Bullocks Wilshire, Los Angeles, California


An Art-Deco icon of great luxury and style - Bullock's Wilshire

A charcoal rendering of the store which appeared at the time of its opening in September 1929


Another charcoal rendering focused on the store's signature tower

Bullock's Wilshire (1929)
3050 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, California

DUnkirk 2-6161


WILSHIRE BOULEVARD STORE DIRECTORY

Lower Level
Trim-The-Home Shop • Offices • Credit Office • Cashier's Office
Street Floor
Accessory Room Real Jewelry • Fashion Jewelry • Watches • Hosiery • Handbags • Belts • Boutique • Rainwear • Scarves • Handkerchiefs • Shoes
Sportswear Knitwear • Dresses • Coats • Accessories
Shoe Salon • Stationery • Gift Shop • Steuben Glass Room • Marghab Room • Gem and Mineral Gallery
Men's Store Men's Furnishings • Men's Clothing • Shoes • Wynbrier Shop • Luggage

Mezzanine
Playdeck Active Sportswear • Play Shoes

Second Floor
Lingerie • Negligees • Loungewear • Robes • Foundations • Boudoir Shop • Studio of Beauty
French Room Dresses • Coats • Separates • Signature Room • Millinery • Fur Salon

Third Floor
Collegienne Sportswear • Dresses • Coats and Suits • Lingerie • Robes • Hosiery
Wynshire Dresses • Separates • Coats • Suits • Shoes • Millinery
Miss Wilshire • Horizon Shop • Casual Shop • Wynfield Shop • Bridal Bureau
Fourth Floor
Infants and Toddlers Room • Girls' Three-to-Six Shop • Girls' Seven-to-Fourteen Shop • Children's Shoes • Boys' Shop • Debwyn Shop • Snip 'N Curl • Critics' Circle

Fifth Floor
Desert Tea Room • The Alcove • Salle Moderne • Candy • Gourmet Shop • Tower Room • Tower Five for Men Only


BRANCH STORES (1968-1977)

Palm Springs (Oct 18, 1947)
Palm Canyon Drive
40,000 sq. ft.









Woodland Hills (Aug. 20,1973)
Promenade
80,000 sq. ft.
The Tea Room






Newport Beach (August 1, 1977)
Fashion Island
80,000 sq. ft.
The Tea Room

42 comments:

  1. I worked at Bullocks Wilshire in 1988 and 1989. It was a wonderful place to work. We had a special way we were supposed to talk to the customers. First off they were not customers they were "Patrons" If a "Patron" were to ask us say..."where is the bathroom?" We were to correctly answer without correcting them. "The lounge is on the 3rd level" If they were looking for their favorite salesperson "Mary" and she was off the response was "Mary has a day away" Bullocks Wilshire never had items on sale. They had "reduced merchandise." They did not have a parking lot, they had a "motor court" There were all sorts of colorful regular "patrons" at BW. People that lived in the area that probably lost there money long before but still came to BW every day to have lunch in the tea room on the 5th level. Very old world Los Angeles people that were a dying breed. Dressed to the nines in pretty old fashioned clothes and wide brimmed hats. Plenty of celebrities shopped there too. Even some of the staff were characters unto themselves. Rosa a former ballerina in the 1930's in the gift department was quite a standout. Also I remember Erin Magnin who was married to one of THE Magnin's (Jerry Magnin) worked as the personal shopper at BW even though I Magnin was just down the street. It was an amazing place to be and I was very sad to see it close. I am however thankful that Southwestern School of Law has taken impeccable care of the landmark building.

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  2. This link is to a video which is nearly an hour long but is well worth watching when you have the time. It is Huell Howser of KCET (PBS television in Los Angeles) visiting the Bullocks Wilshire Tea Room on its final day of operation in 1993.

    http://www.kcet.org/shows/huell_howser/visiting-with-huell-howser/bullocks-tea-room.html

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  3. What a great show! It certainly brought back many wonderful memories of shopping at Bullock's Wilshire. What a shame Macy's couldn't figure out a way to make the store successful. Having the building preserved is great, but it just isn't the same as having the store still in business.

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  4. Without a doubt the most imaginative and beautiful piece of Art Deco and magnificent store ever conceived. Just doesn't work as a Law School today.

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  5. Missed one Bullock's Wilshire, located in La Jolla just west of I-5 - opened in the late 70's

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  6. BW Palm Desert opened in the former Bonwit Teller spot in the late 80's. A beautiful store.

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  7. The Bullock's Wilshire in LaJolla was in a horrible mall (across I-5)from where University Town Center had opened. The mall had little to offer and The Bullock's Wilshire was small with a limited selection. In addition, the sales associates all had attitudes and were simply never helpful. The store did not last long. I think it became an I Magnin (which was odd as they had a very nice store on Girard Avenue in the LaJolla village).

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  8. My mother was so disappointed when the Bullocks Wilshire opened @ Fashion Island. Their selection was sparse, it was a disappointing shopping experience for her

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  9. My Father worked for Bullocks in Los Angeles for 50 years. He started as a shoe salesman to top executive when he retired. I would love to know his exact title. His name was Bernard Thomas Cooke.

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  10. Its not mentioned here that I see, but BW was NOT Bullock's Department Store, it was a specialty store that competed with Saks, Neiman Marcus, sister store I. Magnin and Nordstrom. It became a seperated division in the early 70's when it started building new mall locations. BW didnt carry childrens, housewares, bedding or furniture. It catered to upscale clientele or "Patron" as BW referred to them as. The Bullock's/BW credit card could be used at both stores. Macy's bought Bullock's, BW and I. Magnin in 1988 and by 1990 all BW stores where converted to I. Magnin

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  11. Bullock's is covered elsewhere in The Department Store Museum. They did carry children's wear, on the fourth floor.

    The Department Store Museum includes stores like Bonwit Teller, I. Magnin, and Bullock's Wilshire - they were specialty department stores that caterted to an upper-class clientele and did compete with their larger department store brethren in some lines.

    BAK

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  12. My father bought all my 'holiday' clothes at Bullocks Wilshire, I loved going there with him. He always used the valet parking and I loved the elevator operators. The sales women were also very nice to him. Hmmmm..... single father. Just saying. The big treat at the end of our shopping day would be to go to The Chicken in the Rough for hot fudge sundaes.

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  13. Here's a comprehensive listing of the Bullocks Wilshire locations. As previously noted, ca 1973, the Wilshire Blvd and Palm Springs Bullock's stores were 'spun off' to a sub division that would offer merchandise at a price tier above the 'regular' Bullock's Department Stores. To delineate this separation in identity,an apostrophe was dropped, and the 'Bullocks Wilshire' concept came to be. While some operational functions remained shared, BW had its corporate offices housed within the Wilshire flagship. Much smaller in square footage and sales volume, BW had its own President,buyers and merchandise managers,a Mail Order Catalog department, and directors of Fashion,Personnel & Sales Promotion. In effect BW was now going head to head competitively with sister division I.Magnin, which had been acquired by Bullock's Inc. in 1944 and was part of the Federated acquisition in 1964. The Bullocks Wilshire locations were:
    #50 Wilshire (1929)
    #51 Palm Springs (1947)
    #52 Woodland Hills (1973)
    #53 Newport Beach (1977)
    #54 La Jolls (1979)
    #55 Palos Verdes (1981)
    #56 Palm Desert (1987)

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    Replies
    1. Great accurate account of BW. The only thing BW and Bullocks shared was the charge card, both names were on it. I have my old card from the 70s which was a charge plate and was brown and beige. The card reads on the left side, the Bullocks scripted logo and on the right the Bullocks Wilshire art deco logo. Point of note: the current CEO of Macy's, Inc, Terry Lundgren was a Buyer for BW in the late 70s, early 80s, while it was still under Federated's domain.

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  14. I remember Bullocks Westwood when I was a student at UCLA in the mid 50's. That and Fedway, the bargain store.

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  15. Loved BW, the staff there just wouldn't let you be unsatisfied about anything, white gloved and treated you like the King of France. My hat is off to you all. I'm sure it wasn't easy. Just now learning of the BW's, Sad, demise, was trying to find the Mfg name for those wonderful fitting men's suits.
    Frank Poole

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  16. Frank Poole...The Bullocks Wilshire suits were made by Hickey Freeman..at least in the late 1980s they were.

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  17. My grandfather worked for Arthur Letts (Broadway Dept store pre-Bullocks) then he went on to work for Bullocks Wilshire when they first opened, becoming head of the delivery department. We have a number of pictures of him with the truck fleet, outside the store, in the shipping area, etc. I recently came across his little delivery book, very small leather book in which are written his notes, names/addresses of customers/deliveries. Also have a bunch of the Christmas cards the Company apparently sent to their employees each year, the cards included suitable for framing beautiful prints. My grandfather's have some hand-written greetings. All in pristine shape. Wondering if anyone collects such memorabilia?

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  18. I interviewed to be an assistant buyer (one of many, no doubt) with Bullock's in LA in 1978, though I forgot where the interview took place. First a group interview, then one with an individual. Does anyone know, would it have been at the Wilschire location?

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  19. What was Tower Five for Men Only? A restaurant?

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  20. I believe "Tower Five" was the name of a Christmas Personal Shopping event for men only where B.W. Associates displayed their finest merchandise in hopes that men uninterested in shopping would buy those on their shopping lists expensive Bullocks Wilshire gifts. It was held on the fifth level in one of the salons near the BW tea room. A lot of high end department stores had this service back in the day.

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  21. The glorious Wilshire Blvd. building was savagely vandalized during the 1992 L.A. riots that started in Watts and spread into areas that no one imagined would be affected. Saks, down the street, was putting up tar paper over their famous windows, as I was driving home from work because the mayor had imposed an immediate curfew. The Sears in Hollywood, as well as the famous tourist attraction Frederick's of Hollywood were also gutted.

    Sadly, the I. Magnin (Bullock's Wilshire) never re-opened as a retail building. Customers were just too afraid to go there.

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  22. @Anonymous regarding interview. Most likely you would have interviewed in the downtown store at Broadway/7th/Hill as HR was there and once they had looked you over, they'd have trotted you out to different buyers for specific positions. You may have gone out to Wilshire to interview with one of their buyers.

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  23. ReWrite Man62 Thanks.

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  24. I came of age out of the old Bullocks Wilshire Art Deco store. To think that the I. Magnin, Bonwit Teller, and this BW stores are all gone and how all of Rodeo Drive has changed, from a once elegant shopping street to what is now to me nothing but a flashy circle for the dreaming masses. It is all so sad, it is heartbreaking to think how Southern California has changed and not for better in my opinion Los Angeles as I once knew it is over.

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  25. I was assistant to Rose Marie Troy, Bullock's Wilshire Fashion Director 1986 and 1987. I was the luckiest human on the planet because when I interviewed I thought it would be for some office job in the main Bullocks buying offices downtown but it turned out to be a fabulous Fashion Office job working with the Fashion Director of all the Bullock's Wilshire stores. I pulled clothes, shoes and accessories for the Tea Room Models and the Informal and Formal fashion events. I got great bargains like my "Lizarani Markdowns" (buyer for Italian Designers) I got a $1,300 Krizia long kimono-like silk gown for $130 and a Bernard Perris $600 skirt for $60. I also got $450 Maude Frizon shoes for $15 at a "Models Room Shoe Sale" where we sold the outdated shoes to employees. The Display Department gave me "last season" Chanel Jewelry! A thick large oval link choker and at several paris of Chanel earrings and bracelets! This main store housed all the Divisionals, Buyers, and their staffs so it was fun to learn about the fashion trends straight from Europe and New York and give the buyers direction for purchases through our daily correspondence and seasonal Trend Presentation Meetings. I also got fabulous Chanel and Dior makeup and gift samples that they don't even produce anymore. But the Fashion Office job was challenging as Ms. Troy was like "The Devil Wears Prada". That movie portrayed the fashion office world well. Life was good when she was in Europe for Spring and Fall shows. I love the Bullock's Wilshire building and all it's interesting nook's and crannies that the public didn't know about. I am sad to see the Guerlain Boutique was destroyed and made into a tacky Security Office for the Law School! It's all so sad.........

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  26. Editorial request to: BAK
    From: Janet Martin

    Would you be able to change some major type-o's - I put in an apostrophe in Bullocks Wilshire twice - and of coarse the opposite - left it out in Bullock's

    Ms. Troy would kill me!

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  27. watching a Charlie Chaplin short right now. Bullock's store on the corner. Charlie is stopped next to it and attempting a left turn thru' a cop-controlled intersection.

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  28. I was directed to the Department Store Museum blog through a group that I recently joined, The Bullock's Alumni, via Linkedin. Recently being one day ago. The comments on both of these sites have stirred up many great memories. So many for one post that I plan to share them bit by bit. For starters, and by coincidence, this weekend's edition of the Wall Street Journal features an article and photo on the Section B front page of Terry Lundgren, Macy"s CEO.
    In 1979 I had just started in the Bullock's Store Planning office after ten years of working in the Downtown store in various capacities. The executive offices were located on the eighth and ninth floors of the Hill Street Building. Terry Lungren was a young executive there. It was a time of rapid growth and not enough office space in the two executive floors. One would step off the elevator through a lobby and into a corridor leading to the Planning Office. Terry Lundgren sat in one of two desks that faced each other in this corridor. This was a corridor you walked through prior to entering the glass doors to the reception area. Needless to say he has come a long way since then.
    Sitting at a desk facing another worker with no divider and electric typewriter and other equipment powered by extension chords coming through a door from a nearby stairwell. I did not know him personally but only by the nameplate on his desk. A nameplate visible to all who entered that corridor upon returning from a lunch break or a visit to the restrooms upstairs.

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  29. My mother Frances Loftus was hired by Bullocks Wilshire in l929 to completely outfit the kitchen of the tearoom. It was all done in stainless steel.very modern for its day. I have some of the typewritten recipes used in the tearoom and a copy of the tearoom floorplan. My mother and her partner Monnette Steel owned a cute little tearoom on 3rd at the time Bullocks Wilshire contacted her. They closed the tearoom. Monnette worked in the Irene salon. Once the tearoom was in operation, my mother lectured at USC on restruant management in l931. Growing up, my mother, Grandmother, aunts and cousins all were taken for lunch..wearing our finest. A great treat enjoyed by all.

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  30. I am a product of Bullocks Downtown L.A. My Mom Barbara Smith and Dad Eugene Winte both worked there from 1947-1952. Barbara was in the art dept,did table settings and windows display. Her work appeared in the Sunday Home magazine. Dad was an electrician. They were married in 1952. I appeared in 1953. So thank you Bullocks.

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  31. If anyone is interested I have a Facebook Group called "Bullock's Department Store Memories" that is an open group. It is an interesting group of people who have worked at Bullock's or BW or people who simpily have fond memories of Bullock's. There are great pictures of Bullock's in the earlier years. If you wish to share some of your experiences about Bullock's ask to join the group.

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  32. I purchased a set of vintage rainbow stem hot coffee / cold drink glasses. The original price sticker has a cost of $18 for each glass and the sticker shows Bullock's Wilshire store. The name of the glasses is: Lafayette Aqua Caliente Hot Coffee Glass. Does anyone have any knowledge of this.

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  33. pennylee54@yahoo.com07 November, 2013 13:15

    I received a mink stole from my aunts estate with the Bullocks label inside. It is beautiful and the workmanship is amazing! I'd love to find out more about the furs they sold and what mine is. Can any former employees help? pennylee54@yahoo.com

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  34. What a wonderful Store and Company to work for --- enjoyed every moment of my buying experience. I will never forget the trips to Europe with the Team! Marlene Liserani

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  35. Hello Anonymous04 August, 2013 13:36 -- I would like to join your Facebook Group called "Bullock's Department Store Memories" . I worked at the Bullocks Wilshire Palm Springs store in the 80's. I know I saved items from my time there, will have to hunt them down. Thank you! Patricia Cooper, Indio Calif.

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  36. Patricia Cooper just go to the Facebook Group "Bullock's Department Store Memories" and ask to be added.

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  37. My wife worked at BW in Fine China, Crystal, Stationery, and Gifts while she was attending Dental Hygiene school from '70 - '72. Loved every minute of it. Employees respected each other and referred to each other as Miss or Mrs. She really learned a lot about the fine things offered in this merchandise area and of course we acquired many with her Bullock's discount and the silver club! Periodically she would float to fine jewelry. Loved the instructions they received in case of a "smash and steal" robbery as they really were happening around that time in Los Angeles and particularly at Wilshire Blvd high end jewelers! Stand back and let them have at it - your life is not worth being a hero! was the word All in all it was very sad to see the Wilshire store close. End of an era

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  38. Does anyone know how to find out if an bullock's wilshire bolero jacket belonged to marilyn monroe?

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  39. What a lovely site. I was fortunate enough to be on a guided tour after the store had closed for the evening back in the early 80s. Living in London I had never heard of Bullocks and being there was like being transported back in time to fabulous 1930s Hollywood glamour. I wonder how it looks now? I do hope the zigzag moderne Art Deco is still intact. Thanks Bak!

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  40. My Mom,grandma & I loved going to lunch at the Tea Room in the Woodland Hills Bullocks . It always felt special.

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  41. This is a wonderful site. My mom, Mary Lee Robb, had her wedding registry at BW, that's how I happened on your site. I was born at Good Sam. While in college, I worked at I. Magnin BH, talk about memories... I was the youngest Asst (dept) Mgr in the chain, ever (or maybe they were just blowing smoke..) SF told me I had to make a decision, 'work or school.' I lasted 5 years part-time as I went to school to get my BS Business, but learned so many life-lessons while working (wow, got goose bumps as I wrote that.) I wish I could tell you my favorite customers AND my least. But I remember the Men's Night, we had it too. (Mrs. PBerman was so sweet & gracious, that's all I say, I was 18, who did I know, til I watched the movies!?)
    A Smith, CPA

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