|After operating in several smaller locations, Goldwaters|
took space in the so-called Noble Building in 1910.
|After getting an earlier start in Prescott, Arizona,|
Goldwaters settled into the same building as
Phoenix' renowned Dorris-Heyman furniture co.
|"The Best, Always"|
31 North First Street
Gift Shop • Collector's Gallery • Degrazia Shop • Bedding • Closet Shop • Bath Shop • Draperies • Luggage • China • Gourmet Shop
Jewelry • Costume Jewelry • Indian Jewelry • Silver • Hosiery • Boudoir Slippers • Toiletries • Perfumes •
Fashion Accessories • Belts • Gloves • Handbags • Small Leather Goods • Scarfs • Hat Bar • Shoe Salon • Notions • Stationery • Games • Candy • Linens • Shop for Men
Children's Shop • Young Phoenician Shop • Hi Shop • Children's Toys • Antoine Salon • American Salon • Offices
Lingerie • Robes • Silhouette Shop • Uniforms • Desert Fashion Shop • Desert Sport Shop • Better Dresses • Custom Salon • Casual Shop • Coat Shop • Suit Shop • Urban Shop • Miss Phoenix Shop • Young Perfectionist Shop • Young Arizona Shop • Gold Room • Millinery Salon • Fur Salon • Bridal Salon
Jewelry • Costume Jewelry • Indian Jewelry • Silver • Hosiery • Boudoir Slippers • Toiletries • Perfumes • Fashion Accessories • Belts • Gloves • Handbags • Small Leather Goods • Scarfs • Hat Bar • Shoe Salon • Notions • Lingerie • Robes • Silhouette Shop • Stationery • Games • Candy • Gift Shop • Collector's Gallery • Degrazia Shop • Linens • Bedding • Closet Shop • Bath Shop • Draperies • Luggage • China • Home Furnishings • Gourmet Shop
11 Park Central Mall Men's World • New Directions
Misses' Sportswear • Misses' Dresses • Women's Dresses • Better Dresses • Casual Shop • Coats Plus • Urban Shop • Miss Phoenix Shop • Clubhouse Sportswear • Contempora Sportswear • Now Shop • Gold Circle • Designer Room • Young Perfectionist Shop • Young Arizona Shop • Millinery Salon • Fur Salon • Bridal Salon • Children's Shop • Young Phoenician Shop • Hi Shop • Children's Toys • Antoine Salon • American Salon • Offices
Cortez and Union Streets
September 18, 1937
W. Osborn Rd. at N. 2nd Ave.
November 8, 1956
Scottsdale Road at Camelback
Black Canyon Fwy. at North Peoria Ave.
October 21, 1973
|El Con Center|
3595 E. Broadway
August 14, 1978
115,000 sq. ft.
Alma School Road at Southern
13 August 1979
115,000 sq. ft.
If the story of Goldwaters sounds like the script of a western movie, it well should, for the founders of the store were true pioneers who braved the rigors of the developing American west to not just found a department store, but a civic and political dynasty as well. That they were Jewish immigrants from the hostile environment of Russian-dominated Poland, seeking fortune in the American west, subject to Indian attacks, outlaw massacres and the rigors of operating out of tents and adobe huts, makes the story remarkable indeed.
Michael Goldwasser was born in Konin, Poland in 1821, but left for Paris in 1837 to avoid conscription in the Russian Army. He trained as a tailor in Paris, but left there in 1848, a year of upheaval across Europe. In London, he was able to work as a tailor and met his wife Sarah Nathan. They were married in 1850. Michael left with his younger brother Joseph (1833-1883) in 1852 for San Francisco via New York and the isthmus of Panama. Shortly thereafter, Sarah and their children joined them in America.
Yet, Michael continued his adventures to the east. Hearing of the gold strike in now-deserted La Paz, Arizona territory, in 1860 he packed wagons full of goods to sell to the newly-rich miners, first in Gila City, then in La Paz itself. A store was established in Ehreberg, on the California border, a now-deserted location on the Colorado River that facilitated the shipment of merchandise by steamboat, and allowed Goldwater to engage in business supplying army posts in the Arizona Territory.
The Ehrenberg years were tumultuous to say the least, but the business grew in spite of hardships. With Dr. W.W. Jones, Michael Goldwater helped lay out the wagon road between Ehrenberg and Prescott, Arizona. It was on this road that his brother Joe was seriously injured in an Indian ambush. He wore the bullet that was retrieved from his body on a watch fob for many years. Robberies were common and Michael Goldwater was once held at gunpoint by bandits until he opened his safe for them. Ehrenberg's days were numbered, though, by the time the Southern Pacific Railroad was completed, making river travel obsolete.
Goldwater focused on the young settlement of Phoenix, where he and his sons opened a store in 1872. When he did not find success there, a successor was opened to the north at Prescott in 1876. Far from the adobe huts that served as Goldwaters' early stores, the Prescott location was considered the finest in the Arizona territory and supplied residents of the town with goods equal to anything they might find in San Francisco. Michael Goldwater briefly served as mayor of Prescott, and was instrumental in the founding of a fire brigade after a blaze that damaged the Goldwater store.
At one time or another, there were Goldwaters stores in La Paz, Ehrenberg, Prescott, Parker, Seymour, Lynx Creek, Phoenix, Bisbee, Fairbank, Contention, Tombstone, Benson and Critenden. Many of these locations remain only in memory, as ghost towns.
By 1885, Michael Goldwater returned to San Francisco, where his wife had maintained the family home, uninterested in the Arizona business. Well before his death in 1903, Michael left all aspects of the Goldwater enterprise in Arizona to his sons Morris (1852-1939), Baron (1866-1929), and later, Henry (1858-1931). It was Morris that solidified the family's status as a political dynasty as well as a mercantile one. In addition to serving as mayor in Prescott over a long term, he was instrumental in gaining statehood for Arizona in 1921. His brother Baron wanted to remove the store to the larger and more promising town of Phoenix in 1896, against Morris' better judgement. As the story goes, a "game of casino" was won by Baron and that settled the matter on the spot.
When Baron retired, his son Barry Goldwater (1909-1998) ran the store, but when he became an Arizona Senator in 1952, served as Goldwaters chairman of the board. Barry's brother Robert assumed control of the business as president.
It was, though at the Phoenix location that Goldwaters offered Phoenicians "The Best Always" for many years, surviving two world wars and the depression. Postwar prosperity came to Phoenix after the conflict, and the city grew and prospered far beyond its pioneer beginnings. Branch development after the war began with a resort shop in the Arizona Biltmore hotel and a freestanding store in Scottsdale, that was so popular, it had to be enlarged by 1952.
Goldwaters later development included a large new branch in Scottsdale, and later in Mesa and Tucson, and as far away as Albuquerque, New Mexico. In 1962, Goldwaters was purchased by Associated Dry Goods, and eventually the Goldwater name reached as far as Las Vegas.
As the department store industry faced decline and outside competition in the 1980s and 1990s, Associated Dry Goods was purchased by the May Company. Three years later, the Goldwaters name was retired in favor of the owner company's clumsy "Robinsons-May" brand and the saga of this great Arizona mercantile institution came to an end.
Additional stores were at Paradise Valley Mall in 1980, and Fashion Show Mall in Las Vegas in 1981. Was there also a Goldwaters at Tucson's Foothills Mall? If so, what year did it open?ReplyDelete
How long was the Prescott store in operation?ReplyDelete
I am looking for Indian Cowboy Poster that advertised the opening of the PV store. Have you seen one or know where I could find one?ReplyDelete
Goldwters also had a store in Las Vegas but only remained open for a few years until they were bought out by May Co..ReplyDelete
I just discovered through newspaperarchive.com in the Arizona Republic, that the Park Central store opened on November 8, 1956.ReplyDelete
loved the gold fixtures in the store!ReplyDelete
There was a store in the Foothills Mall that opened in 1982. I was there on opening day working in the dress department!ReplyDelete
Here’s a PHOTO of it: https://www.newspapers.com/clip/24413653/arizona_daily_star/Delete
I have a big newspaper ad for Goldwaters white sale about 1961. My son and another boy appeared in itReplyDelete
I didn't think Tucson's Foothills Mall opened until 1983 or 1984 after Tucson Mall opened.ReplyDelete
My Mother worked at Goldwater's in the 1950's and one wonderful memory I have is that of going to picnics at the "Goldwater's Farm" in South Phoenix. There were huge shade trees on green lawns, an older house, and a large swimming pool. Does anyone know exactly where that was, and the history? I believe it was somewhere on Southern Ave.ReplyDelete
My Dad worked for Goldwaters for 30 years. He started as a box boy and left as VP of Operations.ReplyDelete
He helped open the stores in Mesa, Tucson, New mexico and Las Vegas. He Mentored many people who are now Vps and Presidents of other businesses through out the country. He Mainly worked out of Park central in the early days then transferred to Fashion square. He still helps friends with businesses. At 71 years old he is very shrewd and can make anyones business succeed. I think he has old posters of Goldwaters .
Who was your dad? He probably knew mine - was vp/GMM 1976-1982Delete
Thanks for your memories - your dad must be an extraordinary gentleman! - BruceReplyDelete
Earlier I stated My Dad worked for Goldwaters for 30 years. He helped transition with the Robinsons and May company take over. I also Mentioned that many of the people he Mentored were vps and presidents. The companies include Saks fifth, Harbor freight, Dicks sporting goods, and Morgan Stanley in which I found out that particular person survived the 9/11 attack.ReplyDelete
Too funny I was Visual at all 5 of the AZ stores, Diamonds, Goldwaters, Broadway, Levys and Steinfelds.ReplyDelete
The Fiesta and Paradise Valley stores (which both became Macy's) show very similar features...lots of mirrors, glass, and chrome, and wood paneling everywhere. The Macy's/former Goldwater's at Fiesta closed at the end of March of this year (2014). I worked there for almost 4 years, and there were still bits and pieces of the previous incarnations. Lots of flamed maple and dark walnut veneer everywhere, multiple fitting room areas that were later turned into storage/stock space, and there were still items marked with "Goldwater's" throughout the back areas. The freight elevator still had the original stamp stating the place of delivery/installation as "Goldwater's Department Store, Southwest Corner Alma School Road and Southern Avenue, Mesa Arizona." We uncovered a lot of history going through the building, and heard a lot of stories...one associate had worked in the building from the year it opened, 1979, until its closure. The building is still standing, and the Macy's signage is still in place, for the time being. A coworker of mine was lucky enough to discover an aerial shot of Fiesta in its infancy...the mall is a shadow of what it once was, and it will be interesting to see what materializes with the mall, which has recently come under new management by an real estate investment firm.ReplyDelete
My father installed most of that glass, and the mirrors. He won a National design award for his mirror work on the PV escalator. Hoyt Pinair was one of his best friends...... he did all the new stores and remodels late 70's- close. I got some of the Albuquerque jewelry cases when that store was remodeled for my store.... good memories!Delete
Regarding EMBA and fur sales at Goldwaters: since at least 1982, the fur department at Goldwater's was actually run by Robert Schechner Furs. I was a stock boy there and could easily help you identify your mink coat. Just email me at email@example.com and I'll let you know what pictures I need to help you with that.ReplyDelete
Incidentally, it was common practice for department stores to have certain operations actually owned and administered by other companies who actually specialized in whatever particular products the sold. Very often departments such as jewelry, furs and even shoes operated in that manner.
Before the beautiful Fashion Square store was built, Goldwater's had a small boutique type store in a small shopping center just off Scottsdale Road south of Fashion Square. Goldwater's was always a very special store with a real family run feeling to it. I still miss it very much.ReplyDelete
"I am looking for Indian Cowboy Poster that advertised the opening of the PV store. Have you seen one or know where I could find one? "ReplyDelete
I just recently got one of these from someone who had worked at the PV Store. The poster, by Fritz Scholder, has the absolutely iconic silhouette of Barry Goldwater on horseback. Gorgeous.
Was the 30 year vp Mr. Mon_ _ _ _?ReplyDelete
Does anyone know during what time period Goldwaters used the logo with the cactus?ReplyDelete
My father, now 87, was the manager of what I believe to be a Goldwater's outlet store in downtown Scottsdale called "Penny Pincher". The store opened in the Fall of 1961. He went on to manage the Goldwaters store at Fashion Square, then Rhodes Department Store in Phoenix and, later, Goldring's women's ready to wear operating inside of Hanny's stores through the Valley. I recall unpacking cartons, tagging, and bagging garments at the downtown Phoenix store for my Dad in the 1970's.ReplyDelete
I have a wonderful, framed poster of "Sunset Cowboy" by Fritz Scholder, commissioned by Goldwater'sReplyDelete
It says "New Horizons" Paradise Valley Mall, August 1980
I hate to just give to a thrift shop here in Texas if someone is interested...
Since it's in a frame, it's in perfect condition - no fading as it's been at the back of a closet. I worked for a catalog agency in Culver City in the late 80s and I think it was theirs. Happy to roll into a mailing tube for a Goldwater fan. If this site wants a photo, I can do that, too.
Oh I would love that if it is still available.Delete
Thank you for the generous offer! Sadly, I don't have the facilities to store an artifact like that. You may want to donate it to a local or Arizona history museum. At the least, perhaps publishing your offer here will interest a collector who would like to have the poster.ReplyDelete
Worked at Tucson's Foothills Mall location from about 1983 to 87. Worked in housewares and linens with Dorothy as manager. Also became the best of friends with Cathy Spagle. Art was manager at the dock. Bill was Ops Manager. -Dan HodgsonReplyDelete
Here’s a photo of it: https://www.newspapers.com/clip/24413653/arizona_daily_star/Delete
Dan, I opened the Tucson Foothill's Mall location, setting up fixtures, unpacking merchandise and cleaning construction debris. I worked in a few departments, sometimes as a floater in various departments, but truly my first assignment was in Cosmetics, then over to Misses' Sportswear and ended in Fine Jewelry until the end of my tenure there, which was longer than the name of Goldwater's was on the building. I still miss the beauty of the original store, the quality of merchandise and the wonderful people with whom I worked over the 10 years. At times I also covered the El Con Mall Fine Jewelry counters, but Foothill's was always home. I still have my yellow and green name badges, my clear purse and of course my first ever credit card, which was the beautiful Goldwater's golden yellow!ReplyDelete
Here’s a PHOTO of it!: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/364017582377623959/Delete
Does anyone know where I might find Goldwater's Christmas catalogs from the early 70s?ReplyDelete
While a student at the U of A in Tucson, I worked at both the El Con (jewelry department) and Foothills (dress department) Goldwater’s stores. Just today, I came across a stash of the Whirlwind Flintridge china branded Goldwater’s. I know very little about the pattern, other than it was designed by Lillian Wilhelm Smith (cousin of Zane Grey) perhaps while she was artist-in-residence at the Arizona Biltmore. Is there anyone out there who has a memory of this Hopi-inspired pattern? Perhaps a sales associate from the china department?ReplyDelete
Hello. Do you still have the china? I would be interested in buying it. I have several pieces myself and would like to get more to complete a set.Delete
Myou father was Sr VP/GMM of Goldwaters from 1976-1982. Stan Schwarz. Have some of the old posters hanging in my house. Wonderful memories...
Your dad probably knew my dad. Those were the days of Hoyt Pinair, Clarence in store planning, etc. spent time before store openings inside with dad. Great bunch of people.Delete
In 1943 I saved enough money to purchase a dress in Goldwater's in Phoenix. It was brown with big white dots, loved that dress. I amReplyDelete
now 90 years old but have fond memories of the Goldwater's Dept. Store.
And a very healthy memory indeed!Delete
I have a gold wool mod go go style cape poncho the tag reads Goldwater's Fashion Shop Arizona the tag signature of Goldwater looks the same as the department store ..I wonder is it from the Goldwater Family?ReplyDelete
I have a WOMEN'S wool cape definitely from the 1960"s that has a tag that says GOLDWATER'S FASHION STORE ARIZONA...Is it from THE GOLDWATER'S SENATOR BARRY'S DEPARTMENT STORE ?ReplyDelete
I had the pleasure of working for the Goldwater's Phoenix Store in the Fur Department for a few years in the 80's. Good memories until May Company bought them out.ReplyDelete
Did Goldwater's have an oultet at the old Desert Inn in Las Vegas? I received a vintage (plaid) cashmere jacket as a gift from a relative, and the tag sewn inside the lining says "Lebow Chothes - softailored perfection" and "R. Goldwater's, Desert Inn Las Vegas Nevada".ReplyDelete
Its pretty cool, despite being plaid; 100% cashmere; mint condition. Looks like something from the late 50's or early/mid 60's, but the original owner isn't around to answer quetions about it any more.
Just curious about its origins!
I modeled for Goldwater's in Phoenix when I was very young and am looking for a picture of me and a big stuffed standing tiger. It would have been sometime between 1960-1963 when I would have been between 2 and 4 years old. Do you have any ideas on how I could get a copy of the ad/picture?ReplyDelete
i owned a small shop in albuquerque in the 70s and when goldwaters opened their buyers came into my shop and purchased 2 mirrors...when they told me they would hang in the albq store i almost fainted, lol, great memory!!ReplyDelete
I was hired for the personal shopper position for Goldwater's in the Phoenix store during the Christmas season of 1969. It was such a fun job. The store was so beautiful and all the people working there were very special. I was offered the position of head of the Personnel dept just before Christmas, but had to turn the job down because I was getting married and moving too far away to commute. I've always been sorry that I couldn't accept.ReplyDelete
I happen to come across an vintage Desert Fasions Goldwaters black wool pocketbook.I would like to know if it can be looked at?ReplyDelete
I loved the going to the Goldwaters in Albuquerque (1970s). My mother and aunt used to trade our handmade Santo Domingo jewelry for clothing for our family. I'm sure we weren't the only toSD family do so. I loved the packaging of the clothes we got.The boxes had the iconic Sabarro cacti on it . The paper rap!wrap was fancy gold wReplyDelete
I worked at the Park Central Goldwater's in 1977-78. I was fresh out of high school. I was in Misses Sportswear. It was located by the SE entrance. Chardell Steves was my manager and she took myself and two other young associates, Mimi and Melissa, under her wing. The best sales lady was Rose who worked there for years! Good times.ReplyDelete
Found an old photo of my grandfather's there from around 1960 and scanned it in: https://flic.kr/p/2mecLmfReplyDelete