In retail history


Original Target Logo 1962-1967

Original Target Logo

On May 1st, 1962, the Dayton Company opens their first discount retail store, Target.

The Dayton Company traces their roots to  the Goodfellow Dry Goods Store opened in downtown Minneapolis in 1902.

The company prospered as a traditional downtown department store for over 60 years and in the 1950s began to expand to suburban shopping malls.

John Geisse, a Dayton’s employee, suggested opening upscale discount stores in the suburbs. The company and its board were originally hesitant since their did not want to “cheapen” their brand. The name Target was used to prevent customers from associating the discount store with their traditional department stores.  Geisse would go on to founded the Venture chain and the Warehouse Club.

Continue reading

Not so much as a smile – Part 2

IMG_0909While having my bad experience in the bookstore two days ago, I spotted a travel book that looked interesting but that I decided to take a pass on.  Once I got home, I realized that the book would have been a welcome addition to my travel library and I decided I should go ahead and buy it.  This called for a return to the scene of the crime.

So yesterday I stopped back at the bookstore while I was out running some errands.  The plan was to run in, grab the book and be on my way.

The store was quiet when I went in.  I found the book quickly and headed towards the registers.  Just like the day before, I was greeted by great spring weather framed by the front windows and two cashiers having a friendly conversation.  Luckily my cashier from the day before was not one of them.

Continue reading

$129.40 & not so much as a smile


Version 2

(Just left my local bookstore with a tale to share.)

It is not hard for me to find over $100 worth of books to buy at my local bookstore and today was no different; a newly released business book, a Richard Feynman bio, a couple of magazines, several travel books, and a collection of Faulkner short novels that I should have read back in college.

Like I said it is easy for me to spend money in a bookstore.  What is not so easy for me is to stop looking and to leave the store before I go broke.  But today I found the strength to stop looking and to leave the store.

Continue reading

You say tomato, I say tomato


Version 2

I was in a favorite cooking store today looking at all sorts of things that I did not need but some how felt I could not live without.  It is part of the attraction of this store.  While there, I had the opportunity to listened in on a conversation between a customer and a salesperson about cookware.  As they approached the fixture the customer said, “This is the type of Calphalon I use” mispronouncing the brand in the process.

“It’s Calphalon” the employee stated rather emphatically while using the common pronunciation.  I was a bit stunned by the strong correction coming from the clerk and anyone could see the annoyance on the customer’s face at being corrected.  I thought to myself that the clerk did not need to correct the customers pronunciation and the correction did not move the service forward.

Continue reading

In retail history

Woolworth Building  by Hugh Ferriss Source WikiCommons

Woolworth Building
by Hugh Ferriss
Source WikiCommons

On April 24th, 1913, the Woolworth Building opens in New York City.

Designed in 1910 by renowned architect, Cass Gilbert, the building headquartered the F.W. Woolworth, a pioneer five and dime store, for 85 years.  This neo-Gothic building was originally planned to be only 20 stories tall.  But by its opening, the building had been expanded to 60 stories and was the tallest building in the world from 1913 until 1930.

In retail history

J.C. Penney Mother Store Kemmerer, WY Wiki Commons Bend00

J.C. Penney Mother Store
Kemmerer, WY
Wiki Commons Bend00

James Cash Penney opens his store on April 14th, 1902 in Kemmerer WY.

James starts his retail career in 1898 when he went to work for Guy Johnson and Thomas Callahan in their Golden Rule stores.  When an opportunity to open a new store in Kemmerer came up, the partners offer him a share in the business and the chance to run his own store.  In 1907, Penney buys out the other partners.

Penney enjoys steady growth and success. In 1912, he has 34 stores.  In 1917, he operates 175 stores in 22 states.  Big Mac work clothes, Penney’s oldest private brand, was launched in 1922.  The 500th store was opens in 1924 and the 1000th in 1928.  By 1941, Penney operated 1600 stores in all 48 states.

Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart, works for the company in 1940.  They issue their first charge card in 1959.  James Cash is involved with the company until 1971  when he passed away at the age of 95.  At its height in 1973, J.C.Penney has over 2000 stores.

Respect the product, respect the customer

Version 2

I stopped by an area department store the other day to make a purchase.  What I bought does not matter since this post is not about me but rather about the two customers  in front of me at the checkout counter.  I found an interesting contrast between their two service experiences.


After making my selections, I wandered to the cash wrap and got in line with my fellow customers.  (This particular department store is one that uses a centralized cash wrap in each area off the store.)  Two cashiers were ringing up people’s purchases and, between the two of them, they were making short work of the people waiting in line.

The two customers in front of me in line wore professional clothing and each were purchasing a blouse and a pair of pants (on hangers).  They were called up to the registers at the same time, so I took the opportunity to observe the two cashiers work head to head.  The cashier on the right was professionally dressed and had a warm, friendly and professional demeanor; let’s call her Right.  The cashier on the left was casually attired and was terse with customers; let’s call her Left. (It was just a coincidence that correct cashier happened to be on the right.)

Continue reading

A little thing


Food Fuel

While on a bicycle ride last weekend, my wife and I stopped at a gas station for a quick snack.  The station is one of those “food and fuel” places where you can get your car gassed up and grab a soda or a loaf of bread.  This one in particular happens to be our favorite rest stop; strategically located on the route with a great selection of food and drinks.  Also important to us, there is a shaded table in front of the store where we can sit, enjoy our treats and keep an eye on our bikes.

Continue reading