Thursday, September 26, 2013

A blast from the past.

Up in smoke
Almost daily I'm reminded that
something I once considered so
real, solid, and permanent can
disappear in a heartbeat. Sunday
Houston's venerable downtown
Foley's flagship department store
(now Macys) was imploded.
Seems like yesterday
Built in 1947, Foley's was touted as
the store of tomorrow. Sadly, it took
just sixty five years for the old gal to
literally bite the dust. Think about it.
The place where generations visited
Santa Claus is now only a memory
and a soon to be gone pile of rubble.
As somebody who lives and breathes
retail everyday, nothing makes me
more melancholy than the memory of
stores long gone. While their purpose
was to sell, these amazing palaces of
commerce entertained, inspired, and
taught the masses for many years.
Gone but not forgotten
In the past, every downtown had a grand department store. Local merchants brought the world to their customers. Showing them how to dress, decorate, entertain, and live the good life. They lived to serve and died trying.
Badge of honor
Somehow their grandeur validated whatever purchases that were made within. Retailers used to stand for quality, service, and assortment. Sadly in todays mall, prestige and panache have been replaced by promotion and pandering. Pablum is served up by chains of national "anchors". These streamlined survivors pale in comparison to their once great predecessors. The question is why are we willing to accept their mediocrity and... pay for it?!

Remembrance of things past
In New York we still have grand
emporiums that inspire and thrive.
One can stroll daily by windows
that wow but may never deliver
ROI. Any shopper can be helped
by experts who not only know their
stuff but actually enjoy strutting it.
Who wrap your items in tissue and
place them in an elegant paper bag.
Shopping here is not only a pleasure,
in today's world it's a rare privilege.
Here today, gone...
Dear friends and fellow shoppers,
I must caution all to never assume
anything. The fact is that here in
Manhattan things change quickly.
In the past names like B.Altman,
Bonwit Teller, Franklin Simon,
Best & Co, and Peck & Peck lined
Fifth Avenue. Today they're only
faded memories and tattered labels
in thrift shop finds. My advice?
Shop before they drop. Your local
boutique needs you more than you
need them. Let's protect whatever
elegance is still left in our lives.