LivingTravelGone but not forgotten

Gone but not forgotten

Growing up in the Philadelphia area, one of my favorite times of the year started with Thanksgiving and lasted until the Christmas and New Years holidays. The Gimbel Thanksgiving Day Parade was never as big or grand as the parade in New York City sponsored by Gimbels competitor Macy’s, but it was our parade and we loved it. My family always took a day to go downtown, shop, and visit the Christmas displays at the city’s major department stores: Gimbel’s, Lit Brothers, Strawbridge and Clothier, and John Wanamaker’s.

Gimbel had a big toy department and his Santa was the “real” Santa, as we had all seen him at the parade. Lit Brothers had the Enchanted Colonial Village with 18 great scenes like Toymaker, Bakery, Blacksmith and many more. Strawbridge and Clothier was the most decorated store and the employees were always very friendly. Wanamaker had their Christmas Light Show that we had to watch every year, even though it never changed.

In 1977 the Gallery was opened in Market East and everything began to change for the city’s department stores when the center welcomed its first shopping center. Lit Brothers filed for bankruptcy and soon after closed its stores. Gimbel’s, which had opened in 1894, moved from its independent store at 8th and Market to the Gallery, but in 1986 they closed as well, eventually being replaced by a K-Mart.

Wanamaker’s opened in 1876 and was the first department store in Philadelphia and one of the first, if not the first, in the United States. He was known for his honest reputation and for innovating many retail firsts in America. In 1978, after years of declining sales, the Wanamaker family trust sold the stores to Los Angeles, California-based Carter Hawley Hale stores. In 1986, Carter Hawley Hale sold the stores to Detroit real estate entrepreneur A. Alfred Taubman, who in turn sold them to May Department Store in 1995.

Downtown Wanamaker’s became Lord & Taylor and another big department store name disappeared. (At least the Christmas Light Show remains).

The final blow to Philadelphia’s great department store tradition came in late July 2005 when Federated Department Stores, Inc. announced that it was removing the Strawbridge name as part of its merger with May Department Stores. At some point in 2006, the Market Street Strawbridge’s store will become a Macy’s and in local shopping centers where a Macy’s already exists alongside a Strawbridge’s, the Strawbridge properties will be closed.

Justus C. Strawbridge first opened a store in Philadelphia in 1861 and then partnered with Isaac H. Clothier in 1868. For the next 128 years, Strawbridge and Clothier remained a family business known for its strong relationships with its employees and customers. . It was where I first applied for a job after graduating from college in 1976.

The 1980s were difficult for Strawbridge and Clothier, who became the target of a hostile takeover staged by one of the family members who was disenchanted by the store’s declining sales and poor bottom line. Finally, in 1996, the board of directors, made up primarily of members of the Strawbridge family, agreed to sell their stores to May Company. The May Company renamed the stores simply Strawbridge’s, which was what most shoppers had long dubbed it for. I often joked with my wife that by the time we die, there will only be a bank, an insurance company, and a department store left.

Mergers and acquisitions are part of our lives today, but it is sad to see the old names of our youth disappear. Unfortunately, there is no indication that this trend will stop anytime soon.

Strawbridge’s: The Last of Philadelphia’s Department Stores to Close Growing up in the Philadelphia area, one of my favorite times of the year started with Thanksgiving and lasted until the Christmas and New Years holidays. The Gimbel Thanksgiving Day Parade was never as big or grand as the parade in New York City sponsored by Gimbels competitor Macy’s, but it was our parade and we loved it. My family always took a day to go downtown, shop, and visit the Christmas displays at the city’s major department stores: Gimbel’s, Lit Brothers, Strawbridge and Clothier, and John Wanamaker’s.

Gimbel had a big toy department and his Santa was the “real” Santa, as we had all seen him at the parade. Lit Brothers had the Enchanted Colonial Village with 18 great scenes like Toymaker, Bakery, Blacksmith and many more. Strawbridge and Clothier was the most decorated store and the employees were always very friendly. Wanamaker had their Christmas Light Show that we had to watch every year, even though it never changed.

In 1977 the Gallery was opened in Market East and everything began to change for the city’s department stores when the center welcomed its first shopping center. Lit Brothers filed for bankruptcy and soon after closed its stores. Gimbel’s, which had opened in 1894, moved from its independent store at 8th and Market to the Gallery, but in 1986 they closed as well, eventually being replaced by a K-Mart.

Wanamaker’s opened in 1876 and was the first department store in Philadelphia and one of the first, if not the first, in the United States. He was known for his honest reputation and for innovating many retail firsts in America. In 1978, after years of declining sales, the Wanamaker family trust sold the stores to Los Angeles, California-based Carter Hawley Hale stores. In 1986, Carter Hawley Hale sold the stores to Detroit real estate entrepreneur A. Alfred Taubman, who in turn sold them to May Department Store in 1995.

Downtown Wanamaker’s became Lord & Taylor and another big department store name disappeared. (At least the Christmas Light Show remains).

The final blow to Philadelphia’s great department store tradition came in late July 2005 when Federated Department Stores, Inc. announced that it was removing the Strawbridge name as part of its merger with May Department Stores. At some point in 2006, the Market Street Strawbridge’s store will become a Macy’s and in local shopping centers where a Macy’s already exists alongside a Strawbridge’s, the Strawbridge properties will be closed.

Justus C. Strawbridge first opened a store in Philadelphia in 1861 and then partnered with Isaac H. Clothier in 1868. For the next 128 years, Strawbridge and Clothier remained a family business, known for its strong relationships with its employees and customers. It was where I first applied for a job after graduating from college in 1976.

The 1980s were difficult for Strawbridge and Clothier, who became the target of a hostile takeover staged by one of the family members who was disenchanted by the store’s declining sales and poor bottom line. Finally, in 1996, the board of directors, made up primarily of members of the Strawbridge family, agreed to sell their stores to May Company. The May Company renamed the stores simply Strawbridge’s, which was what most shoppers had long dubbed it for. I often joked with my wife that by the time we die, there will only be a bank, an insurance company, and a department store left.

Mergers and acquisitions are part of our lives today, but it is sad to see the old names of our youth disappear. Unfortunately, there is no indication that this trend will stop anytime soon.

USA: Police fire deadly shots at teenager – "He never had a chance"

Two police officers in Philadelphia (USA) open fire on a boy who is said to be armed. The fatal bullet hits him in the back as he tries to escape.

Ignited at the Christmas tree: possible cause of house fire

A fire in a Philadelphia apartment building on Wednesday killed twelve people, including eight children. According to one report, a five-year-old was said to have played with fire around the Christmas tree.

Fire department: Twelve dead in house fire in Philadelphia

At first there was talk of at least 13 deaths. Now the fire brigade has corrected the information.

At least 13 dead in Philadelphia house fire

According to fire department reports, at least 13 people, including seven children, died in a devastating fire in the US state of Pennsylvania. None of the smoke alarms should have worked.

Philadelphia gay pride

Philadelphia, one of America's most politically progressive and LGBT-friendly cities, hosts its pride parade and festival

More