Chronicles from my Career in Retail When Department Stores
By Mark Scott
Yes, Virginia, there was a time when the customer was king.
Retail stores catered to their customers. Served them, even.
Author Mark Scott takes the reader on a first person, up close
and personal walk through a time when Macy’s and
Bloomingdales and Lord and Taylor were destinations so
popular that people flew in from all around the world just to
shop and experience it all.
“If you were blindfolded and someone took you into any of the major department stores in New York City, you would know right off exactly where you were.”
This remarkable world was built by the Kings of Retail- Marvin Traub at Bloomingdale’s, Ed Finkelstein at Macy’s, Dawn Mello at Bergdorf Goodman, Fred Pressman at Barney’s, Joe Brooks at Lord & Taylor, Geraldine Stutz at Henri Bendel’s, and Stanley Marcus at Neiman Marcus, to name a few. They were the Michelangelos, DaVincis and Picassos of retail. They were willing to take chances, to give everything to enhance their brand, and make their store their personality.
“The world that I describe in the book, it just doesn't exist anymore. That doesn’t mean it can’t…”
The Golden Age of Retail began in the 1950’s and continued into to the mid-1980’s. It’s hard to believe, but during this heady time customers would have to wait over 15 minutes just to get on the escalator in these palatial emporiums. Over 60 thousand people would enter Bloomie’s doors on a typical Saturday. There was so much frenetic activity that you could feel an actual buzz throughout the building.
Mark Scott’s ReTales is a fascinating tour through another time. It’s entertaining, informative and instructional. The next time you walk into one of our indistinguishable modern retail box stores and find almost no one to wait on you, you’ll know there once was a very different time and experience. Think of what could be. It would be great to see it happen again.
Mark Scott knew right off what he was meant to do in this world. After college, he went to work in the stockroom at Bloomingdale’s and before long, retail was in his blood. He was a voracious learner and a numbers guy. Not surprisingly, he would eventually move up the ladder to become a leader and CEO at the top retailers of his time.