A Brief History of Nordstrom
Nordstrom, Inc is an American Luxury department Store chain headquartered in Seattle, Washington and founded by John W. Nordstrom and Carl F. Wallin in 1901. The original Wallin & Nordstrom store operated exclusively as a shoe store, and a second Nordstrom’s shoe store opened in 1923.
The growing Nordstrom Best chain began selling clothing in 1963, and became the Nordstrom full-line retailer that presently exists by 1971. The company founded its off-price Nordstrom Rack division in 1973, and grew both full-line and off-price divisions throughout the United States in the following years before expanding into Canada in 2014.
Despite having no experience in luxury Retail, Nordstrom became the top Retailer. Watch the Video to learn more.
John W. Nordstrom was born on February 15, 1871, in the town of Luleå in Northern Sweden. In 1887, Nordstrom immigrated to the United States at the age of 16. After landing in New York, he began working in Michigan and was able to save enough money to purchase a 20-acre (81,000 m2) potato farm in Arlington, Washington.In 1897, he joined the Klondike Gold Rush in Canada’s Yukon Territory. After two years of prospecting, he finally struck gold, but sold his disputed claim for $13,000. Returning to Seattle with his newfound wealth, he married Hilda Carlson in 1900 and searched for a business venture.
Nordstrom eventually settled on a shoe store that opened in 1901, called Wallin & Nordstrom. Carl F. Wallin, the co-founder of the store, was the owner of the adjacent shoe repair shop. John and Hilda had five children, three of whom would follow him into the family business, Everett W. (1903), Elmer J. (1904) and Lloyd N. Nordstrom. In 1928, John W. Nordstrom retired and sold his shares to two of his sons, Everett and Elmer.
In 1929, Wallin also retired and sold his shares to them. The 1930 grand opening of the re-modeled Second Avenue store marked the change of name to Nordstrom’s. Lloyd Nordstrom subsequently joined the company in 1933, and the three brothers ran the business together for almost forty years.
By 1958, Nordstrom had expanded to eight stores in two states but still sold only shoes. Apparel came with its purchase of Best’s Apparel of Seattle in 1963, and the company’s name was changed to Nordstrom Best. In 1971, the company was taken public on NASDAQ. It was moved to the New York Stock Exchange in 1999 under the ticker symbol JWN after John W. Nordstrom, its founder.
Based on this Story from HOOK, Nordstrom’s founder had no retail experience at all when he opened his store. He worked for years in backbreaking minimum wage jobs and then became a potato farmer, saving up until he had the chance to open a small shoe store. When he was only 11-years-old, he was forced to drop out of school. Then, when he turned 16, he packed his bags and left his home and family to move to America — arriving with only $5 in his pocket. This is the story of how Nordstrom became a top luxury retailer in the United States, carrying designer brands like Gucci, Burberry, Prada, Off-White, and more.