Stern Brothers, New York City, New York


Stern Brothers on 42nd Street, with its south-facing facade
overlooking Bryant Park and the New York Public Library
42nd STREET STORE DIRECTORY

Subway Level
   



Foreign Market Dept. 665 • Records Dept. 779 • Stern’s Luncheonette • Bryant Park Shops

Street Floor




Jewelry Dept. 240 • Fine Jewelry Dept. 245 • Perfumes Dept. 300 • Cosmetics Dept. 300 • Toiletries Dept. 305 • Notions Dept. 310 • Closet Shop Dept. 311 • Stationery Dept. 320 • Smoke Shop • Dress Accessories Dept. 224 • Fashion Accessories Dept. 229 • Sun Spec Shop Dept. 240 • Hat Bar Dept. 201 • Leather Accessories Dept. 254 • Gloves Dept. 230 • Handbags Dept. 251 • Hosiery Dept. 260 • Slipper Bar Dept. 215 • Umbrellas Dept. 360Street Floor Sportswear Dept. 156 • Street Floor Shoes Dept. 217/219/221 • Street Floor Lingerie Dept. 283 • Luggage Dept. 815 • Fine Foods Dept. 811
Men’s Store Men’s Suits Dept. 400 • Men’s Coats Dept. 440 • Men’s Accessories Dept. 412 • Men’s Furnishings Dept. 410 • Men's Dress Shirts Dept. 415Men’s Sportswear Dept. 430 • Men’s Sweaters Dept. 430 • Men’s Shoes Dept. 460 • Men’s Hats • Quarangle Shop Dept. 409 • In Gear • Continental Shop Dept. 608 • The Hampton Shop Dept. 406
43rd Street Corners East Dept. 324

Street Floor Mezzanine Health and Beauty Aids Dept. 305 • Surgical Aids • Camera Shop Dept. 328 • Travel Bureau • Photo Studio • Repair Center

Second Floor Children’s World Dept. 174 • Children’s Accessories Dept. 173 • Children’s Underwear Dept. 182 • Children’s Shoes Dept. 220 • Minikin Shop • Infants’ Wear Dept. 186 • Infants’ Furniture Dept. 185 • Toddlers’ Wear • Girls’ World Dept. 170 • Girls’ Accessories Dept. 173 • Sub-Teen Shop Dept. 171 • Childrens’ 3-6X Dept. 180 • Boy’s Shop Dept. 440/445 • Lingerie Dept. 270 • Sleepwear Dept. 275 • Loungewear Dept. 271 • Loungetique Dept. 290 • Bra Salon Dept. 281 • Girdles Dept. 280 • Midtown Sportswear Dept. 146 • Midtown Shop Dept. 137Midtown Shop (Half Sizes) Dept. 138 • Sophisticate Shop Dept. 128 • Casual Shop • Daytime Dresses Dept. 190 • Berkshire Shop Dept. 192 • Cotton Corner Dept. 195

Fashion Third





The Suit Shop • Fur Salon Dept. L120 • Better Coat Salon Dept. 114 • Weather or Not Shop Dept. 113 • Shoe Salon Dept. 210/211/217 • Better Dresses Dept. 140 • Better Sportswear Dept. 150 • Town and Country Shop Dept. 148 • Sportique Dept. 149 • Young Couture Dept. 132 • Specialty Shop Dept. 133 • Bridal Salon Dept. 131 • Misses’ Dresses Dept. 135 • Misses’ Sportswear Dept. 149 • Casa del Sol Dept. 143 • Blouses Dept. 159 • Sportswear Dept. 142 • Misses' Coats Dept. 152 • Resort World • Junior Shoes Dept. 215 • Junior Dresses Dept. 165/166 • Junior Sportswear Dept. 145 • New-tiquity Dept. 167 • Suede and Leather Shop Dept. 110 • Millinery Dept. 200 • Wiggery Dept. 265 • Eat and Run

Fourth Floor Domestics Dept. 560 • Blankets Dept. 570 • Sheets • Table Linens Dept. 550 • Towels Dept. 552 • Bath Shop Dept. 552 • Pillows Dept. 560 • Bedspreads Dept. 571 • Curtains Dept. 635 • Draperies Dept. 631 • Decorative Pillows Dept. 540Slipcovers Dept. 630 • Floor Coverings Dept. 623 • Rugs Dept 631 • Fabrics Dept. 510 • Art & Needlework Dept. 540 • Singer Sewing Center Dept. 700

Fifth Floor Fireplace Shop Dept. 673 • Housewares Dept. 670/671 • Bath Shop Dept. 670Gourmet Aisle Dept. 680 • Appliances Dept. 730 • China Dept. 650 • Silver Dept. 350 • Clocks Dept. 246Gift Shop • Glassware Dept. 651 • Lamps Dept. 640 • Mirrors • Toys Dept. 830 • Televisions Dept. 775 • Stereos Dept. 770 • Vacuums Dept. 720 • Summer Furniture Dept. 675 • Casual Furniture Dept. 615 • Sporting Goods Dept. 830 • Books Dept. 340 • Musical Instruments Dept. 779

Sixth Floor Special Events Center

Seventh Floor Furniture Dept. 607/609 • Furniture Import Bazaar Dept. 612 • Bedding Dept. 619 • Recliners Dept. 605Occasional Furniture • Beauty Spot • Picture Gallery Dept. 661


BRANCH STORES (1957-1976)


Paterson (1878/1961)
186-196 Main Street











Paramus (1957)
Bergen Mall
300,000 sq. ft.
Skyline Restaurant






Preakness (1963)
Hamburg Tpke,
Wayne NJ 81,000 sq. ft.

Equitable Building
51st Street at Avenue of the Americas
18,000 sq. ft.
East Hampton (1968)
Pantigo Road and Montauk Hwy.
18,000 sq. ft.








Willowbrook Mall (1970)
Wayne
274,000 sq. ft.





Woodbridge Center Mall (1971)
Woodbridge, NJ
278,000 sq. ft.

Middlesex Mall (1976)
South Plainfield NJ
81,000 sq. ft.

57 comments:

  1. I was researching a vintage coat from Gimbel Brothers and stumbled onto your website. I am sure there was a Stern's in the Mid Island Plaza in Hicksville, NY. It used to be Gertz, but Stern's bought them. The Mid Island Plaza changed its name to the Broadway Mall, then I moved to Florida in 1984. It is still a mall, but I don't know if it changed names again. I have not been back to L.I. for at least 10 years.

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  2. Hi BAK-What a great site. I was happy to see my dearly departed Stern's profiled. I was employed by them from 1986 until our being consumed by R.H. Macy and Co. Friday, April 13th 2001-an approriate day. I was hired by Visual Merchandising upon our acquisition of many of the Gimbels stores after their Chapter 7 bankruptcy. We were Allied Stores then-pre Campeau Corp. and pre-Federated. Stern's was a well run and very profitable division of Federated right until the end. We began in 1867 on 23rd St. I have a great lithograph of that first building. Met many celebrities while doing display in our two Hamptons locations. The 'Barn' in East Hampton and the 'new' store in Hampton Bays. Gwen Verdon was a regular and a real sweetheart, as was Howard Cossel-always a gentleman, and Carrie Nye-Dick Cavett's wife. Jackie Kennedy kept her horse Buttercup in the 'barn' you have the drawing of posted while she was growing up in East Hampton. Allied later bought the whole farm to turn it first into Stern's, then to Gertz and then back to Stern's. We sold it for 3 Million in 1993 and it's still vacant today. So nice to see so many pics of the buildings I spent so many years in-most notably the crypt-like buying offices of Stern's in the cellars of the Bergen Mall in Paramus, N.J. where they 'kept' us execs. Thanks again for the site. Regards, Chris

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  3. What is needed is a Gertz Exhibit. Gertz was a much better store than Sterns. There was a small Gertz in Great Neck but you would have to travel to downtown Flushing to get a full line Gertz (Great store with great service). They had two restaurants with the one on the upper floor more "exclusive" than the kid friendly one on the lower level. The only oddity was the fact that the first (street) level floor was sloped. Could never figure that out. There was also a large store in Hicksville at the Mid -Island Plaza which later became Broadway Mall (which is its current name). Later became Stern's and today is Macy's. Why does everything nice change?

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  4. As you can see from the list of stores on the welcome page, I am working on a Gertz exhibit. My first architecture professor, who grew up in a Levittown on Long Island, mentioned the first Gertz store he saw in a shopping center - - "A huge brutal box to contain merchandise" - - on my first day at University.

    The store was interesting because it was located in an outer borough rather than Manhattan, and had a fascinating history as well. With a little luck, it won't be too long before I get enough information to put it online.

    BAK

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  5. Two additions to your excellent summary:
    - Essex Green Shopping Center, West Orange, NJ: built in 1957 as Arnold Constable, then Stern's, now Macy's;
    - Nanuet Mall, Nanuet, NY: built as A&S, later Stern's, then Boscov's

    Keep up the good work!

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  6. As a young woman, I loved to shop Stern's. the selection was wonderful and the customer service was unsurpasse. You don't that kind of interest in the customer anymore.

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  7. BAK
    I can't wait to see your Gertz exhibit. The Gertz store which your architecture professor mentioned would be the Hicksville Gertz/Sterns/Macy's (which is near Levittown). It was and is one very ugly building. The Flushing store was also a rather ugly building, while the Great Neck building did have a more interesting look. There is a website with old photos from NYC (outerboros). I will find and send a link. I know there are photos of Gertz in Flushing on that site.

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  8. BAK
    Try wideimaging.com and click on flushing. You will find several interesting photos of Woolworths, S Kleins, and Gertz.

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  9. I actually have saved pictures of the various Gertz stores from the New York Times, i.e the Flushing and Bayshore stores. I've seen the Hicksville one at the Library of Congress; I agree that it is large and "unwieldy;" My professor admired its brutality.

    Thank you for the link; I'm going to check it out and get to work on Gertz!

    Bruce

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  10. I have to add that Flushing is dear to me because as a five-year-old, our family visited the New York World's Fair, and it made a huge impression on me; I remember it in great detail.

    Two weeks ago, we were in NYC because my step-daughter was performing at the Metropolitan Opera. We had a "cab-ride-from-hell" to JFK, in which the cab driver got lost numerous times and finally asked me how to get to the airport (second day on the job). At least we went past the Unisphere and I was able to tell my wife about the World's Fair once again (she's heard it a hundred times if she's heard it once).

    Bruce

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  11. Bruce:
    Lets not get off topic discussing the 1964/65 NY World's Fair. We lived close enough back then to make weekly weeknight trips there for dinner and visit out favorite attraction the GE building.Back to our topic, the Gertz in Flushing was walking distance from Shea Stadium and the World's Fair. So much for staying on topic! Go Mets!

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  12. This off-topic thing is keeping me from my work . . . and is a heck of a lot more interesting!

    We stayed at the guest house of a Mrs. Young, a german war bride (who said she had a "schwimming pool") and walked to the Fair during the week we stayed there. The last thing we visited on our way out on the last day was the Pepsi-Cola building. I, too liked the GE exhibit, and the Bell Telephone paviliont as well. One night I had such a stomach ache walking back to Mrs. Young's, that I had to walk bent over. Come to think of it, I am not sure why my parents didn't offer to carry me, but at least now I never complain about aches and pains.

    I also feel privileged to have been in Steeplechase Park's Pavilion of Fun before it passed from existence. At the time I would have not thought that possible.

    Bruce

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    Replies
    1. I have fond memories of the 64-65 World's Fair as well. Unfortunately, the future did not turn out as it appeared in 1964-1965. Nor, did it turn out as it did in 2001: A Space Odyssey, were we would be flying Pan American Jet Liners and living on the moon. My fantasies and all childhood retailers are gone. Yes, we are off topic.

      Delete
  13. I remeber Sterns another fine store, i used shop their PARAMUS, YONKERS AND NANUET STORES.Macys destroyed the retail sector. They took away STERNS ABRAHAM AND STRAUS, GERTZ, MAY CO, FILENES, HECTS ETC i HATE MACYS,

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  14. STERNS was a fine store. I used to shop their Paramus, yonkers and nanuet ny stores. Another store missed because of Macys. They ruined the retail sector. They also took away other fine stores Gertz, ABRAHAM AND STRAUS MAY CO, FILENES HECTS ETC. I hate Macys

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  15. I love your website, especially the Stern's page. I began my retail career at Stern Brothers as Head of Sales (Green Pencil) in the Woodbridge store, pre-opening in 1971 for the Boys Dept.I was promoted to an Asst. Manager for Mens Sportswear and The Now Shop in 1972. Other management positions held: The Foreign Market, China, Glass, Silver & Gifts. Stern Brothers as it was called in 1971 was new to central New Jersey. We had to be better than our competitors: A&S and Bamberger's. Superior Customer Service was paramount and with the creation of Stern Brothers "Super Sale" events we became a busy and popular store. As a unit of Allied Stores Stern Brothers was a well run operation. It is sad that after over one hundred years in business the Stern Brothers image was sent to the dept. store graveyard like many other fine regional stores. I think the Campeau takeover of Allied Stores led to Stern's and all the other sister store's demise. I have many great memories working at Stern's.

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  16. Hi there Bruce,

    I have to tell you, I truly enjoyed going through your site. I came upon it when I was talking to my partner about a dear friend of mine that passed away. My friend was the Manager of the Women's Shoe Dept. at the Sterns in a Mall in Ocean Township, New Jersey (by the Jersey Shore). This was back in the late 1980's to the early to Mid 1990's. I tried to google Sterns when my partner told me he had never heard of it and I was blown away, I thought everyone knew Sterns, as many have said here on your site, they had the best customer service and honestly cared about what their customers thought. It's a shame Federated shut them down. But it seems MACYS and their hush name Federated have been going around our country buying up great and wonderful, not to mention loved, regional department stores only to shut them all down within the first few years and turn the excellent sites into MACYS stores. They recently did that here in Florida, I moved from NYC/NJ to Fla. in the early 90's and found one of the best dept. stores I had ever shopped in, "Burdines" they were a family owned and operated Florida only multiple location department store established in South Florida (Ft. Laud area) in 1896 i think it was, and they were known and always operated and advertised as Burdines, Florida's Dept. Store. After the head of the Burdines family passed away a couple decades ago, the family began thinking it was time to sell. If I'm not mistaken, they finally sold to non other than, Yup, you guessed it.... Federated with some sort of a clause in the contract that they would not change the name nor close any stores unless they were under performing for at least 10 years I think it was, and not more than a day after that clause was satisfied, they had the nerve and gall to rename ever single store MACYS, and they put to death they name "Burdines, Florida's "Only" Dept. Store" a staple in the State of Florida for over a Century, without even batting an eye.

    Oh... Sorry I kind of got lost in my disappointment over the loss of a another great department store.

    Thanks for the site Bruce.....

    Fr. T

    P.S. Bruce, do you happen to know when the Sterns in Ocean Township, NJ was shut down?

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  17. Dear Fr. T:

    Thanks for your interesting comments. It would seem that the Ocean Township store in Seaview Square Mall closed in 1999, and was demolished shortly afterward, to be replaced by a Target store.

    Bruce

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  18. found two dressers at a thrift store with a plate nailed to back of each item. sterns brothrers New York, would love to know more about each piece. any info for me?
    thank you
    Ellie
    from New Jersey

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  19. Hi Bruce,

    I can probably share a great deal of information regarding most, if not all of the former Allied and Federated buildings in the New York Metropolitan area. I was a senior executive with first Allied, then Federated/Allied then Federated and Macy's from the early 80's through last year. I was a Visual Merchandising/Store Design corporate designer, and know all these buildings intimately. The Gertz/Stern's/Macy building in Hicksville has an illustrious past. The company snuck the fifth floor right past the town building dept. in 1956 and they didn't realize it until it was too late to stop it. It is still the tallest suburban dept. store in the country at 6 floors and 350,000 gross sq. feet. The last sales lady who opened the store retired 2 years ago. The Stern's/Gertz/Stern's in East Hampton has a fascinating history as well, as Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy kept her horse Buttercup in the barn at that location while living at Lesata-the Bouvier family estate. The Abraham & Straus building at Hoyt and Fulton also has a great history with the oldest parts dating to just after the Civil War. Would be happy to answer any queries about the stores should you need to know anything. Seems like a lot of misinformation out there that needs correcting. Regards and Happy New Year. Chris of Long Island, NY

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    Replies
    1. So Chris, you were an ex retailer...even if not a merchant (no offense). We really do have a lot to talk about and that explains your knowledge of the brown Stern's paint color... I was a Buyer for Bamberger's, then transferred to Macy's...prior to Federated. I then left to go back to my true love SFA. We need to speak and share stories!

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  20. Thanks, Chris for the offer of help. I would welcome any help at all . . . you may comment again with an e-mail address, and I won't publish it.

    Happy New Year!

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  21. Bruce-somebody posted a while back about the Gertz/Stern's/Macy's store at Roosevelt Ave. in Flushing. The floor on the 1st street level is sloped because it was a bus depot before 1941 when Allied purchased the building for Gertz Long Island unit. It's always been a real pain in designing the accessories and handbags casegoods/fixturing for that floor! Chris

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  22. Bruce,
    Just heard that Macy's is now closing the 50 year old Bay Shore, Long Island location in March and the G.O.B. sale has begun. It's a 320,000 Sq. Ft. huge old barn, and it's being razed in March for a replacement store to open in 2 years. This is a loss of 200 jobs, althought the company promises placement of some associates in nearby stores-many large salaried legacy R.H. Macy employees worked there. It was one of the original branches of Macy's in the New York market. The 5th store to wear the Macy nameplate after Herald Square, and the first in Suffolk County. It will be replaced by a new 180,000 Sq. Ft. store in an adjoining footprint in the latest Macy prototype. The current building is unsafe and not possible to renovate due to extremely high levels of asbestos throughout the building including floors/walls and all ceilings. It also has dropped in volume by millions the last 15 years due to it's decrepit, antiquated dingy condition and less than moderate merchandise assortment. Chris

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  23. Several point about Stern's...you missed a store in Orange, NJ which is still open and converted to...what else, Macy's. It is about 81,000 sg. ft and open at the same time did Preakness. The Paterson store was originally "Quakensbush" and although Stern;s did buy the sore, the name never changed and it closed in the early 70's once Willowbrook opened and pretty much everything else in downtown Paterson closed then as well. Stern's started out as a NYC store, but when it open Paramus, it moved all its Buying operations to NJ and pretty much shuttered all of NYC. So, one could say, you may want to place Stern's as both a NY and NJ store on your listing, although its true life line was NJ. Allied Stores purchased Stern's sometime in the mid 50's. The Paramus store was a wonderful piece of mid modern architecture, placed in an open air mall with an ice-skating rink. In typical Allied Stores fashion, the store NEVER saw a renovation, so until it became a clearance center for Macy's, it looked the same. In an odd way, it was wonderful shopping there, even in the 80's and 90's...you felt like you stepped back in time. The staff was knowledgeable and had been there since its opening in 1951. It had a wonderful restaurant which faced Rte.4 and you could get a window table and watch the cars sit in endless traffic, after all,Paramus is the shopping capital of the world! In terms of merchandise, Stern's always was moderate, to lower moderate, and Allied didn't help.

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  24. Although ex buyer has some interesting points about Stern's some are opinion and not correct. The bulk of the sales volume came from Long Island and Westchester. 600M vs. 300M from Jersey sales. We did complete extensive renovations on Paramus throughout the 90's until Stern's folded into Macy's in April '01 so the point about the store never being renovated is not a fact. The Paramus store was eclipsed in volume by Cross County in the early 90's at 75M vs. 60M. annually. Stern's was Federated's division of the year in the last several years of the 90's under Matt Serra and Ron Klein's Chairmanships. People are under the impression the company failed somehow, it never did-it was a $ powerhouse and only a victim of Federated's consolidation plan until the end. Chris

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    Replies
    1. The Long Island stores were originally Gertz stores that Allied merged into Stern's in the late 70s/early 80s. I should have clarified and stated I was only speaking of the Stern's stores prior to the merger of the two divisions.

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    2. One other point. Yes, Paramus did see some minor renovations, but nothing to the extend of what Bamberger's down the street saw. Last I was in it as Stern's before the name change, the first floor was still that dull brown shade which was the original color form the opening in 1951...they must have stocked up on that paint color. And yes, you are correct, Stern's was a powerhouse and victim of Federated's mergers. Again, I will admit, I should have been clearer in my writing. Stern's in NJ could not hold a candle to Bamberger's in terms of volume, as a combined division, once Gertz was added into the equation, it was much more powerful as a company, and did complete on a scale with Bamberger's (I will exclude Macy's), although Bamberger's was a stronger volume. Stern"s (with Gertz) was roughly as you stated 1B in sales; Bamberger's was more than 2B in sales, with equal number of stores, was Macy's largest volume division and most profitable in the days of the early 80s. Paramus alone in the early 80s for Bamberger's did over 200M for a "branch" store. I am not downplaying Stern's and its importance, I loved the feel of the Paramus store...I just liked it more when it was an open air mall with an ice skating rink.

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    3. As I did the renovations on the Paramus store I can tell you the Allied GN 57 Beige you refer to was completely removed from that store twenty years ago. The store was completely renovated in stages as Stern's by 17 years ago. The main floor was painted decorator white with pearwood accents and the mens store was cherry mahogany. All fixtures and caselines were replaced. The main floor terrazzo was replaced with marble and quarry tile. The families of businesses were relocated in many cases with the home store going from 45% of business to 30%. As it was my department and my budget I can assure you it was completely renovated. Keep in mind that money was spent by New Federated which emerged from the bankrupt ashes of Campeau/Allied then Federated/Allied in 1990. Jim Zimmerman and Allen Questrom as the principals at Fed. realized they had a brief window to update Stern's, as well as Jordan Marsh, Bon Marche and Rich Brothers-the remaining profitable divisions of Allied still exisiting. They started pouring money into the divisions for Capital renovations. Allen and Jim really supported Stern's, Terry Lundgren supported 'The name brand glamour of Macy's'. Terry won out after the other gentlemen left the company. The results are very evident...Chris

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    4. As both natives of NJ, and obviously working for the two main competitors, I respect you insight. Allied was no wonder company, but as you stated it did have 4 very strong divisions, as you stated. I was never a Stern's shopper, as I felt the store was to mid to lower budget for my taste. Home Store was the one one bright spot, and when Stern's had home store sales, they were incredible! I CAN NOT believe you knew the paint color! I am not sure when this renovation happened, as I have lived in Dc for many years, but I do visit NJ to see family/friends. The last time I was in Stern's was in the late 1990's (around 1999) and I still remember color GN 57, so the renovation must have happend later. Chris, I am not putting down Stern's in anyway, it was a wonderful store and it had its customer base. I think as both ex-retailers we can agree with that. All I am stating, is I missed the Stern's of my childhood at Bergen Mall, when it was an open air mall, had an ice rink and was very charming to shop . The mall also had a JJ Newbury, andy as a child who watched Romper Room (may be before your time), all toys showed on Romper Room were courtesy Newbury's, so I as a child, had a sinister reason for wanting to go to Bergen Mall and Stern's with my mother. So, if you feel I am not found of Stern's, that is not the case, I just remember it differently. As an insider you would know things, I would not, just as I do about Bamberger's.

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  25. Bruce, accolades to you for bringing this site to everyone to share insight. Funny how everyone has memories that seem to be so powerful to them, even after many of these divisions have been gone for so many years (like paint colors in Paramus Stern's LOL). You must put in an incredible amount of time in on this history, and must be commended for the detail of your work. I have 'turned on' some of my work friends to the site and everyone is amazed by it, alas some Macy execs. are rather saddened at comments as to how many people apparently still 'hate' the company vehemently. So many 'Macy' people (over 7000 buying office executives) have been laid off in the past couple years with the buying office restructure consolidation to Herald Square, there are certainly a lot of displaced people out there who spent their entire careers at the May Company, Allied, Associated Dry Goods, Federated etc. all under the Macy banner now. Thanks for keeping the memories of the old places alive. Chris

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  26. Hi Chris!

    Your comment is interesting. I hesitate to publish comments on this site that say negative things, but, as long as they are not too hostile, I do so. After all, they are true feelings and observations of people. I am astounded, though, that Macy's executives are saddened or even surprised at people's sentiments. Are they really that distanced from their customers? Most people I know feel exactly the same; trying to be all things to all people makes their store not much of anything to anybody in particular.

    I am so happy that you have spread the word about my efforts here . . . Very little of this information was previously vailable online, at least not in an organized manner. I never thought I would be the person to expose it, but am very glad that I did, and I plan to keep expanding the offerings as long as I am able.

    Thanks again for your interest.

    Bruce

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    Replies
    1. I have to agree with Chris. I "stumbled" across this site and I do not even know how I did. I was always hoping someone would find the time to pull together some of this great retailers, prior to everything being Macy's. Just finding the pictures must have taken countless upon countless hours. To me, it is the architecture which is most fascinating. Each store had its own distinctive style and design. As a "chain" I did find the Field's store to be some of the more interesting in interior decor, which allowed for a remarkable way to merchandise the building. Perhaps the most amazing branch store ever conceived was the Bergdorf Goodman store in White Plains (it is now Neiman Marcus. Besides being the return store for all the New York merchandise that the suburbanites from Westchester would purchase when in NYC, the store was a museum...literally. It had escalators which had minimal flooring around them when you stepped off, your pathway to walk was determined for you and the escalator had about 10 feet of empty space and then the selling floor started. They appeared to hang suspended in the middle of the building Merchandise was not "en mass" and shown as one or two pieces with small "spot lights" on each piece to highlight them. You could roll bowling balls on the floor and not hit anything, not even a customer...which is why NM did an extensive redo on the store prior to their occupancy. Still, if you wish to say "it was like no other store in the world" that saying would be accurate. I went off on a tangent. Thanks Bruce for this amazing site.

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    2. And Bruce the answer to your question of are Macy's executives that detached from reality is "YES". ALL executives are detached from reality.

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  27. It is, though, a good and related topic, so there's no reason not to.

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  28. The Westchester Bergdorf Goodman store was the work of John Carl Warnecke, I believe (but don't quote me at the moment). It was written up in the '70s in Architectural Record, and if I can get down to one of the bigger libraries in Detroit, I may be able to add better pictures. I agree with you; even to a 19-year-old architecture student, the photos of the atrium and escalators seemed extraordinarily spacious; in fact the whole thing didn't look like a department store at all, (your museum analogy comes to mind) and it was very much a one-off.

    All in all, an interesting and thought-provoking tangent, I'd say!

    Bruce

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    Replies
    1. BAK: Here is a link I stumbled upon while trying to look up the architect for BG in White Plains. It has hundreds of photos, mostly of West Coast stores, but others as well. You may find useful. If the link fails, google Bergdorf Goodman Architect for White Plains Store...that is how I found it.
      http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=architect%20of%20bergdorf%20goodman%20in%20white%20plains&source=web&cd=2&ved=0CDsQFjAB&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.flickr.com%2Fphotos%2F53409445%40N04%2F5262404051%2F&ei=zCszT535B-yx0QG39ryiAg&usg=AFQjCNGj3veR9VwEm7fgYQjQtg5L1eIXrw&sig2=8fwR-T-GR579pLmevIpayA

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  29. Am I the only person who remembers the magical Christmas wonderland at Stern's department store in New York (in the mid-late 1960's)... It was truly amazing -- every child's dream! They had actual rides in the store - the cup and saucer ride, a small boat ride and several others. And of course, Santa Claus.
    Far better than Macy's, Lord & Taylor... Stern's put on the most unusual Christmas by far...truly magnificent!
    Jennifer from Connecticut

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  30. Thank you, Jennifer for the reminder . . . I wonder how many people share your memory? Not being a native New Yorker, I didn't have experience with Stern's - but in Detroit, i believe Hudson's managed to get a full-grown Carousel into its auditorium on the twelfth floor. I do believe that I have seen ads advertising the Christmas Wonderland, and if I can access one from the era you'd remeber, I will try to post it.

    Bruce

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  31. I worked at Stern Bros. during the 1960's.We hosted summer shows each Wed. in Bryant Park free to the public.Many broadway stars would come and perform excerpts from current show,i.e.Fiddler on the Roof,Funny Girl etc.During the winter months Stern's would continue the promotions by inviting performers such as Tony Bennett to meet and greet customers.

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  32. My grandfather was a buyer at Stern's in New York and family lore has it that he lost his job after the stock market crash in 1929. After reading some of the comments about Macy's, I now realize why I was taught to sing, "I won't go to Macy's any more, more, more. There's a big fat policeman at the door, door, door. He'll take you by the collar and make you pay a dollar. I won't go to Macy's any more, more, more!"

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  33. This is a fabulous site and brings back many fond memories for me.I worked at the Stern's in Paramus restaurant division from 1963-1973 and was the restaurant manager from 66-73. I then transferred to the Allied Stores division in Florida, which was Maas Bros. I worked at several locations through 1979. Getting back to Stern's. Aside from our 3 instore food service operations, we also did a tremendous amount of banquet business because of the theater in the Bergen Mall. Many actors and actresses of that era appeared in plays there.

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  34. Hi, bruce, I am very impressed with your site.I was an employee at Stern's in woodbridge,n.j.I was there from 1977 to 1981,i worked in the receiving and the security departments.That was so long ago and i still have great memory's.There was a major event at woodbridge, a fire started in the cardboard/supply room on the 3rd floor. The store had to be evacuated,the freight elevators where flooded and water from the fire protections systems ran out the receiving dock doors.The employee's pulled together and got things up and running right away.
    Also sterns use to make the best "blue berry muffins" ever made.
    thank you for the history lesson this site offer. RMC.

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  35. I grew up in Bergen County and remember the original open-air Bergen Mall very well. The sunken area with childrens rides, Orbach's, JJ Newberry's, but most especially Stern's. I worked at Stern's Paramus in the early to mid 'eighties. I can close my eyes and see it clearly; the employee cafeteria overlooking Route 4 and Caldor's (originally Korvette's now Kohl's), the first floor Bargain Spot next to the escalators where we found things for our newly-married home, the China Department "bits and pieces" sale area tucked 'way in the back where over a six-month period my wife found all the pieces to assemble a complete matching tea service for twelve - including two teapots! (she treasures that set). Branching off the lower level beyond Housewares, extending west under the mall level stores and with an entrance/exit from the covered parking area was Sportswear, Toys, Casual Furniture, and Majors (aka Appliances/Electronics). Beyond there and extending further under Bergen Mall were the main administrative and corporate buying offices. Stern's clearly put the "back office" operations out back! Our first mattress and box spring came from the third floor Furniture and Bedding as did our original living room chairs and coffee table (a cherrywood drop-leaf by Lane, still have it!). Come to think of it I still have a suit in the closet that was fitted to me by a friend in Men's Furnishings.

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  36. I recent acquired a brass oil student lamp that has a Stern Bros burner. Does any one have any information on who would have been the maker for Stern Bros. It is all original as far as I can tell. Believe it to be around 1886-1891. Any information would be awesome. A value would be nice also.

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  37. I am trying to get some information about a Stern dining table with folding leaf and 6 chairs believed to be in the 1920's

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  38. I stumbled on your site and was amazed. I 'm glad someone has thought to do this. I was trying to find the name of a very popular furniture store in NYC. It was on 5th Ave near L&T. My memory fails me. Anyway I was on the executive training "flying squad" at Altman's. We were assigned to different dept every morning. You never knew where you would work that day. Then I moved to Gimble's as a 2nd fl assistant manager. I grew up in Flushing and Gertz was the go-to-store. Your site brings back memories. Keep up the good work. Thanks,

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  39. Does anyone know the locations of the 10 branch stores that Stern's purchased from Gimbels in 1986? I know that they were closed less than 2 years after they became Stern's. Anyone care to comment on this? What became of these branches? I remember going into the Gallery and King of Prussia locations in Philadelphia. I just find it hard to believe that Sterns was not profitable in these great branch locations

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  40. In 1986 Allied Stores purchased (10) Gimbels locations, (7) were in the Philly market (Moorestown, Echelon, Center City, Notheast, Oxfod Valley, King of Prussia, and Granite Run, and these were to be run by Stern's, as well as (2) location in the NYC market, Younkers and Roosevelt Field.
    The 10th location at Lancaster Park City was turned over to Pomeroy's.
    The (7) Philly area stores were doomed from the time that Stern's announced it had no interest in sponsoring the Thanksgiving Day Parade and other community events that were staged by Gimbels. Stern's claimed it was not "their policy" to be involved in events like these, and customers reacted be sending back the new Stern's charge plates that they received to replace their Gimbels cards. Further Stern's showed no savy in merchandising these stores, so they gave off the impression of being a cold, uncaring, company. Stern's arrogance cost them big time.
    Ken

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  41. Excitement, Galore!!! I m traveling to NYC thiis weekend, & what a find, to discover this web site. When I was 19 yrs old, (1959) I worked for Capital Airlines & part time for Stern's in the billing dept. I walked up from 45th & 5th, to the store, had dinner, for about $.55 (I bought a vegetable plate, that's all I could afford, & the gal loaded my plate) then worked till 9:30 then back to our apt. on 69th & 1st Ave. Was helping my family in Pa. Dad was a Steel worker, but became ill, so I eventually moved back to PA. But loved Stern's, shopped & treasured my purchases, look forward to visiting this weekend. I remember they sold soft ice cream on the first floor, in the middle, new in those days. What a wonderful history, & those buildings, classic, How can they be replaced by a Target????? Sad.

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  42. Re: Ken's comments about Stern's 'arrogance' in the Philly Market. We never wanted those stores and intended to close them from day one. We wanted Roosevelt Field and Cross County and got stuck with Philly in the deal with BATUS. We kept them long enough to get out of the lease-the deal was to run them for 2 years. Roosevelt Field and Cross County where gold mines for us and where extremely profitable. Stern's was Federated's Division of the year in '99 and 2000. We went out on top. Just happened to be the second division to 'go' in the Federated plan to make all the divisions Macy's and/or Bloomingdale's. I was a corporate exec. at Stern's so I can tell you that's the real story behind that deal.

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  43. This is in reply to Anonymous question of 30 Aug.
    2012 regarding a Stern Bros. student lamp. I did some research on this as I have a magnificent Stern Bros. floor lamp. I believe the metal burners were made for Stern Bros. by Plume & Atwood company of Connecticut. They probably made the entire student lamp.

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  44. In 1895, Stern Brothers are recorded in the sales ledgers of Stead McAlpin & Co England.

    archives@steadmcalpin.co.uk

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  45. Reply to 13 June 2013 post: Ah, ha! So that's the real story behind Stern's acquisition of the Philly Gimbels stores! Am not surprised. I was a Gimbels buyer who jumped ship to Sterns in'83 before Gimbels was shuttered by BATUS. I thought those stores were later dumped due to the Campeau mismanagement of Allied.

    Stern's was great place to work (we former Gimbel-ites called it "Retail Heaven") until Campeau bought Federated. It went downhill rapidly after that; I & a lot of other people got downsized in '89 as a consequence. Sad that Federated (now Macys) couldn't maintain the nameplates of Sterns & many other of their acquisitions.

    Great job with this website!! Please keep up the good work!

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  46. I am trying to piece together my mother’s career history from approximately 1946-1953. She worked for Stern's New York as an assistant buyer for gifts, silverware and clocks. She worked for Mark Delahay. Anyone remember him or heard of him? She also worked for Mercantile Stores and Macy's, also I believe as a silverware buyer. She used to talk about attending parties hosted by Helena Rubenstein as part of her job but I don’t know the context. Any information would be appreciated. Thanks.

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  47. To the lady looking for info. about her Mother in the Stern's buying office. Sadly if you had asked me this question even ten years ago I could have helped you out, but all the folks that worked at the company then that where working at Stern's in the 1940's and 1950's have passed on. Our long time President Lawrence Stone most assuredly would have worked with your Mom, as would our Vice President Larry Goldberg. Also Mary Brennan our Buying office receptionist (who ran the store lol!) was with the company from 1927 until her passing in the late 1990's. These folks all worked at Corprate @ Bryant Park, then Paramus after the buying office moved there in '69. Unfortunately you are asking about a time between 60 and 70 years ago now, and there really is no one left from that period alive that worked at Stern's Corporate. I started there 30 years ago and we had a lot of amazing old timers with us back then who told the greatest stories about retail in NYC in the golden age of Department Stores. Chris from Stern's

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