The Harris Company, San Bernardino, California

Founded in 1905, The Harris Company moved to a beautiful new
building embellished with churrigueresque ornament
in autumn of 1927

The store was a shopping destination in the so-called "Inland Empire;"
its mezzanine-level Cafe Madrid became famous for its gourmet
food served in an entrancingly beautiful environment.

In 1973, Harris' expanded and formed an anchor of a downtown mall,
though the the building's windows were blocked-up and the famous
mezzanine was removed,
(The directory below reflects the store layout prior to 1972)

Harris' Has It!

The Harris Company (1905)
300 N. 'E' Street
San Bernardino, California

TUrner 9-0444

Lower Level
Harris' Budget Store

Street Floor
Fine Jewelry • Silverware • Fine Silver • Costume Jewelry • Handbags • Gloves • Dress Accessories • Neckwear • Hat Bar • Hosiery • Cosmetics • Notions • Street Floor Sportswear • Campus Deb Sportswear • Women's Shoes • Luggage • Cameras • Stationery • Luncheonette
Men's Store Men's Gift SHop • Men's Furnishings • Men's Sport Furnishings • Men's Sportswear • Varsity Shop • Men's Shoes • Men's Clothing • University Club • Boys' Furnishings • Sporting Goods

Book Shop • Record Shop • Candies • Service Desk • Beauty Salon • Optical • Hearing Aids • Photo Studio • Fabrics • Art Needlework • White Sewing Center • Cafe Madrid

Second Floor
Sportswear • Dresses • Coats • Suits • Popular Dresses • Pin Money Shop • Dress Collection • Formals • Showcase • Fashion Plus • Custom Casuals • Individualist • Young Sophisticates • Designers' Room • Fur Salon • Bridal Salon • Millinery • Lingerie • Foundations • Maternity Shop • Uniforms • Hi-Teen Shop
Ideal Juniors Junior Dresses • Junior Sportswear • Junior Coats • Junior Suits

Third Floor
Bedding • Domestics • Curtains • Draperies • Lamps • Furniture Studio • Dinnerware • China • Glassware • Giftware • Flowers • Housewares • Small Electrics
Children's World Little Girls' Shop • Girls' Shop • Little Gents' Shop • Toddlers' Wear • Infants' Wear • Children's Shoes

Fourth Floor
Wonderful World of Toys and Games • Auditorium • Personnel • Executive Offices

South Building 226 N.  'E' Street
Home Furnishings Center • Furniture Store • Carpetings • Rugs • Appliances • Hoover Appliances • Home Planning Center • TV Repair • Records

(259,000 s.f.)

State Street
39,000 s.f.

Riveside Plaza
Sept. 30, 1957
208,000 s.f.
The Alessandro Room

Indio Fashion Center
February 24, 1975
60,000 s.f.

Redlands Mall
60,000 s.f.

Coming in Due Course


  1. Don't forget the store that was in Indio Ca, near Palm Springs. Also there are still Harris family members in the area if you need history and information.

  2. The Harris Company was a retail corporation, based in San Bernardino, California, that operated a chain of department stores named Harris', all in Southern California. Philip, Arthur, and Herman Harris started the company with a small dry goods store in 1905, and the company eventually grew to nine large department stores, with stores in San Bernardino, Riverside, and Kern Counties.[1]

    The chain was acquired by Fresno, California-based Gottschalks in 1998.[2] After the acquisition some of the stores continued to operate under the name Harris Gottschalks. In January, 2009, Gottschalks filed for bankruptcy, and on March 31 announced they were liquidating all stores. All of the original Harris stores that were still operating, were finally closed in July, 2009.

    The Harris Company first opened in 1905. The flagship store was rebuilt at the corner of Third Street and E Street in 1927. The company made its first big expansion when it built a large anchor store at the new Riverside Plaza shopping center in 1957, the first large non-downtown shopping destination in the region. Expansion continued during the 1960s and '70s, and the company was able to hold its own against competitors, such as the Los Angeles-based The Broadway and Robinson's chain stores, by concentrating on the tastes and needs of local customers, and by building a reputation for offering high quality merchandise.

    In 1981, Spanish retailer El Corte Inglés, S.A. acquired the Harris Company and its nine stores which included Bakersfield, Hemet, Indio, Moreno Valley, Palmdale, Redlands, Riverside, San Bernardino and Victorville. In 1997, the Harris Company invested $27 million to update its nine-store chain.

    The Harris Company was acquired by Gottschalks in 1998, and the stores were initially renamed Harris-Gottschalks. Most of the original Harris stores eventually dropped the name Harris, except the Indio and Bakersfield locations, which continued to operate under the Harris-Gottschalks name. The original store in downtown San Bernardino was closed on January 31, 1999.

    On January 14, 2009, Gottschalks filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.[3] In March 2009, Gottschalks announced that it had lined up a group of bidders to liquidate the chain, if a buyer was not found by March 30.[4] On March 31, Gottschalks announced it would liquidate its remaining stores,[5] and on July 12, 2009 all of the Gottschalks stores were closed.

  3. The Redlands Fashion Mall store was a relocation from their original store in that city. The other stores they operated were in Hemet @ Hemet Valley Mall (1980), Victorville @ The Mall of Victor Valley (1986), Bakersfield @ East Hills Mall (1990), Palmdale @ Antelope Valley Mall (1990), and Moreno Valley @ Moreno Valley Mall at TownGate (1992).

    Would love to see an exhibit on Gottschalks very soon! Let me know if you need my help on historic research!

  4. Memories! I did a fashion show at the Redlands Harris' in 1978. I will always Remember how glamorous the Harris' on E St. was.

  5. Growing up in The Central Valley of Ca, I remember traveling to Bakerdfield where they had a Harris-Gottchalks, it was a beautiful store in the East Hills Mall in East Bakersfield. I always enjoyed walking through the store and enjoyed so much the merchandse, and customer service. The building is still around, however it's fallen on hard times over the years, and has been completely unkempt. If you would like, I can take some photos of the building.

  6. I was born in the 53 and my grandparents work at the store , not sure what year they started. My grandpa worked the shoe dept and my grandma started with women ready to wear before she was moved to gift wrapping. My mom did bookkeeping. I work there in 1972 I was 18. It's was a family store. I am sorry it closes. I love the. Excavators . It was even a better store when it become the central city mall. Thank u Mr. Harris

  7. Wasn't there a Montclair store for a while? SusieQ

  8. Are there any photographs of their Christmas window displays?

  9. The famed Mezzanine didn't close in the 1973 remodel. The shops were replaced with offices and the Cafe Madrid remained open on the Mezzanine until 1998.

  10. I remember eating lunch in the coffee shop with my mother after swimming lessons at the nearby YWCA in 1953. The Harris Co. was always "class."

  11. I remember eating lunch in the coffee shop with my mother after swimming lessons at the nearby YWCA in 1953. Going to the Harris Co. was always special--the marble and the beautiful glass display cases. All gone in 2019.

  12. I would love to see any pictures of the Christmas display in the windows of the San Bernardino store from 1958 thru 1960's. My mom worked at PacBell downtown, the late night shift, and as a treat after picking her up after work, we would drive by the window displays. Such a happy time for me and my brother.

    1. Yes. Same time period. Did you ever get to the 3rd Floor during Christmas? It was spetacularly glorious! ...and Santa was also there!

    2. My mom worked at Harris Co in the 50's.I modeled in fashion shows when I was a child. Easter and 2 weddings. Loved Cafe Madrid, and loved the Christmas windows. One year visiting Santa, I got a record of me talking to Santa. I was born in 1947, what a great childhood.

    3. My dad pac bell 1959 to 1987 and we shopped there. Alot

  13. Hi my name is Chelsea Freeman daughter of debralee freeman. My grandma Beatrice westman started her very own seamstress/sewing company which came to life operating right out of Gottschalks department store. It came to be known to customers purchasing clothing etc you could also have any merchandise altered/fixed through the gift wrap department then either sent to gift wrap for pick up or directly picked up by customer at her door window. Eventually later my mother would take over or inherit the sewing company. As a child I can remember so many times going to work with my mom and often me and my brother both. It was so much fun playing hooky from school and going there with my mom in her sewing room which was located up the stairs from the employees coffee/lunch cafe I'll always remember in that cafe area was the best hot chocolate dispenser ever and not to mention the whole department just felt cozy all around. I'll never forget the times and memories with my momma sewing away behind the scenes of harris gottschalks department store. I love you momma and daddo gave me and Randy the best childhood and memories anyone could ever ask or hope for. Wouldn't want it to have been any other way except to last forever and ever.

  14. The wonderful Christmas windows and Santa's throne were breathtaking.

    1. They also had fashion shows. Sometimes they had shows and employees children were invited. I saw Bobby Vee.

  15. So my idea is to rebuild a similar Harris Co. that has the same style and class that the “E” St. store had inside and out; with a connecting Boutique hotel similar to the Hotel Casa 425 in Claremont, yet Grand and reminiscent of the Casa Loma hotel that once was in Redlands (where 3 presidents stayed). And build this at the location of the Redlands Mall which has been closed for “centuries”.... Both would compliment the Redlands architecture and history, bringing back the center of Redlands.... Who thinks this is a good or terrible idea? would love to year your comments.

  16. My memories of Harris' are mostly of the wonderful Redlands store throughout the 80s and 90s. It was a gem of a store. The little circle that held all the higher end clothing was my favorite part of the store. I never knew who the buyer was, but they had such a good eye. They clothes were absolutely gorgeous.

    We also went over to the San Bernardino store in Central City Mall quite often, which still had it's old opulence on the main floor, especially in the women's shoes area. I can remember accidentally getting off on the Mezzanine level several times and wondering where I was--it is interesting to learn here that there used to be a lovely restaurant there, although I saw no signs of it by the 80s.

    The joy of seeing well-curated clothing, accessories and shoes seems like a relic of the past. But Harris' was a stellar example of the form.

  17. I worked at the Redlands location for 3 years when I was a teenager back in the 80’s. Mostly I worked in the Home Store. Some really good times. Sad to know that it is gone.

  18. I loved this store. My mom worked there in the children's department in the 50's. I got to be in fashion shows, at the San Bernardino store. Christmas windows were magical. Had lunch on Saturdays at Cafe Madrid. Best tacos. This was the corner stone of San Bernardino shopping. Sad it had to close.

  19. From probably 1946 onward, I remember those wonderful animated Christmas windows. There would always be a group of people there in the evenings, watching the various parts of the displays, which stretched over many windows. And that was the real Santa Claus at Harris'! Those were just Santa's helpers at other stores! My oldest was 7 when we moved away (military) so she got to see those windows when they were still great. The others were 4 and two. We moved back in 1975, and headed for Harris in December. What a disappointment! The younger two thought we were nuts, but my oldest remembered how it used to be. One window, with holiday attire and a few decorations. That was all the current owners could manage. I don't think we bothered to see what they had done to Santa Claus. I knew it would not be the wonder I had experienced.

  20. Hi, I'm writing a memoir that includes growing up in Berdoo between 1945 and 1961. I didn't know it at the time but Harris was Jewish. I only knew of one Jewish Family and I never heard of a Jewish Temple in Berdoo. The one Jew I knew came from San Francisco, a newspaper man covering the mining activities of Borax...Anyone know if Harris was Jewish and where was their Temple? North Mt. View


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