From Sweden to California’s gold rush and then to a shoe store in downtown Seattle, John W. Nordstrom lived a full life before opening Wallin & Nordstrom in 1901. 

 

 

 

 

 

Profile
  • Headquarters: Seattle, Wash.
  • Founding year: 1901
  • Number of locations as of January 2011: 208
  • Chains: Nordstrom, Nordstrom Racks, Jeffrey
  • FY 2010 net sales: $9.31 billion—the highest in the company’s history

From Sweden to California’s gold rush and then to a shoe store in downtown Seattle, John W. Nordstrom lived a full life before opening Wallin & Nordstrom in 1901. But it was his life after opening that store that changed the lives of consumers. When he opened his store, he did so with a business philosophy based on exceptional service, selection, quality, and value. And after building a devoted customer base, in 1923, he opened his second store. 

By 1960, Nordstrom had grown to become the largest independent shoe chain in the US with eight stores in Washington and Seattle. That same decade the company decided to spread its wings and venture into the clothing market by purchasing Best Apparel in 1963. 

Today, Nordstrom’s reputation stands not only for its founding principles but also for its fashion departments that fit individualized lifestyles. Known for its customer service, generous size ranges, and selection of the finest apparel, shoes, and accessories for the whole family, the company continues to live by the mandates set forth by its founder. 

Said Colin Johnson, PR spokesperson, “We keep it simple and follow a customer-focused strategy. It’s not a brand, technology, price, merchandising, or any other kind of corporate strategy at Nordstrom—it’s about staying focused on improving customer service and taking care of customers one at a time. While our focus doesn’t change, the different tools and opportunities we have available to us continue to evolve, and so we’re taking advantage of them to do a better job of serving the customer. Our hope is that we can find more ways to build on our culture of service going forward.”

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