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NY Trivia: Would Gimbels Tell Macy’s?

Q: What was Gimbels’ slogan?

A: “Select, don’t settle.”

The company, founded by a German Jewish immigrant, Adam Gimbel, opened a branch in New York City in 1910, which soon became the primary rival to the leading Herald Square retailer, Macy’s. This rivalry entered into the popular argot: “Would Macy’s tell Gimbels?” To distinguish itself from Herald Square neighbors, Gimbels’ advertising promised more: “Select, don’t settle.”

By 1965, Gimbel Brothers Inc. consisted of 53 stores throughout the country, which included 22 Gimbels, 27 Saks Fifth Avenue stores, and four Saks 34th St. Once the largest department store chain in the country, by the time of its closure in 1987, Gimbels had 36 stores throughout the United States.

Jews created many of the first department stores: The Altmans, Kaufmanns, Lazaruses, Magnins, Mays, and Strausses became leaders of major department stores.

Join Menorah for a celebration of Jewish New York, honoring Professor David Shneer. Sunday, September 18, 5:30 pm at the Avalon Ballroom.  To register for “New York, New York” click here. Questions?  contact Kathryn@boulderjcc.org or visit www.boulderjcc.org.

About Kathryn Bernheimer

Director of Menorah: Arts, Culture and Education at the Boulder JCC. The former film and theater critic for the Boulder Daily Camera, Kathryn is the author of "The Fifty Greatest Jewish Movies" and "The Fifty Funniest Films of All Time."

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