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Tuesday, September 20, 2005


Sign the petition to save Marshall Fields!

Marshall Field's Name Change Upsets Some
By DON BABWIN, Associated Press Writer

CHICAGO - It has always been much more than a department store. It's the magical place where parents brought their children to see the windows at Christmastime, where those children grew and did the same with their kids — stopping, of course, to visit the one true Santa Claus.

It is Marshall Field's. Or simply "Field's" to everybody in Chicago.
For longer than anyone can remember, Marshall Field's has been one of the few constants in an ever-changing city. With its famous clock, the store that was built in stages between 1892 and 1914 is as much a part of the city's landscape as Wrigley Field and Sears Tower.

On Tuesday, Federated Department Stores Inc., said it is planning to change to Macy's the name of all 62 Marshall Field's, including the one on State Street that dates back to 1892. And if it seems like just another merger or name change that happens all the time with very little fuss — even in Chicago, there wasn't much noise when the White Sox's Comiskey Park became U.S. Cellular Field — to those who grew up with Marshall Field's this is different.

"It's so awful I can't even believe it," said Tracy Kepler, a 37-year-old attorney who can recall in vivid detail time spent at the store as a child, including the trip to see the windows every Christmas Eve day, followed by a meal in the Walnut Room.

Kepler said she e-mailed the news to all sorts of people, including ex-Chicagoans who live all over the country.

"Everybody is outraged," she said. "I e-mailed my girlfriend who lives in Colorado and she had a conference call with her parents who now live in Omaha and her sister who's in Shreveport (Louisiana), and they're all commiserating about it."

Carol Kuhn of nearby Lake Zurich agreed. "Marshall Field's is Chicago," she said.

Jeanne Bedon of Park Ridge has her own memories of the store, starting with the Christmas parties that were closed to the public that she got to attend because her mom worked there every year. "It was so glamorous," she said.

It also was something that was uniquely Chicago. Despite being the template for stores such as Filene's in Boston and Gimbel's in New York, Marshall Field's belonged to just one place.
Chicago's biggest cheerleader, Mayor Richard Daley, took a different view.

"Things change. If you aren't willing to accept change, then you stay in the past and we're never going to stay in the past in this city," he said. "The thing that I like is that they're going to reinforce that store as a destination, just like Macy's in New York."


Kinesta said...

I can't believe the Mayor thinks Field's needs to become a NYC clone in order to attract tourists. If I wanted to go to Macy's I would go to NYC.

Mitch Glaser said...

You're blogging about retail???!!!

The Gust said...

I am very upset about this change. I have been a loyal Dayton's and Field's shopper for years and have always patronized the downtown St Paul store. However, I will no longer.

For years I wouldn't set foot into the mall of America for the failure to put a Dayton's in there (instead they have a Macy's), and when I finally did enter Macy's, I was completely unimpressed.

At one time Macy's was about a quality product. In this day and age though, it represents the WalMartization of the United States.


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