To some it could be only a fairly hat, a grey felt topper with a cluster of flowers. However for Margarita Cromwell, 84, the hat she purchased at The Bon Marché was an previous buddy — identical to the shop.
So when the downtown Seattle Macy’s opened for the final time Sunday, Cromwell was there, carrying her Sunday finest with a cameo pin — and that hat.
Cromwell moved to Seattle in December 1979 from Chile, talking little English. One of many first issues she did that winter was purchase the hat for $three on sale at The Bon. It grew to become a dialog starter, a little bit one thing particular that helped her join with individuals.
“It opened the door. On daily basis I bought compliments. Folks would say to me, ‘It’s so stunning, you look so good,’ ” Cromwell stated. “I had communication with individuals, because of this hat. Due to this hat, individuals would speak to me. For that motive I needed to say thanks to The Bon Marché. I got here right now to say goodbye.”
Cromwell stated she knew the shop as generations of Seattle consumers did, “like a second home. It’s the place I purchased all my issues.”
Consumers hoping for a fantastic deal on the final day arrived to search out the shop stripped however for its furnishings. Trash cans have been grouped in a huddle in the midst of the huge, empty floor flooring, promoting for $1. There have been costume racks, show tables and cabinets on the market, scavenged from across the retailer. Even workers’ staplers have been provided, their names or departments nonetheless caught on the again with Scotch tape.
Some workers have been there, too, to say goodbye to a retailer the place salespeople as soon as made careers as specialists and the place all eight tales brimmed with clothes, high quality china, mattresses, jewellery, furnishings, fragrances and “foundations,” as ladies of a sure age knew that division to be known as. Reminiscences have been being collected on two Fb accounts, Bon Marché Soiree and Macy’s Downtown Seattle 2020.
With so little to purchase, clients principally simply lingered, and reminisced.
“Everybody has a reminiscence of the massive downtown division retailer, the flagship retailer the place everybody went,” stated Larry Laffrey, who took the bus from the Central District together with his largest backpack, hoping to make a purchase order, no less than get a memento. It was to not be. As an alternative he took within the stunning architectural particulars extra noticeable than ever with no merchandise on the ground: the carved ending touches on the tops of columns, the grand wood-paneled elevator doorways and delightful bronze retailer clock, nonetheless conserving good time.
The constructing is listed on the Nationwide Register of Historic Locations.
“It’s all the time a disgrace when a downtown anchor retailer goes away,” Laffrey stated.
The Bon Marché started because the dream of Edward and Josephine Nordhoff, who in 1890 arrived in Seattle and used their $1,200 financial savings to start out a dry items retailer. They known as it The Bon Marché, and as James Warren recounts in a HistoryLink essay, it grew to become one of many Pacific Northwest’s most well-known department shops.
Growth and success led to building in 1928 of a $5 million constructing at Third Avenue and Pine Road designed by outstanding Seattle architect John Graham Sr. After a number of possession and identify adjustments the shop, by 2004 a part of a sequence of 50 shops in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Wyoming, was in 2005 renamed Macy’s.
“It was a grand previous division retailer,” stated Julie Davidson, 50, of Belltown, who stated she picked up some nice buys within the final a number of years as the shop provided gross sales to attract consumers. “In the previous couple of years it’s been gross sales central,” she stated, delighted with the $300 Michael Kors leather-based backpack she stated she lately purchased for $80.
She discovered it ironic that Amazon has leased a lot of the constructing’s higher flooring. “It’s the brand new manner of commerce versus the previous manner, I’ve lived right here 22 years and it’s a very cool constructing.
“It’s unhappy a lot of the new buildings going up don’t have any persona to them. It’s beginning to appear to be another metropolis.” A designer by career, she has began amassing pictures of Seattle’s iconic indicators for her Instagram account, Saving Seattle Indicators.
Lily Aguirre, 27, detoured from her bus route house to Greenwood to cease by Macy’s, hoping to search out one thing for her mom. A minimum-wage restaurant employee, she stated Macy’s for her didn’t typically have the proper mixture of low worth and prime quality she discovered on the low cost tables at different shops. However she stated she would nonetheless miss it.
“It’s unhappy, the corporate has been right here a very long time, since I used to be a little bit child, and what about all of the people who used to work right here, what’s going to occur to them?”