Gimbel's, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Gimbels entered the Pittsburgh market in 1925
by purchasing the established Kaufman & Baer
store, founded in 1914 by member of the
Kaufmann family.

The store name was changed to Gimbel Brothers by 1928

Gimbels, at 6th Avenue and Smithfield Street, was
readily accepted by Pittburghers and became one
of the Steel City's iconic department stores.

"Nobody, but nobody, undersells Gimbels!"

Read Michael Lisicky's
excellent book about

Gimbel Brothers
Mellon Square
Pittsburgh, PA 15230

GRant 1-8400

First Floor
Sportswear Corner • Fashonia Lingerie • Accessories • Scarves • Gloves • Umbrellas • Hosiery • Almost Shoes • Millinery • Fashion Jewelry • The Real Thing • Fine Jewelry • Handbags • Small Leather Goods • Cosmetics • Hair Accessories • Small Accessories • The Strawberry Way • Candy • Notions • Personal Needs • Men’s Toiletries • Men’s Sweaters • Men’s Knit Shirts • Men’s Sport Shirts • Men’s Hosiery • Men’s Furnishings • Men’s Robes and Pajamas • Men’s Accessories • Men’s Neckwear • Men’s Underwear

Second Floor
Shops for Men Men’s Suits • Men’s Slacks • Men’s Coats • Smithfield Shop • University Shop • Now Shop • Men’s Shoes • Men’s Active Sportswear • Guitars and Records • Ski Trail lodge

Third Floor
Fashonia Dresses • Fashonia Coats • Fashonia Sportswear • Fashonia Blouses • Fashonia Sweaters • Fashonia Shoes • Tally Ho Sportswear  Casual Dresses • Women’s Shoes • Miss G Shoes • Shoe Salon • Loungewear • Sleepwear • Daywear • Robes • Inner Woman Shops • Junior Lingerie • Fur Salon

Fourth Floor
Place for Juniors • Junior World Dresses • Junior World Sportswear • Junior World Market Square Dresses • Junior World Market Square Sportswear • Miss G Dresses • Miss G Casual Dresses • Miss G Coats • Miss G Sportswear • Swim Cabana • Tally Ho Sportswear • Young Individualist Dresses • Country Corner • For Women Only • The Knit Shop • Discovery Four Shop • Gabrielle Sportswear • Gabrielle Dresses • Gabrielle After 5 Dresses • Gabrielle Coats and Suits • The Specialty Shop

Fifth Floor
Youth World Young Teens • Girls’ Clothing • Toddler Girls • Boys’ Clothing • Toddler Boys • Boys’ Furnishings • Children’s Accessories • Children’s Shoes • Children’s Sleepwear • Infant’s Apparel • ‘Her Place’
Lunches Limited Snack Shop • Books

Sixth Floor
Artificial Plants • Gifts • Decorative Accessories • Candle Shop • Pictures • Silverware • Luggage • Beauty Salon • Bridal Salon

345 Sixth Avenue, Pittsburgh

Seventh Floor
Domestics and Bedding • Bath Shop • Fabric Shop • Art Needlework • TV/Radios • Cameras • Stationery • Sporting Goods • Studio 7

Eighth Floor
Sewing Machines • Vacuums • Appliances • Housewares • Small Electricals • Bridal Registry • Glassware • China • Garden Shop • Hardware • Kitchen Planning

Ninth Floor
Draperies • Drapery Accessories • Lamps • Floor Coverings • Replacement Cushions • Trim-the-Home Shop • Art Needlework

Tenth Floor
Furniture • Interior Design Studio • Slumber Shop • Home Planning Center

Eleventh Floor
Toys • Swimming Pools • Art Supplies • Travel Bureau

Twelfth Floor

Thirteenth Floor
Restaurant • Fur Storage
(700,000 s.f.)

North Hills Village
Ross Township
89,000 sq. ft.

East McKeesport
200,000 sq. ft.

South Hills Village
Upper St. Clair
258,000 sq. ft.

Monroeville Mall
234,000 sq. ft.

Beaver Valley Mall
204,000 sq. ft.

Century III (1979)
West Mifflin 
126,000 sq. ft.

Coming in due course.


  1. does anyone know the name or brand of cash registers that Gimbels used in the 60s and 70s? They produced a 3part NCR receipt and the registers themselves looked like huge adding machines. On the top right corner was the authorization light if your credit was denied.

  2. does anyone know the compant that made the delicious vanilla and chocolate caramels that were sold in the candy dept???

  3. Gimbels ads for candy usually say "Made fresh daily in our own candy kitchen," or "Made and packed in our 12th floor candy kitchen." They were labeled "Gimbels Chocolates," "Gimbels Preferred Chocolates," or "Gimbels Select Chocolates." They also made a brand named "Charl-Mont Fine Candies" which was also advertised as "made fresh daily."

    The packaged candies of various high-end brand names that are around today cannot claim "made fresh in our kitchen" on the premises, but it was quite common in department stores of the past.

    1. They had an open buttercream in dark and milk chocolate...genisee creams...they were my mom's favorite. I wish I could see them again...

  4. I grew up in the area and the candy was the best the peanut butter cups were made right in the store and the candy counter drew large crowds and so did the bakery, the bakery made a very good rum cake. I now live in Philadelphia and several of us at our church are from Pittsburgh and we began talking about what a good store it was. I remember when they had layaway and when it opened in the Beaver Valley Mall. If it could be sold Gimbels had it. They designed kitchens and did interior design for the rest of the home sending out a representative to sit down and help you plan your space, It is really missed by the people of the city of Pittsburgh and the rest of western Pennsylvania. The receipts were put in the registers manually the top copy was blue and white the second copy was white and the last copy was yellow.

  5. The name of the cash registers was I believe Unitote They were used when Gimbels purchased them I think they actually came from either Hornes or kaufmanns About half the training department spent most of the fall training part timers for the Christmas Rush I owrked for them at one time but left before they closed in 1986 Heard BAT just didn't want them anymore

  6. Gimbels was Pittsburgh's affordable department store. I still have a beautiful danish walnut end table which I refinished. So many great Gimbels memories. The best candy ever. My Mom worked at the competition, Donahoe's, but she always said Gimbels candies were the best.

  7. Does anyone remember the talking tree in Gimbels toy dept. at Christmas?

    1. Yes, it was "Trina, the talking Christmas tree". It was located on the 11th floor. A young lady was secured on the inside and could see children when they approached. The tree lights would blink when the young lady in the tree would respond to children's questions. It was great.

  8. Gimbels Midwest used Regitel electronic registers.

  9. Yes! I remember the Talking Tree!! My mother took me there every year when I was young..North Hills Village location.

    1. I actually was the Talking Christmas Tree for one season at the North Hills store!

  10. Gimbals also had the best bakery in the city - bran muffins, bear's claws couldn't be beat. I wonder if the recipes exist anywhere

  11. Oh, I remember the Talking Tree, too! I had a friend who was the "voice" of the Talking Tree!

  12. The North Hills actually opened in 1957, as I've viewed in the Pittsburgh Press on Google Newspapers.

  13. I am fortunate enough to have the store directory form this great store hanging in my hallway. I was part of a small group that got to do the last walk thru of the whole store before the demolition started to make it H J Heinz headquarters. No one had been in that store's upper floors since the day it closed back in 1983. It was creepy, sad, and exciting all bundled into one. What a great store that must have been. I now collect department store memorabilia, and LOVE this site!

    1. Elizabeth.r@comcast.net17 February, 2017 17:34

      Will you do me a favor please and look up a few things in that directory? I remember the book dept. being on the sixth floor, the same one as Saks and gifts, nit the fifth as listed at the beginning of this blog. What does your directory say? Also, I remember there being no thirteenth floor - it went from twelfth to the fourteenth. What's in the directory on this? Thanks so much! Elizabeth Rosemier

  14. My Mother help Mr. Gimbal bale the basement from the big flood of 1936.Allot of merchandise was lost at that time. My mother worked in fine jewelry till the late 1940's.
    When my mother moved to California and got married, Mr. Gimbal sent her a sterling silver set of flat-ware as a wedding gift. I still have that set today.

    Thanks to Gimbals

  15. I worked as a part time elevator operator at the downtownPittsburgh Gimbels store. My bosses were George Green, Ernest Ramsey and George Curtis. It was a nice place with very nice people.
    Vito Capaccio

  16. Every Saturday, I used to "shop" in downtown Pittsburgh. I would start at Kaufmann's, then Saks, then Gimbels, and finally Joseph Horne Co (as it was at the other end of downtown). Lunch was always at Gimbels - in the downstairs (basement level) restaurant which I think was called the Plum Tree. Their food was much better than the food at rival Kaufmann's Tic Toc restaurant. Does anyone else remember this little restaurant? Those were the days. Now all are gone except Macy's - - boring as ever. It's a shame that the young people today will never have this experience consumer choice of all those stores

  17. How could anyone forget the Bargain Basement!! Oh, the deals that could be found there. I still have a cable knit cardigan sweater that I bought there in 1972.

  18. I bought a photograph of a gentleman taken at gimbel bros. first floor. I was wondering where I could find the records so I could find out who he was exactly. Does anybody know anything to help me?

  19. My father was an elevator operaor at Gimbels from 1946 - 1956. I am trying to get his picture. If you know how I can get his picture, please let me know.

  20. I still wear a pair of red Ralph Lauren Polo top siders that I bought at this location in 1983, just before they closed. I only wear them a few times each summer, but they're holding up so well. I was just starting my career in banking, and bought so many lovely dresses at Gimbel's, too. I grew up in Vincennes, Indiana, the home of the first Gimbel's store, so was always attached to the brand.

  21. Makes me sad... I hated going there with my Grandmother, & Mother as a child, but would do anything to go back to have one more Sunday of shopping...

  22. I worked at Gimbels in the Book Department for a few years (1964-66), right out of high school. We were on the same floor with Saks and Gifts, the sixth. The display windows at Christmastime were a wonderland with ornate animated displays. This website brings back some nice memories...thanks.

  23. Yes I vividly remember the "Talking Christmas Tree" at South Hills Village, and I was PETRIFIED OF IT!!!!, LOL. I must have been about 4 years old, my mother would drag me along with her while she was Christmas shopping. I swear I would try ducking behind or below clothes racks to avoid the dreaded tree from seeing me and attempting to lure me closer with a "Hey little boy with the blue shirt on, what do you want for Christmas? Lord Almighty, it scared the you know what out of me!!!! I thought it was very creepy, LOL!!!

  24. I have been searching for info re: Trina, The Talking Christmas Tree ! My best friend, Cindy was "Trina" for a couple of years at the Monroeville Mall store!

  25. mercedesccc@hotmail.com10 January, 2014 16:11

    Does anyone know how I can get the recipe for their Madeleine cookies? They were to die for! That's where I became a chocolaholic.with the scallop looking shell the half dipped chocolate and lightly crispy edges. I'd die for one now! LOL! No one has ever come close.

  26. does anyone remember the Gimbel's British Week 1967 nov there were free trips to the store on board a London Double decker bus and the store was decked out in red white and blue and sold a lot of British products there was also a British policeman ,a town crier and 3 bus men who drove and maintained the vehicle,I was one of them I really enjoyed my time in Pittsburgh

  27. I used to work with a buyer named Kay DeLuca. She bought junior sportswear back in the 80's.
    This is a shot in the dark, but if anyone remembers her, please post.
    She was the love of my life,
    John Lewin

  28. in the late 1977-79 gimble carried mens silk shirts by the names of Knik-knik, Roland,Augie. does anyone know if they are still being made or where to purchase these items

  29. I remember the Unitote registers, you had to punch in numbers for the department, sku, style.#, season..I used to always punch in the wrong would get a report that told you how many times you punched in wrong numbers. I also remember the talking Christmas tree, I was terrified of it as was in the North Hills store that my mother took me to. I worked at Gimbels from 1977 until the store closed in 1986 in the display department and in the home fashion department. Also worked at some branch stores, North Hills and Monoeville. I remember opening up the brand new Century III store in 80 or 81. When I started, I worked in the Now really was a great place to work. I miss all the great old stores.......

  30. I'm so pleased to have happened upon this site and am really enjoying reading all the comments. I may even have known a few of you---elevator operators, sales persons, buyers--- who have posted these very interesting tales. I started working in the Pittsburgh Gimbels advertising department in 1970 after receiving an Associate's Degree in Graphic Design from the Pittsburgh Art Institute. I began as a Production Assistant at Gimbels and happily moved up to Production Manager a year later. It was such a pleasure and an education to prepare the work of the artists for print and publication in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette and other local newspapers. Eventually, with the mentoring of the lovely and greatly talented Gert Half and her fellow gracious and creative artists in that department, I became a Graphic Artist in that same setting, creating, for the next five years, the layouts for ads for fashion, housewares, furniture, and institutionals. What fine memories I have of that time and the people. Thank you, everyone here, for telling your Gimbels stories and sharing your memories!

  31. My full time job in Pittsburgh was with the Pennsylvania RR. My part time job, around 1970, was with Gimbels, in the Men's Clothing department on the 2nd floor, downtown Pittsburgh.

  32. Dear Anonymous-I worked for Gimbels from 1974(summer) to the next summer of 1975 and left to start nursing school.Having only worked a year it was still hard to say goodbye to all the friends I made there and I mostly worked in Mens clothing on the 1st boss was Mr Altmeyer and the buyers were Tony Battaglia and assistant buyer was Morey Katz.I was just wondering if you knew them and would know what ever happened to them

  33. My aunt, Dorothy Lutz, worked in the Gimbels office in the late 40s/early 50s.
    She passed away several years ago. But does anyone remember working
    with her? I certainly miss Gimbels and Kaufmann's.

  34. My father reportedly ordered a pre-fab cabin from Gimbels (most likely from the Pittsburgh, PA store in the early 1940's. Does anyone have a history of this product selling at Gimbels?

  35. You might want to check the Pittsburgh newspaper archive on Google. You might find an ad for it there.

  36. My favorite memories of Gimbels Pittsburgh were early in the morning before the store opened. I was a Pittsbugh girl, Graduated CMU, spent a year in NYC in the I. Magnin buying office, got so very homesick I left and came home. I needed a job and a college friend of mine had just been promoted out to a branch store and her job, as an assistant buyer in the Junior Department at Gimbels Pittsburgh needed to be filled. I interviewed and got the job in late 1970. Because of my New York experience, I was allowed to go to New York as an assistant buyer to help create a new junior contemporary clothing area. It was to house upcoming young designers such as Betsy Johnson. It was very exciting. It became the blueprint for my entire buying career- opening new merchandising concepts for major departments stores.
    Gimbels required branch store experience for all those who wanted to be promoted to a buyer. My branch store experience only lasted a few short weeks in the Monroeville Store, and I was promoted to buyer for Costume Jewelry and Accessories. I worked for many major department stores after Gimbels but I never enjoyed and loved my job as much as that first experience at Gimbels. At 24, I was so green and inexperienced but the sales people in my department were pros. They were part of the old guard of commissioned sales people who were so knowledgeable about the merchandise they sold and they taught me all about my business. They had been selling costume jewelry for years and I learned so much from them. The success I had as a young buyer was because of those wonderful women. My stock room was on the top floor receiving area, a huge cavern of a place. I got lost my first trip to that jewelry stock room which was called “the cage” An older woman named Jerry, who had been there for years and years, presided over this area. Jerry received all the jewelry stock and returned broken pieces to the vendors. I don’t know how she did it day after day alone in a wire-caged room in that enormous space, but she was among the many characters I will never forget from those days.
    Gimbels Pittsburgh was so enormous but the buying staff was tucked away in stock rooms and cubbyholes all over the store. In those days square footage was always devoted to sales first. It makes me laugh to read books and articles describing the life of department store buyers. Maybe at times, when we traveled, it was glamorous but on a daily basis, back then, we worked in small partitioned stock rooms and hidden makeshift places, wherever they could squeeze us in. they was a whole beehive of activity and hidden places in those old stores. In my first job, at Gimbels Pittsburgh, I was lucky to have part of one of the large outside my tiny office. I loved it.
    Back then; department stores did themed events that involved the whole store. Gimbels did wonderful theme events. I was lucky enough to have buying trips to London for the British event and all over Italy for the store wide Italian event. It was an amazing experience to have as a young, woman.
    As I said in the beginning, early morning in an empty department store is wonderful. Traveling the escalator from one quiet floor, full of beautifully displayed merchandise, to another, is like being in a wonderland. I still miss those sights and smells, and the anticipation of what the customers would think of the magic we were making.

    1. I worked in the jewelry dept and remember Jerry very well. Did inventory with her. Also remember Sadie and Helen who worked in the jewelry dept

    2. I worked in the jewelry dept and remember Jerry very well. Did inventory with her. Also remember Sadie and Helen who worked in the jewelry dept

    3. I worked at the DT store from 1976 - 1978 in the costume jewelry department. Helen, Sadie, Taylor and Madeline were the seasoned pros in the department and they took me under their 'wings'. Great memories of a great time in my life! Loved Gimbels!

  37. The toyland monorail was the greatest thing on the world! My grandma took us shopping there every Christmas season as children. Thanks for the memories!

  38. Is there any information available referencing the beauty salon at the NYC Gimbels and "Mr. Al?"

  39. Is there any information or is there anyone out there with memories of the Beauty Salon in the NYC Gimbels? Does anyone remember "Mr. Al?"

  40. I worked at the Century III mall location from the time it opened until 1984. Was sad to see it close. The yearly "Lilac Sale" and the store being decorated for Christmas when it opened the day after Thanksgiving are memories that stick out for me.

  41. I was a member of Gimbels Teen Board in 1968-69. It involved a group of teenage girls selected from various high schools in the Pittsburgh area. We participated in fashion shows and special events for Gimbels and Saks Fifth Avenue. This was such an honorable, exciting and memorable time in my life

    Y. Turner

  42. There was one at Westmoreland mall too

  43. My grandmother, Victoria Wise, was a Singer sewing instructor at the Pittsburgh Gimbels. She helped me get hired there in the late 60's. I worked in the "Bargain Basement" in Women's, Menswear on the second floor, and upstairs in the Custom Drapery office, all summer help during my school years. Looking at these photos and reading your comments brings it all back.... What memories!

  44. My husband and I have one of the original brass signs that hung on each corner outside in NY City.

  45. My husband and I have one of the original brass signs that hung from the 4 corners of the building in NYC.

  46. My mom use to work at Gimbels when I was a baby. She dressed me in their clothes. My most memorable time at Gimbels was when my mom took me and my sisters school shopping. I was 12, my one sister was 9 and my youngest sister was 5. There was a display in the Junior Dept. with a '50s theme. They had a juke box and mannequins dressed like back in the '50s sitting in a booth simulating drinking sodas and milkshakes. My youngest sister climbed up in the card board box booth along with the mannequins and sat right in between them. I wondered why she climbed up in there and before I knew it, I heard a sound like something popping and all of a sudden the entire display came crashing down with my baby sister in it. My mom screamed and employees on the floor went rushing over toward the pile of display with my mom and digging my sister out of the card board rubble. That has been nearly 40 years ago and today whenever we reminisce about our childhood, this is mentioned. At the time it was very scary and my sister was okay, but today we just laugh and laugh.

  47. I remember going to Gimbels for new school clothes every year. I also remember Gimbels Goes British. My sister and I went and had tea and crumpets. I was 14 years old and we had a blast riding the double decker bus.

  48. Wow as a young first time buyer for Gimbels I spent my first buying trip in London buying accessories for that British promotion! I remember it well.

  49. Gimbel's chocolate covered strawberries were the best EVER. Many have tried
    to duplicate them but none compare. Does anyone remember the name of the
    luscious candy they were noted for which was composed of nuts, caramel,
    and several other ingredients. It had a name all its own.

    1. It was Betsey Ann Chocolates...the memory lives on! I search bakeries throughout the US to capture memories of Gimbles's glazed donuts! Where is this recipe???

  50. anonymous the chocolates you mentioned were I think called anaclairs

  51. I loved shopping at Gimbels. As a kid, we shopped often at the North Hills store. My aunt, Dorothy Eddy, worked at the dahntahn store. We shopped there when we went dahntahn on Saturdays as jr. high and high school kids. Later after I was married, my husband Tim and I frequented Max & Irma's. They had such a good bakery, and I always remember how they used to put straight pins into the bottom of the cake from below to hold it in place in the box for the trip home! Such a loss for our town, both Gimbels and Hornes. I have the book shown above, Gimbels Has It, a wonderful treasure about a beloved store here in Pittsburgh.

  52. Nancy (Miller ) McCumber23 August, 2018 13:52

    I worked at the downtown Gimbel's. It was my first job right out of high school. I worked in the Domestic Dept on the 7th floor. I worked with Cathy,(we got together for dinner a couple of weeks ago) Mary and JoAnn. We had so much fun. I took pics of Santa and the kids for a couple of years. I worked in the Christmas Dept. ( i still have some of the ornaments ) I worked in the China and Silverware Dept up on the 8th Fl. I worked with Paula, Sharon and Flo. (I got in contact with Sharon recently and have met up for lunch a couple of times) I loved helping out with the bridal registry. I worked in the purchasing office on the 7th floor with Claudia and Steve. I worked there till they closed the doors. One of my favorite memories is working the warehouse sales. Those doors would open and a mob of people came rushing in. We would have lines all day long. I miss working at Gimbels. It was my first real job. I met a lot of Great people there.


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