see the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

  2. I have never been to Macy's personally but the name is burned into my mind since I've watched the Macys parade every year since I was a child

  3. Macy's is one of those stores you have to visit if you ever go to NYC

  4. Wow, I didn't realize the department store was around for that long. I was thinking maybe 50 years top

  5. I remember Harpo Marx. Just amazing. This post brought back some great memories. ThankS

  6. That is truly amazing about the star tattoo being the logo. I would have never guessed without reading your post

  7. Happy Birthday Macy's!

  8. You're spot on about the brand name Macy's. It's known everywhere, or at least everywhere that has a television signal. LOL