I Magningreenspun.com : LUSENET : San Francisco History : One Thread
Does anybody remeber what I Magnin was like? Di you like shopping there. Where did it have stores? And how was the store laid out?
-- Mike Schaeffer (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 04, 2003
I Magnin was on par with Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus. I only shopped in their California stores where they were based in San Francisco (Union Square) also had stores in Los Angeles (Wilshire Bl) Beverly Hills (also on Wilshire about 4 miles away) Pasadena, Sherman Oaks, Costa Mesa, Santa Ana hmpf I guess they has alot of So Cal stores I could never recite all of them, they also had stores in Seattle WA Chicago IL. Shopping there was very chic and sophisticated their old stores was the most fun they were elegant Art Deco and moderne decors with lots of Lalique chandeliers and anitqe eglomise mirrored cabinets and bronze elevator doors. Their mall locations were unremarkable in decor but all stores had remarkable merchandise. The main focus was womens clothing but they also had mens, childrens and some gift items. Th store was founded by Mary Ann Magnin the first store founded by a woman in the late 19th century, the I in I Magnin was after her husband Isaac. Their is a book that is hard to find but VERY informative called I Magnin and Company a California Legacy by Devin Frick written in 2000. I think I paid $20 for it.
-- Jeff (email@example.com), November 05, 2003.
In NorCal, there were stores in Oakland, Sacramento, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Palo Alto, and Monterey, besides the flagship Union Sq store. Out-of-state locations included Seattle, Portland, White Flint (Wash DC), and 3 Chicago-area stores. Most of the stores were based on Art-Deco designs. IMag not only was the first chain headed by a woman, but it introduced Coco Chanel to the West Coast.
-- DT (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 25, 2003.
There was also a Phoenix store that I shopped at for many years...it closed in the early '90s....not really Art Deco, just 60's architecture
-- Tim Hultsman (email@example.com), December 08, 2003.
I can also add that I Magnin was purchased by Bullok's in the late 1040's. Bullocks kept the store seperate even under the Old Federated Department Store tenure. Once Macy's purchased Bullock's they folded the Bullock's Wilshire Stores into the I Magnin Stores and then closed that chain down. Don't forget that there was a J. Magnin department store chain that had the same roots as I Magnin.
-- Mitchell Kritzberg (mjkritz@Speakeasy.net), December 24, 2003.
THere's a great old line about I. Magnin - "It was so fancy, the bargain basement was on the 6th floor!"
-- Peter Moylan (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 19, 2004.
Does anyone know what year I Magnin closed for good? There's a lady on eBay selling clothing labled "I Magnum" she says. she also says it's an upscale department store - like it's still open. I'm curious when I Magnin closed. I'm not going to call her on her little scam but caveat emptor!
-- diane brazil (email@example.com), May 14, 2004.
This bio from Joan Bergholt, who used to work there, says I Magnin closed in 1995.
I've got tons of dresses that have the I Magnin label, but I don't think it raises the price. Now, a Nordstrom-Best label, because of its rarity, would fetch a good price. I never wore out anything I bought at either store.
As for J Magnin ...... bear in mind you are dealing with a disgruntled consumer here .... J Magnin basically sold clothes that shrunk in the wash or came apart shortly thereafter. Not to mention went out of style with alarming speed. I kept checking it out, hoping things would improve, but it never did. I hardly noticed when it disappeared.
I wish I had taken pictures of I Magnin. There were building features that were so luxurious and so beautiful and functional that it was a joy to be inside of. Remember the ladies' room? Some older stores still have full length stall walls, but I Magnin's were marble, including the floor. There were regular room doors on them, too. It was like being in your own little private house. All the woodwork was painted like whipped cream. Lovely stuff.
-- Rosa (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 15, 2004.
They had the most wonderful shoe department and the cosmetic floor was the best. The ladies room was the most beautiful on the square.
-- janet tanaka (email@example.com), May 27, 2004.
The splendor and elegance that was I. Magnin, the West's premier retail house. This beautifully designed certificate captures the history, glamour and excitement of one of America's most outstanding and prestigious business institutions.
I. Magnin's magnificent emporiums were designed by some of the country's most accomplished architects. The Magnin family and their architects catered to their customer's desires and provided exquisite surroundings in which to shop. The Magnin stores were the most sophisticated in the country, displaying the finest in original art and fixtures.
These opulent showplaces were built at the pinnacle of the Art Deco and Modernist design movements by the same designers responsible for the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles and the Paramount Theater in Oakland.
The saga of this family-operated company spans over 120 years. From a humble beginning in San Francisco, the store expanded over the decades stretching along the entire West Coast.
The store sped ahead of its competition by signing exclusive deals with design talent, providing unsurpassed customer service and displaying the very best in fashion. Interviews with long-time store patrons and employees rekindle the memories that made I. Magnin a special place.
From the 1900's on through the height of Hollywood's golden motion picture era, I. Magnin attracted the most glamourous actresses of the day. Bette Davis, Esther Williams, Greta Garbo, Greer Garson and the Andrews Sisters among others would commonly be seen browsing in the store's salons or entering a private fitting room.
From Mary Ann Magnin's hand sewn baby layettes and bridal gowns to fine European coutourier designs, I. Magnin always offered quality. And as such the store was the first to obtain and procure exclusives for their customers. The store was the leader in the western United States in introducing or promoting such outstanding creative design talent as Christian Dior, Jacques Fath, Pierre Balmain as well as domestic designers including Norman Norell, and Cecil Chapman.
The information on I. Magnin was provided by Patricia Frick at http://home.pacbell.net/pefka/ where you can buy a book on the complete company history.
-- anon (firstname.lastname@example.org), June 09, 2004.
I get a “page cannot be displayed” message from that URL, so I did some searching in the bookstores.
Here’s the correct title and printing info: Devin Thomas Frick (2000). I. Magnin & Co.: A California Legacy. (Garden Grove, CA: Park Place Press, 117 p.). I. Magnin & Co.--History; Department stores-- California--History. ISBN: 0966349318
Amazon’s listing page shows the book is not currently available (“but check back occasionally”): http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0966349318/1929stockmark- 20/102-0001929-7403303
Barnes & Noble doesn’t have it, even in the Used/Out of Print section.
This is going to be hard to find. If you see a copy anywhere, GRAB IT.
And if anyone does find a copy, I want it.
-- Rosa (email@example.com), June 14, 2004.
I have searched and found I Magnin dresses selling on line for around 200 dollars. Just do a search on I Magnin dresses. I can't find any photos of the old stores on any online information sites about them.
-- Laurel Davies (firstname.lastname@example.org), June 19, 2004.
I still can't believe I. Magnin's went out of business. The women's bathroom was beautiful; there was a room with dressing tables/gilt mirrors where you could sit and comb your hair; the toilet/sink area was a separate room and had beautiful black (and white?) patterned marble floors; the sinks not only had soap dispensers, but also lotion dispensers which were filled with the moisterizer they wold under the store label in the cosmetics department. The doors to each toilet cubicle were floor to ceiling and the entire room was mirrored, so you couldn't really even tell where the individual toilet stalls were - there were little knobs/dials that indicated 'vacant' vs. 'occupied'. So civilized and pristine (clean). The cosmetics department was beautiful; the clerks were all so sophisticated and polished. When you made a purchase, the clerk would take your cash or "charge plate", and place it in a tube with the sales receipt and "WHOOSH" send it off to the accounting department; your change would be returned within a few minutes - similiar to the drive through banks ...can't think what that system is called. A beautiful store; beautiful memories.
-- C. Arnese (email@example.com), June 27, 2004.
I worked at the I.Magnin store on Wilshire and Vermont in the early 70's .. It was a beautiful store. I worked as the receving mgr, and enjoyed every minute. I'm also looking for the book California legacy. The doorman's name was A. B Washington, Iworked many a fashion show there also.. the bridal dept was run by a lady by the name of Miss Estella. she made beautiful dresses, In the couture dept the manager name was Westie. All the people were dressed to the nine's to work.. the employe lunch room was on the top floor where you could walk out onto the roof to eat.. I also was in the Bullock's wilshire store just down the block.. Please e-mail me with your memories....
-- martin ortega (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 04, 2004.
Personally, I'm glad to see that I. Magnin is history. With all the poverty and suffering going on in the U.S., This store was nothing more than a blatant, slap-in-the-face symbol of conspicuous consumption.
-- Christine Vanoff (email@example.com), July 08, 2004.
I. Magnin was a wonderful store and I still wear clothing purchased in their men's department. Their merchandise was unique to I. Magnin and could not usually be found anywhere else. I have shopped at their stores both in Seattle and California but the Union Square "mother" store was the best although the Seattle store had similar architecture on the exterior. The Seattle store was downgraded to an undignified Old Navy store--what a drop in class and beauty. I had a friend who was the advertising art director in San Fransciso for several years. Although the stores closed several years ago, I still wish they were around for their special shopping experience before they were taken over by Federated and homogenized into corporate blandness.
-- Larry Henderson (MarineArt@aol.com), July 28, 2004.
I just realized I've still got two I Magnin label cashmere dresses in my closet, along with an "Adolph Schumann for I Magnin" suit -- classic cut in a machine washable ultrasuede -- that's going on 20 years old and still in beautiful shape. The cashmeres were long- sleeved, cowl-necked sweater dresses I got there in 1977, had the store shorten from floor length to mid-calf and wore nearly every day during the winter. They still look gorgeous.
Magnin's dresses were also a good investment: I sold a third cashmere dress for rent money in 1988. I can't think of anything I bought at I Magnin that actually wore out. If it's gone from my closet, it was given away or sold.
I think what made I Magnin so wonderful, aside from the way it was built and run, was a sense of trust in their taste and the quality of their merchandise.
-- Rosa (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 30, 2004.
I'm documenting photographs of an I. Magnin store in Santa Clara as part of my work at the Canadian Centre for Architecture. This store was deigned by the Welton Becket and Associates architecural firm and completed in 1964. The photos were taken (by Marvin Rand) at about the same time and show exterior and interior views. The interior is really interesting: stunning early '60s "cosmopolitan opulence", with chandeliers, marble floors, lots of glass and mirrors to reflect the lights, and a mural painted above the display cases showing an idyllic Italian Alps kind of scene. The photo looks as though it might have been taken moments before the grand opening, though I don't know if that was the case. The products - purses, jewellery and a Chanel jacket - are just waitng for customers. Check out other photos by Rand (on the internet and elsewhere) that document commercial and business architectural exteriors and interiors. Also check out the many, many buildings of Welton Becket and Associates, once (if not now) the largest architectural firm in the world - and responsible for shopping malls, insurance company towers, LA Airport, stadiums, houses of the rich and famous (and, I notice, a restaurant called "the Scotch and Sirloin", oh the '60s!). They largely created the look of corporate/commercial USA from the '50s to the '70s. Ciao!
-- Colin MacWhirter (email@example.com), July 30, 2004.
Colin, if you ever get this published, let us know where and how we can get copies. Thanks!
-- Rosa (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 03, 2004.
I can comment on I. Magnin stores in Chicago, particularly the beautiful flagship store on Michigan Avenue. Located on the "Magnificent Mile", I. Magnin shared the stylish avenue with now defunct Bonwit Teller, Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Marshall Fields, Lord & Taylor, Bloomingdale's, and many other fine stores. Of all these stores, I. Magnin set itself apart from all the others with its unique merchandise offerings, beautiful interior, stylish boutiques, high quality standards, and outstanding customer service. It was always a pleasure to shop at I. Magnin because the store was unlike any other. Even their fashion catalogues, which arrived frequently in the mail, were distinctive and a pleasure to look at. Chicago photographer, Victor Skrebneski, was the I. Magnin fashion photographer who lent a unique style to their catalogues and print advertising for many years. It's been many years since the closing of I. Magnin, and the stores have been replaced by a lot of "cookie cutter" retailers. On Michigan Avenue, the store was subdivided, and now houses a Super Borders Bookstore, Victoria's Secret, H&M and Filene's Basement. In Northbrook Court Shopping Mall, the I. Magnin store was replaced by a multiple-screen movie theater.
-- Mike Ox (email@example.com), October 20, 2004.
I remember I. Magnin fondly. Growing up in Fresno, Ca. in the 60's & 70's, we made frequent trips to the local I. Magnin. Yes, Fresno also had an I. Magnin. It was in the downtown area as opposed to one of the regional malls but like all things I. Magnin, it was set apart from all the other Department and Specialty stores. Although our I. Magnin was smaller than the flagship San Francisco store, it carried representative lines from all the major houses. Chanel, Louis Vuitton etc, etc. Although the main focus was women's clothing, the store carried gift items, cosmetics, accessories, men's wear shoes and so on. Our store like many favored the Art- Deco design. Lalique chandeliers hung proudly over marble floors throughout the store. The closure of I. Magnin was a sad day for Fresno. The building became a corporate office for B of A and is currently a museum. As I drive past the building today, I am reminded of the days of its grandure and elegance.
-- KT Goo (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 05, 2004.
My Grandfather Sam Magnin ran the store when my Father was a boy in the 1920 1930 and 1940. It was the Nordstroms of its time. I remeber my Father telling me stories of how all my realatives ran the store. What arich tradition it had.
-- David Magnin (email@example.com), November 27, 2004.
When my grandmother-in-law passed away a few years ago, I "inherited" one of her coats by default...I was the only one in the family who could fit into it. It had an "i.magnin" label sewn into the lining. Since it was some sort of (faux?) fur and I live in Louisiana, I promptly hung it in the spare closet never expecting to have the opportunity to wear it.
I'm planning my first trip to New York this weekend - quite an exciting time for a young artist - and I thought to drag out the old coat and take it along. After closer inspection, I noticed the flawless craftsmanship of the piece. It is impeccable. I took it to the local fur shop and was told by the owner that it is a sheared beaver and is in absolutely perfect condition. After a bit of research, I found that it is a circa-1940's/1950's fur, and is quite the classic. It's a beautiful swing coat, dark brown, with huge brown shiny buttons down the front...it is beautiful!
Granny June lived her whole life in Indio, California. I wonder if she ever got to wear it? Where she bought it? Was it a gift from her husband? It was always special to me...just never had the chance to wear it in our 100+ degree weather. Now that I've learned more about the history of the I.Magnin stores with their rich art-deco designs and historical significance, the coat will live a better life. Perhaps in cold storage, come March...
-- Debbie Buchanan Engle (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 08, 2004.
My wife was given a full length mink coat by my Aunt some 25 years ago. It was from I Magnin, a Fabiani, with my aunts name in it. It is truly a masterpiece. I recall shopping with her at the I Magnin on Wilshire in the 60's. It was a fine place.
-- Jack KArle- DeBary, FL (email@example.com), January 16, 2005.
I Magnin was wonderful. The downtown Chicago store was the best you could find. I was just going through old charge cards, cutting up any unnecessary ones, and came across my "i.magnin" What a shame there are no current large stores that come any where near the quality that I Magnin had. I believe that Troy, Michigan - the old Sommerset Mall used to have an I Magnin also.
-- lynn stephenson (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 21, 2005.
It's my opinion that Macy's ruined both I.Magnin and Bullock's when they purchased them during the Campeau/Federated debaucle. This triggered a bankruptcy and later closing of many stores. Of course, it can be argued that Federated's purchase of Macy's in the mid-90's ruined Macy's, and the closing of I. Magnin was a result of that buyout. Frankly, department stores no longer capture the imagination as they once did.
-- A Dept Store Fan (email@example.com), January 22, 2005.
As a former employee of Bullocks Wilshire during the last 5 years of business ( they closed in 1993), I can only say that the merger of the I. Magnin chain with BW horrified our patrons(BW speak for customers). BW patrons saw themselves as a rarified breed of shopper, and rarely if ever shopped I. Magnin, which was considered flashier than BW. I loved IM, and visited the Union Square store whenever I could. If you want to see IM Union Sq., rent "Portrait in Black" with Lana Turner from 1960. Lana enters the store's cosmetics floor and walks hastily through exiting another side door. It will give you a feeling of how beautiful the Magnin stores were....not as fabulous as BW, but beautiful none the less.
-- anon (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 24, 2005.
My first encounter with i.magnin apparel was a beautiful searsucker robe from a deceased aunt with the classy label inside. From then on I was in love with the quality and classic clothes from the store in Seattle. I remember their ad in the newspaper- always depicting a beautiful woman in something wonderful and it was hand drawn by the same artist each week. The store ( now an Old Navy) was beautiful as was the interior. I still have a few ( cashmere) items from there that I still wear. Yesterday I was shocked to see some nightwear at the Bon- Macy's with the familiar lable! I do think I will have to go back there and purchace some, just to feel like old times!
-- wendy carlson (email@example.com), February 05, 2005.
I have a little story to add & I'm wondering if anyone else can recall any special promotions that I. Magnin's ran.
Last year, my mother gave me a ring & as she did so she told me the story of how she had came by it. Seems that when she and my father were dating back in 1967 (or maybe 1968?) they happened to pop into the I. Magnin's located at Union Square. In the store was an oyster tank. My father picked two oysters out of the tank and lo and behold in each was a real pearl! My Mum then picked out a gold ring setting into which the pearls were set. I'm not sure as to the monetary value of this ring, but to me it's priceless, as was the experience Mum & Dad had acquiring it.
-- patty (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 09, 2005.
This is awful & as a 1st time poster too! Just got of the line w/my Mum.
Apparently, the ring wasn't made up at I.Magnin's afterall!! Mum tells me she & Dad got the ring at a place called "Japan Land" or "Japan World" off of Geary St.
Sorry for any confusion I may have caused:)
-- patty (email@example.com), February 09, 2005.
I went to the san francisco I. Magnin store with my grandmother as a little girl in the 80's. I remember the dark marble bathroom. the door of each stall was concealled, covered in dark marble like the walls. It was very mysterious. I now live in the city and the I.Magnin building is now a part of Macy's. I was fortunate to stumble across the bathroom again while shopping at Macy's. Still very mysterious.....
-- abby wittman (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 10, 2005.
I went to work at I. Magnin in Palm Springs California in 1988. I was counter manager for La Prarie and Clinique cosmetics. The store was the newest building in the chain. it opened in 1985 and replaced a rather tired shop worn 1960's building. The new location was very modern done in soft pastel pinks and mint greens, every morning we would hear the xylaphone chimes (like in Grease at Rydel High School) saying "Good Morning Staff I. Magnin is open for business, have a good day". The store had a glass sky light over the escalators that brought beautiful natural light into the store. This was the time the store was bought by RH Macy's, shortly the Bullocks Wilshire a block down the street became an I. Magnin store as did the Palm Desert BW. The Palm Springs I. Magnin store closed in 1992 the building has sat empty ever since. I'am thankful that I got to visit the Los Angeles I. Magnin on Wilshire near Vermont. It was such an elegant store, the rear of the building had beautiful pruned hedges with a circular drive way and wrought iron gates. It seems there was a elegant dog grooming salon either there or a block away at BW. The upper floors had designer rooms with platforms for the models to walk out on and show the outfits, and elegant seating for the customers, lovely drapes hanging in the windows, the elegant Chandeliers, the marbel facade of the building, it was suppose to be the very first airconditioned store in the chain. The Beverly Hills store was much smaller but very elegant as well, its now Saks Fifth Avenues mens store as its across the street from the original store. South Coast Plaza had a very nice modern store, there was certainly a special feeling when you entered an I. Magnin & Co. store. I do have the I. Magnin book mentioned by others, its a great book! I also have a great book on Bullocks Wilshire, which also had an elegant store full of glamore and history. They had a nice modern store in Palm Desert that use to be Bonwit Teller, its now Macy's mens store (go figure). I was sorry to see Bullock's Dept store taken over by Macy's they are doing that here in Seattle with the Bon Marche. The former Seattle I. Magnin still has the Marble Facade and looks like a mini San Francisco store, its Old Navy now. There is a great artists rendering of the I. Magnin in Oakland that has been refurbished, you can find it in a google search. Its offices now, nice emerald green drawing of the store.
-- Patrick (Patrickhom@juno.com), February 12, 2005.
There were Magnin family members who opened their own stores, Joseph Magnin's was based in San Francisco and had branch stores in Los Angeles at Century City, and Palm Springs that I know of, they were trendy smaller boutique type stores, and Jerry Magnin in Beverly Hills was a mens store. Remember the jewelry stores located in I. Magnin's Layken et cie (or something like that). I remember La Jolla had a cute two story doll house of an I. Magnin & Co, as did Pasadena next door to the very large elegant Bullock's Department store. The Bullock's built in the late 40's early 50's had a cute little barber shop for boys in the boys department and a treasure map painted on the ceiling and little port holes with clothes displayed in them, the cosmetic department and shoe department were something else with the wall paper and design matching drapes. Elegant restaurant with white linen table clothes, cyrstal Chandelier. Now that Macy's has it I wonder what has become of the interior, the last I saw it was in the late 1980's. It appears the shopping experience of elegance and service are a thing of the past, unless you are ultra rich and can make an appoinment. Even Saks Fifth Avenue has gone shabby chic trying to go for a younger customer, sales associates no longer need to wear dress shirts and ties!. I remember in the 1980's their was a big up roar over I. Magnin trying to get rid of some of the older sales associates to bring in a younger sales team. It seems once people came to work at I. Magnin they were there for the long haul with full dedication. I'am glad the older women stayed, they helped tell the story for us younger associates.
-- Patrick (Patrickhom@juno.com), February 13, 2005.
It's about time people start talking about I. Magnin. I miss all those elegant stores that made shopping luxurious. Bonwit Teller, Joseph Magnin, Best & Co., Peck & Peck. I remember going into the Joseph Magnin store in Denver for the very first time in 1977 and actually being scared to enter the Gucci Boutique because I thought it was just too outer limits for me. I also felt the same way when I went to I. Magnin's in Palm Springs and Chicago, but by then I had a little bit more cash in my wallet and could afford to buy something. I remember the I.Magnin's in Palm Springs had pneumatic pipes to suck up the money to a central cashier and then spit out the change back at the counter. Too cool.
-- John D (email@example.com), February 18, 2005.
I found out that I. Magnin & CO. had the following locations and the year established: Some of the early locations were little boutique stores in the finest hotels. 1876 San Francisco (Luxury store on Union Square opened 1948), 1893 Los Angeles (new luxury store opened in 1939), 1912 Santa Barbra, 1913 Pasadena (1949 building is now Borders Books), 1926 Seattle (1955 store now Old Navy), 1928 Oakland, 1932 Palm Springs, 1943 Beverly Hills(now Saks mens store), 1954 La Jolla, 1956 Palo Alto(now Macy's mens), 1960 Carmel, 1962 Sherman Oaks, 1962 Portland (now Nike town), 1963 Phoenix, 1964 Santa Clara, 1965 San Mateo, 1967 Walnut Creek, 1967 Del Almo, 1971 Chicago, 1976 Vallco Fashion Park, 1977 South Coast Plaza (Macy's mens store), 1978 White Flint, 1979 Northbrook, 1 Ill, 1981 Oakbrook, 1984 Sacramento (Bank of America). BULLOCKS WILSHIRE had 7 California stores that became I. Magnin in 1990 located in Los Angeles, Palm Springs, Woodland Hills, Newport Beach, LaJolla, Palos Verdes, and Palm Desert
-- Patrick (Patrickhom@juno.com), February 25, 2005.
Iremember both the Oakland and S.F. I. Magnin stores very well, but especially the one in S.F., since I worked in the city from 1974- 1977. Both stores were lovely and just browsing in them was a delight. What I remember most about I. Magnin's things is that they were not only stylish, they simply never wore out. I had a beautiful light blue, lightweight flannel nightgown that must have lasted 10 or 12 years. I loved that nightgown! I also remember the Chicago store, but it didn't seem quite as nice as the California stores.
-- Karen (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 02, 2005.
I just read with interest the chronology of I. Magnin store openings around the country by city and year. Does anyone know the chronology of Saks Fifth Avenue store openings around the country by city and year? I've search in several places and come up with nothing.
-- Mike (email@example.com), March 03, 2005.
Having worked for Saks Fifth Avenue as well as I. Magnin & CO., it seems to be that the very first branch store of Saks Fifth Avenue opened in Palm Beach Florida in the 1920's as a resort store. The very first Saks in New York became Gimbels Department Store across from Macy's, when Saks moved to Fifth Avenue in the 1920's. Andrew Saks was the nephew of Adam Gimbel. The very first Saks branch store opened in 1926 Palm Beach,Florida as a resort store, followed by Southhampton resort store in 1928. The first year round Saks store was Chicago in 1929 followed by Miami Beach, followed by Beverly Hills, California in 1938. In addition to these two major stores Saks opened a sportswear store in Greenwich, Conn. By the end of the 1930's SFA had a total of 10 stores, including resort locations such as Sun Valley, Mount Stowe and Newport. Detroit in 1940, Pittsburgh 1949, San Francisco 1952. Begining in 1963 west coast stores grew with Phoenix AZ, Palo Alto, Palm Springs(resort store), Monterey and La Jolla California. Chevy Chase MD in 1963, Troy Michigan 1967, replacement of Philadelphia store with Bala Cynwyd store in 1969. The information was found in old SFA employee newspapers, that is all I have with actual dates, I know that Cincinnati was the 39th SFA store that opened in 1984 as did New Orleans, Portland Oregon opened in 1985, as well as Denver and the Palm Springs replacement store. Hope this helps some. I hear Saks is planning new locations out of the country in Tokoyo and Kuwait (go figure!)
-- Patrick (Patrickhom@juno.com), March 03, 2005.
i feel proud to say that, as a fifth generation san franciscan, it was my great-, great grandmother who started i.magnin. she named it after her husband isaac magnin. my great grandfather started joseph magnin where his children and grandchildren worked. i remember "working" at joseph magnin as a young girl, tossing jewelry into indididual boxes, which represented indivudaul stores. then there were the carnival rides and christmas decorations at joseph magnin in stonestown.
i remember i. magnin, but it was jospeh magnin that was really magical.
-- ann magnin (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 10, 2005.
Gary, thanks for sharing that great story! Regarding "I. Magnin & C0 A California Legacy" book you might try contacting the publishing house PARK PLACE PRESS in Garden Grove, Ca (714)590-1711. I found my copy on eBay brand new 5 years ago. Or you might try www.abebooks.com for a used copy. Its a nice book, it seems to have more pictures of the beautiful large Los Angeles store and the glamour of the old Hollywood days that the store catered so well to. Very well done book, with old ads, and pictures of the branch stores. The book ad reads: Rediscover the splendor and elegance that was I. Magnin, the West's premier retail house. This beautifully designed book captures in precise detail the history, glamour and excitement of one of Americas most outstanding and prestigious business institutions. Both the San Francisco and Los Angeles locations magnificent architectural exteriors and interiors are vividly displayed among over 100 archival photographs and images. Interviews with famous patrons and store personnel reveals the special side of I. Magnins long standing commitment to their customers. A must for those interested in retail, architecture, art deco design, California history and vintage fashion. The elegant Los Angeles store (not the Beverly Hills store) was closed in the early 90's and was used briefly as the headquarters for Bullock's Department stores, and the buyers offices until Macy's changed everything. The neighborhood has grown into what is now Korea Town and the beautiful white marbel Hollywood glamour store is now been broken up into a korean mall complete with sports/kareoke bar! The store had such an elegant rear entrance with the tall wrought iron gates and perfectly pruned hedges, a circular drive way with a canopy, which added to the elegant I. Magnin experience.
-- Patrick (Patrickhom@juno.com), March 12, 2005.