Beyond Retail

Friday, July 29, 2005

Marshall Field's is...

(as posted on

Marshall Field's is... incredible. I don't think I can put the store into words. I went to the State Street store numerous times when I was in Chicago in 2003 and the entire experience was astounding. The employees helped me locate a specific section of the store, took me there, and introduced me to the salespeople in that department, despite that my purchase was only about $10! I've never had better service anywhere else. The Frango mints are to die for, I've got to order some before it's too late.

We've had Macy's here in the Boston area since 1996, and it's not great at all. It's just like any other department store; they have things to buy, but there is no flair or essence. Before 1996, Macy's was Jordan Marsh, which was basically Boston's Marshall Field's. Rather than Frango's, Jordan's had Blueberry Muffins that were beyond explanation. Jordan Marsh WAS Boston, just as Marshall Field's IS Chicago. People were sad when Jordan Marsh went away, we were some of the first to get the non-New York Macy's, and some were excited as well. If Jordan Marsh were to be slaughtered by Federated right now for Macy's, I think I'd be posting this on

Boston is losing May-owned Filene's now, and there's now way to get it back; Federated has already decided. Even worse, because there are already Macy's stores here, so New England malls will be littered with vacant Filene's anchor stores for no reason at all. But Filene's was like Carson's in Chicago, it's local in history but does not thrive off of it's heritage. Marshall Field's does, just as Jordan Marsh did.

It's far to late to save any of the other department stores lost in the last 10 years, but there's still a chance of saving Marshall Field's. It's really the last American department store, Macy's could be placed anywhere as it has no flavor at all. Federated likes to say that Macy's represents style and New York City, and that's why they want to put it everywhere. Believe me, I've been to many Macy's stores and there is no essence of New York City in the stores at all. But as others in news stories have said, why should the stores be brash like New York City rather than providing the Midwestern comfort and friendliness that makes Marshall Field's, and Chicago, far superior?


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