Thursday, November 5, 2009

Marshall Field

Marshall Field, became a multimillionaire by selling clothing and shoes. Marshall Field's downtown retail store was only a few miles from the city's bustling rail yards, slaughterhouses, mail-order businesses, and lumber yards. Its sheer size made it the largest retail store on earth in the late 1800s. Field employed ninety thousand workers who managed the store's fifty-three elevators, medical dispensary, post office, or telephone switchboard. When Field found out that women would leave his store at noon for lunch he put in a tea room next to the women's furs. He eventually expanded the tea room into an entire floor of posh restaurants. Men had downtown dinner and smoking clubs; Women had Marshall Field's store. Field stocked his store with fine linen handkerchiefs, silk scarves, imported parisian gloves, custom-made oriental rugs, and designer evening gowns. Marshall Field found a niche in Chicago and capitalized on it, making his name a household word by the 1870s.

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