|Gimbels Original buildings on Market Street at 8th Street.|
Gimbels 1925 Chestnut Street Building, on the corner of
9th and Chestnut; the original Market Street is to the left.
|Read Michael Lisicky's|
excellent book about
Gimbel Brothers (1894)
Gimbels Subway Store
Fine Jewelry • Diamond and Watch Center • Silver • Clocks • Costume Jewelry • Real Thing Jewelry • Handbags • Gloves • Leather Accessories • Famous Fashion Hosiery • Slipper Bar • Raintique • Umbrellas • Accessories • Neckwear • Handkerchiefs • Blouses • Sweaters • Sportswear One • Juniors One • Millinery • Hair Accessories • Street Floor Lingerie • Shoe Salon • Casual Shoes • Notions • Candy Center • Gimbel's Book Store • Stationery
Men's Store Men's Furnishings • Men's Accessories • Men's Sportswear • Men's Sport Shirts • New Attitudes
Gift Shop • Pure Foods • Candy Center • Bakery • Smoke Shop
Towels • Sheets • Blankets • Bedspreads • Linens • Bath Shop • Sewing Machines • Fabrics • Cameras • Sporting Goods
Men's Store Men's Clothing • Men's Outerweat • Men's Shoes • Men's Hats
Lingerie • Daywear • Foundations • Sleepwear • Loungewear • Daytime Dresses • Uniforms • Maternity • House and Town Dress Shop
Young World Infants' Shop • Infants' Furniture • Tot's Shop • Toddlers' Shop • Girls' Shop • Girls' Underwear • Teens' Shop • Young Deb Accessories • Boys' Shop • Children's Shoe Salon
Spectator Sportswear • Misses' Blouses • Misses' Sweaters • Active Sportswear • Gimbels-by-the-Sea • Trend Sportswear • Contemporary Sportswear • Women's World • Misses' Dresses • Misses' Coats • Women's Coats • Dress Collection • Pace Setters • Self Expression • Variations on a Theme • Society Hill • Coat Salon • Fur Salon • Bridal Salon • Millinery Salon • Silver Salon for Beauty
Junior World Junior Dress Shop • Junior Sportswear • Junior Coats
Modern Housewares • Small Electrics • Personal Care • Floor Care • Major Appliances • Hardware • Garden Shop • Color Bar • Mirrors • Pictures • Picture Framing • Lamps • Apartment/Department • China • Pottery • Glassware •
Curtains • Draperies • Venetian Blinds • Upholstery Fabrics • Sun Colony • Summer Rugs • Broadloom Carpeting • Oriental Rugs • Home Cleaning Center • Select-at-Home Service
Uncle Wip's Toyland • Art Supplies
Bedroom Furniture • Slumber Shop • Scientific Sleep Shop • Dining Room Furniture • Modern Furniture • Clubwomen's Center
Living Room Furniture • Occasional Furniture Corner • Upholstered Furniture • Maple Furniture • Interior Decorating Studio • Gimbels Home Planning Center • Travel • Customer Lounge • The Gimbel Auditorium
Television Headquarters, USA • Music Center • The Gimbel Restaurant
Cheltenham & Ogontz Avenue
250,000 sq. ft.
69th & Walnut Street
210,000 sq. ft.
Bustleton and Cottman Avenues
240,000 sq. ft.
The Butter Bowl
203,000 sq. ft.
King of Prussia
The Plaza at King of Prussia
172,000 sq. ft.
|Harrisburg East Mall1969|
Park City Mall
194,000 sq. ft.
Oxford Valley Mall
172,000 sq. ft.
Of all the vintage chains you've featured, this is the only one that I've been to the actual stores, though not as Gimbels. Moorestown is now a Boscov's, King of Prussia is a JCPenney, and Harrisburg East is a Macy's. All look remarkably like their renderings and apparently still do good business.ReplyDelete
In 1977 Gimbels moved their Center City store into a new building as part of the Gallery at Market East. I believe it was across the street from the original store. Unfortunately the new store was pretty boring. Wish I'd seen the original location. Somewhere I still have my Gimbels credit cardReplyDelete
My Aunt worked for Gimbels from the 1940's thru her retirement in 1978, having come to Gimbels from Lit Brothers as a "Sales Girl" and working her way up to Buyer for "Ladies Better Dresses". (Quotations are all her words). She was not happy with the move to the Gallery store as she knew that this was the start of the demise of the company.ReplyDelete
I've shopped at both the Gimbels at Oxford Valley Mall, and at Cottman & Bustelton Avenues (Gimbels Great Northeast), when they were both Gimbels, and now as SearsReplyDelete
I remember shopping at Gimbels Cheltenham and Gimbels Market East. The Cheltenham store at Cheltnham Square anchored one end and Acme Supermarket on the other and a Kresge was in the middle of the plaza. I remember their "one day wild" sales. I miss this store along with Strawbridges and Wanamakers.ReplyDelete
I wonder what the store space and directory looked like when Gimbels was in the Gallery? The building is still there--now occupied by Kmart.ReplyDelete
I wrote down a directory for Gimbels in the Gallery at Market East, but I prefer to focus on the original, "real" Gimbels. In my opinion, the move was ill-advised. Gimbels was an icon in its original location, and the fact that the store was outlived by its two of its competitors who did not forsake their original locations, indicates as much. The Market East location was no more successful for Stern's, and I won't comment about the Kmart that's there now.ReplyDelete
Market Street in this area is really forlorn, a far cry from all of the optimism at the time that Market East opened. The site where Santa Claus annually climbed a fire ladder is, after almost 35 years, still vacant, though the Chestnut Street building remains. That street is also downmarket, even though it once housed Saks Fifth Avenue and the proud Benjamin Franklin Hotel.
I worked at Gimbel's during the 70's both in the original store and the new one across the street. There was no way that old store could have remained. It was completely outmoded, grossly oversized and outrageously expensive to operate at almost 1,000,000 square feet. Customers no longer were interested in going to the upper floors of a department store for such items as house paint or pianos. The other three divisions of Gimbel's - in Pittsburg, Milwaukee and New York City were also struggling. New management came to Philadelphia to assess the challenges and to make necessary changes. Within ten years all four divisions were gone, along with hundreds of other department stores across the country. Moving out of the "old" Gimbel's was absolutely the proper thing to do, however.ReplyDelete
I worked at the main store from 1975-1981. I think I knew Acshowtp Aunt! I was a buyers' clerical at Gimbels from 1975-1977 working for better sportswear until I became their youngest executive trainee (I was 21). On slow days you could get some of the older buyers to talk about the good ol'days when their department was actual their business and they rented the space from Gimbels. I miss those days... best job I ever had.
Even though I loved the old building, it was a firetrap. Most of the square footage was hidden from the public behind fake walls. At times there were tons of old stock just sitting behind the walls waiting for disposal.
The oddest thing I remember of the old building is that the stalls in the ladies room were set up as private wash rooms which included a comfortable bench and a sink.... oh, wait... maybe that was the old Strawbridge building... I worked there too before 1974.
My dad worked as an electrician at Gimbel's in Philadelphia. He was there in the '60s and '70s. I remember that at Christmas time, the women in the ladies sports ware department would help pick out gifts for my mom. My family made special trips to the city on "20%" day for employees. I bought my wedding dress there in 1975. Visiting my dad at work was fun...especially when he got caled to fix a broken wooden elevator and I was on it!ReplyDelete
You're bringing up more memories. My first "adult" job was in Gimbel's downtown. I worked in "notions" which included all sorsts of litle gadgets, sewing items, personal care, etc. Gimbel's hosted the Thanksgiving Parade. Employees were encouraged to participate and offered a $5 gift certificate for doing so! I remember going to the floors above the selling floors and it was like a museum. All of the displays from previous years were stored there and it seemed they never dispossed of anything. Beutiful items unfortunatly lost upon their move to the incredibly boring and sterile store across the street. Gimbel's had wooden escalators in both of the original Market St buildings.....Love your site!! Martinscq@yahoo.com
My husband and I met working at Gimbel's NE, 1977-1983. He in Budget Men's while attending College; I was in the 'concession' Candy Department, Price Candy (formerly Charlmont, which had a following from Lit Brothers). Participated in the Thanksgiving Day Parade with our friends. Lots of good memories. My aunt worked in the Children's Department in the Upper Darby store. She was from France and had an accent that appealed to the shoppers!ReplyDelete
I remember the shaky wooden escalators in the Market Street side of the store and the ramps connecting the various parts of each floor. Apparently whenever an expansion took place Gimbals purchased a neighbouring building, installed an archways and ramps to account for the difference in floor levels. It could be very disorienting ! Lit's down town was the same.ReplyDelete
My Nan worked at Gimbel's in Philadelphia in the 1930's. She was a Professional Gift Wrapper. She talked about standing for very long hours in high heels. She said that she loved her job there, though. Nan taught me how to make some very creative bows! At Christmas, I would take take my gifts to her house and we would wrap our presents together. She would tell me stories about working at Gimbel's.ReplyDelete
I worked in the old Gimbel's Chestnut Street building 20 something years ago on the 7th Floor. It looked so impressive on the outside but the office conversion was quite haphazardly done. It was quite a difference from being there as a young kid.ReplyDelete
Also, which of the anchor stores at Granite Run was the Gimbel's site?
My Aunt had worked here for over 40 yrs, I have employees books that date back to the yearly 20's with pictures and awards. Also pictures of the award dinnersReplyDelete
The Boscov's at Granite Run Mall was the Gimbels site.ReplyDelete
I worked in the retail audit department while in high school in 1972 & 73. It was a great job and I loved going into that building!ReplyDelete
In the 70s the main Philly Gimbels also had a coins (numismatic) department on the Street Floor on Market, separate from all the jewelry depts. listed at the top of the page. It was worked by a guy named Joe. I was a kid starting a collection and Joe was really nice and helpful to me. They might've sold stamps too, I can't remember, I wasn't into philately. Of course, that and the other neat stuff there didn't make the move over to The Gallery in 1977.ReplyDelete
My Dad, a firefighter in Philadephia, was the firefighter who drove Ladder 23. The Hook and Ladder was utilized for the Gimbel's Thanksgiving Day parade every year so that Santa Claus could climbed up the Ladder to the 3rd floor of Gimble's to "kick off" the holiday shopping season. Every year I sat on that apparatus to see Santa make his climb to Gimbel's 3rd floor where the toy department was located. The firefighter who drive Ladder 23 located in Chinatown at 10th and Cherry was Joe McSloy. Joe was also the brother of Bernard McSloy who lost his life in the Barson's fire in Northeast Philadelphia where the floor collapsed and demised several firefighters on May 16, 1976.ReplyDelete
Does anyone remember if it was Gimbels which had a monarail at Christmas time in the 60's and early 70's? My mother use to take us into Phila as a special treat at that time of year.ReplyDelete
I think it was John Wanamaker's and it not that leaves Strawbridges, Lit Brother's or Shelling Brother's.Delete
The monorail was actually at the John Wanamaker store; where Macys is currently located on 13th and Market. The Please Touch Museum salvaged the monorail and it's now part of an exhibit at the museum's current home in Memorial Hall in Fairmount Park.ReplyDelete
I just discovered this site and am having fun exploring it. My grandfather was a Philadelphia fireman, and my dad was an ornamental plasterer who worked in many of the buildings in Philadelphia. He and others helped create Christmas decorations. I believe he made a huge elephant for the display in 1948, 1949, or 1950. I don't have any photos and am not sure he did this for Gimbels or one of the other big department stores. But if anyone has information about that, I'd love to hear about it.ReplyDelete
Which branch locations were taken over by Sterns? I think that they did not buy all of the Gimbels stores. What happened to the branches that Sterns did not purchase?ReplyDelete
Which branch locations were taken over by Sterns in the late 1980? Also, what happened to the branches that Sterns did not purchase? Just wondering.....ReplyDelete
To answer the question about the Gimbels-Philly locations that Stern's took over, see my post on the Stern Brother's exhibit. It was not a high point in retail history.ReplyDelete
I worked in Gimbels from 1957 till July 1958, when I joined the army. I was in high school at the time, and loved the part time job. I worked in the "cash office" on the 7th floor. Had a wonderful manager, and assistant manager, and worked with two great men that were in their 30's at the time. I was 16 and 17 years old when I worked there. I collected the monies throughout the store, sorted it, and wrapped it. all of which was done on machines. I have fond memories of the store, and the OJ accros the street where I would buy lunch when I worked on Saturdays.ReplyDelete
I work at the Gimbels warehouse in Queens New York. Looking for a good Douglas whom I work with. It was great summer job.ReplyDelete
My great grandmother worked as a buyer and sales rep for Gimbels in the 1930's. Thank you for all the info on your siteReplyDelete
I would love to find out if my great Nana's picture is in any of the old employees books or award dinners pictures. My mother was raised by her and said she was ALWAYS very well dressed, quite the business woman and did VERY well at Gimbels.ReplyDelete
My first job out of college was with Gimbels. I was there from'75-80'I still have my 5 year pin and will never sell it. I have nothing but fond memories of the people I met along the way. I spent my entire 5 years in the budget store. I helped with the new downtown opening and I felt that we lost a lot of the downtown flavor that the old store had.ReplyDelete
Thanks for your comments. That Gimbels downtown store lasted in its original location for roughly 83 years, contrasted with the fact that the new one barely squeezed out a decade supports your last statement. It is too bad that the building was prematurely demolished (except for the 1920s portion on Chestnut Street)because it was a historic part of the city's fabric, and the site has been a parking lot ever since.ReplyDelete
They had this candy I have been hunting for for years. I think they were called Persian mints or something like that. My aunt bought them for me in the 60's . The Pittsbugh store. They were pale green creamy meltaways . If anyone knows what they were or if you know who may have them please contact me! Thank you.ReplyDelete
My fiance insists there was a log cabin outside of the Gimbel's on Cottman Ave.... is this true? Are there any photos of it?ReplyDelete
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My wife went to college in the Philly area in the 70's so we were in & out of all the old Philadelphia department stores every time we went downtown. I went to work at Gimbels NY in '76 right out of college, rose to Buyer in the Budget Store and bailed out in '83 shortly before the owner BATUS pulled the plug.ReplyDelete
After BAT bought Gimbels from the family back in '73 or so they did a detailed analysis of all 4 Gimbels' "flagship" stores. 3 of the 4 they determined could be renovated & modernized but the old Philly Market Street location was just too far gone. It was also way too big (over 1 million SF of selling space at its height) for the Philadelphia market based on sales/sf and the cost just to fix it up so it could be renovated would have been astronomical. I agree the new Market East store was/is a typical "sterile" retail space with little or no character compared to the old store.
I have a question, I collect old pins, and I just recently acquired a small pin , on the front of it has Gimbels East , rectangular shape , then on either side they look like leaves "almost military in style". on the back looks like the lettering cTo, another symbol which I cannot tell what it stands for, underneath' STERLING'. could you please let me know if this was like a crest pin for an employee? and around what year? my grandmother use to take me and my brother to Gimbels every weekend , we could pick out one toy , and of course got our pictures taken w/Santa. I miss those days sooo much. Everyone was allways so nice, even when we would play in the ladies garment section! The Sales lady caught me one time w/a bra over my head, of course my grandmother and the Sales Lady tried not laughing in front of me and my brother. Better days and different 'era'!!ReplyDelete
"Gimbels East" could refer to either the new store Gimbels built on the upper East Side of New York in 1972, or the combined New York and Philadelphia divisions of Gimbels from just before the store closed in 1986. Without seeing the pin, I can't say what it refers to - I might think it was a giveaway for kids also. Perhaps a former Gimbels employee who likes this site might comment on it.
I recently inherited 2 small framed oil paintings. Portraits of gentlemen smoking pipes. The only identifying marks that I could find are on the back of each "Gimbel Brothers Picture Department"..numbered 19322. Anyone have any background info on the "Picture Department? These paintings are 85-100 years old I believe. ThanksReplyDelete
Does anyone know if at the ottoman ave location if there was a log cabin at the ottoman ave entrance?ReplyDelete
To the pin collector on 4 Apr 2014: As to what the marks on the sterling pin mean, that cTo is the maker's mark, O.C. Tanner of Salt Lake City, still in business today. That other mark will be for the year. Google "sterling silver marks" and you will find the meaning of that mark in one of those links. It should be a year 1927 or later, when Tanner was founded. Sorry but I can't seem to reply to messages with Reply, others have reported this cross-browser problem.ReplyDelete
I am currently doing a thread about Philadelphia (found here http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=213123 ) and I was wondering if I could use some of the images as part of the Gimbel's writeup?
Yes, and thank you for asking. You may email me at firstname.lastname@example.org in case you need anything specifically.ReplyDelete
Was an employee of Lancaster, Gimbels for 15 yrs. Do you have any information on Batus Retail Group? Does it still exist for the pension from Gimbel employees??ReplyDelete
when I was a little girl ,now at 45, my mom shop at gimbels on Saturday, and it was the best part of my week. when I got ready for prom.. yes gimbels was the place for my prom dress...when gimbels left I was not in town, I cry me eyes out... my kids will not see the place I love to shop with my mom... I love to have a photo of gimbels, in Philadelphia center city for my house....love gimbels 4 life...Barbara Loveland,ReplyDelete
My first job out of college in 1974 was at Gimbel's Department Store at 8th and Market St. in Philadelphia. I worked in the Notions Department, selling needles, thread, ribbon, yarn and similar merchandise. My department was quite busy, especially around Christmas time. And as an employee, I really liked the fact that I had a 20% discount on anything I bought from the store. I remember working on a big cash register, which is probably in a museum somewhere. We had to press number keys to "register" and add up the cost of the merchandise. Credit cards were also processed manually through a machine that imprinted the card on the sales receipt and its "carbon" copy. In those days every department store issued their own credit cards, and you could not use Gimbels' credit card at Lits or Strawbridges and vice versa. MasterCard, Visa, and Discover Card did not exist. Gimbels' credit cards were made of tin or stainless steel. Computers, barcodes, and electronic scanning machines had not been invented yet. If you had a full time job, or you were a student with a work-study grant, you could easily get a credit card from Gimbels. Gimbels was one of the first Department Stores to issue a credit card to me, and I still have some of the things I bought there.ReplyDelete
Gimbels had great merchandise that was affordable to people on a budget. Gimbels was my mother's favorite store. She bought most of our Christmas presents, school clothes, and Easter outfits there. I remember that going "in town" to shop at Gimbels was a special event for which we kids had to put on our best clothes. One year (I think it was 1964), In the basement of Gimbels, they installed a small fast food kiosk (what we used to call a "hot dog stand"). My mother, brother and I watched in amazement as the waitress heated our hot dogs in less than a minute, in a new device called a "Radar Range". It was the first microwave oven to be used commercially, and soon thereafter you could buy one of these remarkable inventions.
I fondly remember Gimbels, and was very sad to see it close.
I will a;ways remember the Thanksgiving parade and Santa Clause going up the Hook and Ladder truck to Toyland....Also the great Santa Visiting locations in all the dept. stores of ole Philly..ReplyDelete
I have a huge clock that hung inside the Phila Gimbels - anyone have any photos of inside the store in the 20's/30's?ReplyDelete
I worked for Gimbels Phila. in both the 8th & Market and when it moved across the street. The new location had no charm, but the old structure was way too much to operate. My first job out of college in the 70's and I started as an assistant buyer in the budget men's work clothes/young mens/Wramgler shop. I remember opening day at the new location and having to shut off the esclator for customer safety. I worked in the King of Prussia location for a couple of years. I still fondly have my 5 year pin. Met alot of great people along the way.ReplyDelete
Mike I worked with you in 77 when we moved the store to The Gallery, what an undertaking. I was in Budget Linens. I do remember you from K of P as well.Delete
Brian, I remember you as well, those were great days! I would like to reconnect. I’m retired now an living in the PoconosDelete
Brian, I remember you as well. The good old days. I’m retired now and living in the Poconos. Would like to find a way to reconnect.Delete
Please email anytime at email@example.com. I'm semi retired working at KOHL'S part-time. Recently I've been in touch with Steve Mischenko and Eliot Dubin who also worked in the Budget Store. Steve and I worked for Bert Wittenstein. Eliot was a buyer in Budget Mens. He may have come to Gimbels after you transferred to King of Prussia.
How disappointing it was for Gimbles Market East to close after the hope of how The Gallery would revitalize retail in Center City
"It's beginning to look a lot like Gimbels!!" I used to love when that jingle came on, when I was a kid.ReplyDelete
"It's beginning to look a lot like Gimbels!!" I used to love this jingle, when I was a kid.ReplyDelete
I worked at Gimbel’s at the Harrisburg East Mall when the mall opened in 1969. I worked sales in the men’s department in a specialized area known as “The ‘In’ Shop” where the current (for the time) styles were available. I met a salesgirl who worked in men’s accessories. I couldn’t afford to marry with my little salary, so I found another job external to Gimbels. We were married in 1970 and we’ve been together to this day, with 3 kids, 8 grandkids, and (so far) 3 great grandkids. We will never forget our Gimbel days.ReplyDelete
Why can't I find the commercial for it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas?ReplyDelete
I have been trying to find it also. It's nowhere!Delete
I still have the 45 rpm record of the Gimbels theme song..."walk right in...feel at home...Gimbels is the place to shop." I was a sales girl in Showcase 5 during the late 60cs.ReplyDelete
worked the green acres store in valley stream..toni bianco was a security? troublemaker who put her nose into everyone's business! worked concession there also...worked with a really pretty gal named judy. ms mann was a doll! I still remember conceited pat murray who acted like she was something special we always laughed at her! the mall was a lot nicer and safer in the 70's and 80's!ReplyDelete
How can I get more information on an antique piece I have inherited.ReplyDelete
My granddaughter picked up 2 framed watercolors that have a Gimbel Brothers Philadelphia sticker on the back. #1628ReplyDelete
I would love to find out more about them. The artist signature appears to be A M Moore . There is also a pencil (note) at the bottom of each (under the glass ) it reads...Camellia " Rev. john Bennet" The other reads ....Camellia " Hermes"
I have 6 glossy 8x10 photos of 1948 Gimbel Brothers-Philadelphia "Fifth Annual Assembly of Famous Fashion" displays that I'd like to sell. Taken by Freedman Photos on Mar 4 1948 Anyone interested?ReplyDelete
Looking for info on a miniature carbed pipe with a dog. Has a case with Gimbel Brother's Philidelphia on the inside.ReplyDelete
Sadly, if the economy rebounds after COVID the King of Prussia building will be torn down and a multi story parking deck will go in its place. Then three or four residential/office buildings will be built to attach to that deck. The septa route 100 extension will then build a train station across the street from all this new construction. That building has been empty for years, since JCP began closing stores nationwide. Since JCP only used a small portion of the third floor for administrative offices, the escalators were boxed in to prevent access to the unused space, preventing the top floor sky light from brightening up the space. The 1979 renovation of that store was crazy. Turning the lowest floor into a fake north African bazaar was a choice that was in stark contrast to the space age architecture!ReplyDelete
Hello, Gimbels fans. I recently purchased a leather handbag from the Goodwill here in Philadelphia. On the inside of the bag is a tag that says:ReplyDelete
"Made Expressly for Gimbels
The bag is in perfect condition, & I plan on keeping it for the rest of my life.
The second photo from the top of the page contains a typo. Near the bottom of the photo, it says, "Philadelphia Chestnurt Street." Of course, that should be "Chestnut." If it's still possible, you may wish to correct.ReplyDelete
Separately, in Gimbel's Philly's downtown location, I seem to recall there was a train hanging from the ceiling of the toy department kids could ride. Am I correct, or am I confusing Gimbel's with Wannamaker's?
The train was in Wanamaker's Toy department. As I recall it ran during the holiday shopping season.Delete
I recently acquired a oil painting sign d by SHELLEY and was told painted a series of these for Gimbels Dept Store. Do you have any more information and who is SHELLEY?ReplyDelete