Thursday, March 09, 2006

Gimbels Westchester

Yonkers, New York - 1950's

Here's a really cool shot of the Gimbels Westchester department store at the Cross County Shopping Center in the '50s. Beautiful shopping center, beautiful cars, and beautiful weather, for all the beautiful people to shop in. What more could you ask for? :)

Like the Winrock entry below, this mall's website is currently gone. But I know they're undertaking a huge renovation and expansion right now (yippie), so I'm sure they'll get an official site back up in the future.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember going to this Gimbels as a child. The store is huge with 3 floors and a basement.

When Gimbels closed in 1986 it was converted to a Stern's and finally a Macy's, which is still in operation.

John Wanamaker was the other anchor tenant for many years until the stores demise. Sears now occupies the old Wanamaker's store.

Unfortunatly, the mall itself has fallen into physical decline, but it is my understanding that a major renovation is scheduled to begin soon.

I think Cross County has great potential, which will be realized once the renovation is completed.

Thu Mar 09, 08:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gimbles had many mall-based stores here in their Wisconsin division. Hilldale, East Towne (Madison), Mayfair, Northridge, Southridge, Southgate, and Capitol Court (Milwaukee region). The flagship store was in downtown Milwaukee.

All were taken over by Marshall Fields in 1986, though some changes occurred soon after for some stores;

- North and Southridge were converted to H.C. Prange. For Wisconsin, Marshall Field is considered 'high end' since we don't have the likes of Bloomies or Nordstrom around here. North and Southridge are 'not' quite high-end malls,..they never were, so Field's sold these off to Prange.

- To enter the Madison market, Boston Store took the East Towne store...never remodeled at all from it's 1971 appearance, and built out a new store with a mall addition, giving West Towne a fourth anchor two years later. Both are now gone, replaced by mall expansions anchored by Dicks Sporting Goods. Boston Store also took up the former Gimbles at Mayfair Mall, since Mayfair already had a Field's location

- Capitol Court and Southgate just simply closed shop with nothing replacing them, since by the late 1980s, these malls were in sharp decline.

- Appleton's location, which became Marshall Field, closed down when then-parent company, Target Corp (then Dayton Hudson Corp.) decided to open a store with their Dayton's nameplate at Fox River Mall, forcing the former Gimbles/Fields' to shut. It later became Herbergers (1994), then Younkers (w/ Sak's buyout of the Northern Group, recently sold to Bon Ton), and is now office space.

Of course, none of these locations looked as great as the location pictured. The only suburban location that lokos real old exterior-wise is the Mayfair store I mentioned. Next would have been East Towne, which is gone now. The Milwaukee downtown store was Marshall Fields until 1997, but this closed, and is now home to Borders, offices, other retail, and the upper floors are residential units.

Fri Mar 10, 01:10:00 AM  
Blogger Keith said...

Outstanding notes, guys! Thanks for taking the time to share.

Fri Mar 10, 04:26:00 PM  
Blogger czeltic girl said...

I just stumbled on my dad's old Gimbel's credit card the other day. He must have given it to me for something when they were closing up. I remember running up a nice tab on it at the downtown Milwaukee store.

I keep meaning to upload a larger version of this, but if you look carefully in this photo, you can see a "reflection" of the Gimbels logo from the downtown store. (The building in the photo is across the street & 1/2 a block up from where the store was.) The mural was painted just after Gimbels closed, but before Fields took over the space.

I suspect most people completely miss it when they walk by, but it's one of my favorite little touches downtown.

Fri Mar 10, 05:18:00 PM  
Blogger Keith said...

Pretty dang cool, Czeltic Girl! Good eye! I pay attention to stuff like that, too. :) Thanks for the pic link!

Sun Mar 12, 12:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Greetings from an old Gimbel's - Midwest Department Manager and Acting Store Manager, Also C.A.R.E
coordinator(Customers are really everything.

My name is Jan and I worked for Gimbels at Southridge and Mayfair
after my initial training downtown
Milwaukee. (1975 - 1983)

The people who worked at Southridge
were all wonderfull and very hard working. I will never forget the 7
years I spent there in charge of various departments.

I remember setting up 42 folding tables in the Men's department for
the Birthday Sale. Taking orders for "Gold toe socks".
Also,Store Manager - Mr. Tony Causatis making all the
managers sing Christmas Carols to all the employees during very early store recovery time.
I remeber the old telephone switchboard with the pull out plugs
in the office. I remeber shutting down the store computer at night,
setting alarms and hoping all went well. I remember very old registers and the first computer models. They crashed during a major sale and Mr.C. had us all hand write transactions and ring them up later. He sent a salesperson down to the candy department and get a huge basket of candy and pass it out to all the customers throughout the store,
so they wouldn't get upset.

I remember when Kohl's had only three locations and the one at
Southridge was on two levels and it
didn't have an elevator.

I remeber Boston Store as our main competitor and taking traffic counts at their store and ours a few times a day during big sale days to compare.

I remember wonderful hard cardboard
red gift boxes at Christmas and then switching to the folder type and having customers comlain.

I remember selling "Pet rocks",
Men's polyester leasure suits,
baby car seats (newly invented item) etc.

I remember the fear of having the
buying staff come in with the Divional heads.

I remember getting 4 awards for
Merchant of the Month, finally topping Mayfair!

I remember Mr.Cofar very fondly,
He was store manager prior to Mr. C.

Most of all I miss the caring
employees that worked together
as a family.

Thanks for this trip down "Memory Lane". Jan Lillie, Brookfield, Wi.

Fri Jun 09, 11:51:00 PM  
Blogger RobizJaded said...

With the mention of Gimbels in the Wisconsin Division, no one has mentioned Gimbels Store that was in Cudahy.

Mon Jul 31, 12:57:00 PM  
Blogger buff said...

Or the Shuster's store in South Side Milwaukee. Don't forget their Pittsburgh division stores as well.
Gimbels sold great stuff at fair prices with all the service and style that Scummart can never duplicate. Consumers have definitely gone down a notch or two since Gimbels was drowned and then closed by BATUS. I wonder what Mr. Gimbel would say about the Macyfication of the American Department store today.

Thu Sep 14, 10:18:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looking at the postcard, what everyone is seeing is the South entrance and the west entrance to Gimbel's. The building looked like this all the way until Stern's came in, and even then wasnt renovated until the early 90's. Gimbel's and Wanamaker's were the places to shop in Yonkers, unless you went to NYC, into Eastchester for Lord & Taylor's and Bonwit Teller (Only L&T remains, Bonwits is now a Gap and Banana Republic), or into White Plains for Macy's, Saks, Bloomingdales, Neiman Marcus, and B. Altman's (the last being no more, and was replaced by the Westchester Mall).

Mon Oct 30, 11:11:00 AM  
Blogger Ken said...

Great Photos of Gimbels in the Cross County Center.

This location was the highest grossing suburban location for the Gimbels New York divison right up to it's end in 1986.

As you can see in the early days on Mall or Shopping Center locations, department stores continued some touches that were brought over from their downtown locations. This included the neon "Open Until" signs, and having some display windows near the entrances to the stores. All of these large Gimbels suburban stores all had community rooms and restuarants.

The Gimbels branches at the Garden State Plaza,
Green Acres Mall, and Rooselvelt Field all had this same look.

In later years Gimbels was known for it's popular "Day Into Night" Sales.

Ken Allan
Associate Personnel Manager, Garden State Plaza Store.

Mon Nov 20, 10:03:00 AM  
Anonymous Mark-Albany, NY said...

My Mom worked at this Gimbels back in around 1964 and I remember fondly going with my Dad to pick her up after work and going to the Red Coach Grill nearby for dinner.

So NICE to see pictures like much time has passed and we have lost most of the personal care we receive as customers today....WalMart should learn from the employees of these fine stores how to treat customers and value all who come to visit. It's a whole new world now....memories like these are engrained forever in my mind's eye. Thanks!

Tue Sep 08, 03:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I worked in that store in high school and then into college (1980-85), it was a great place to work with lots of fun people. Some of the day folks were there from the time the store opened in the 1950's. Now I work for the company that is doing the expansion for Macy's.

I do miss Gimbels, though.

Glen from the China Dept.

Sun Oct 04, 05:38:00 PM  
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Sat Oct 02, 05:46:00 PM  
Blogger lisa campanaro said...

my grandmother worked there for many years at gimbels , i can remember going there when we lived in yonkers going to see her. wonderful memories

Fri Feb 03, 11:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

worked my way through college here, met a beautiful girl there, married her after my service tour in 1970-now 42 wonderful years and great Gimbel memories.

Sat Oct 06, 11:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

At Christmas time, they had the prettiest decorated window scenes! Also, there were
Big light up snowflakes on the sides of the building. Magical!

Thu Dec 29, 10:38:00 PM  

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