Gimbels Has It!

Gimbels Has It!

By Michael J. Lisicky; David Sullivan (Foreword by); Gene London (Contribution by)

History Press (SC), Paperback, 9781609493073, 157pp.

Publication Date: July 10, 2011

In 1842, Adam Gimbel opened a small storefront in Vincennes, Indiana and unknowingly set forth the groundwork for an American retail icon. His fair trade" practices encouraged him to leave Vincennes and open up "the largest store ever" in 1887 in the city of Milwaukee. After getting his Milwaukee on firm ground, Adam Gimbel left for Philadelphia, his wife's hometown, with his seven sons and opened the "world's largest store" in 1894.Like every major department store, Gimbels began to follow its customer into the suburbs, and the family became less involved in the running of the store. With sales and profits falling, Gimbels was purchased by British-American Tobacco. The company struggled to right itself in the challenging and changing retailing world. It built a new controversial flagship store in Philadelphia but it failed to draw its traditional shopper. By June 1986, Gimbels was going out of business and the 36 Gimbels stores located from Philadelphia to Milwaukee permanently shut their doors.

About the Author
Michael Lisicky is a nationally-recognized east coast department store historian and expert. He is the author of several bestselling books including, Hutzler's: Where Baltimore Shops. He has been featured in Fortune Magazine and on the CBS Sunday Morning show. He resides in Baltimore, and is an oboist with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. Jan Whitaker is an internationally known department store expert and historian. She is the author of several books including Tea at the Blue Lantern Inn: A Social History of the Tea Room Craze in America, The World of Department Stores, and Service and Style: How the American Department Store Fashioned the Middle Class.