Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A good history of the great department stores

Service and Style: How the American Department Store Fashioned the Middle Class
by Jan Whitaker

This is an interesting book about the history of the grand department stores. It gives only passing mention to Herpolsheimer's but talks about many similar stores and the unique features they had, such as rooftop zoos, playrooms and train rides.


Anonymous said...

My grandfather, Klaas Bulthuis, worked for Herpolsheimers back in the early 1920's as a salesman for their appliance department. He had to move his family from Holland to Kalamazoo and he had to buy his first car because he also had to deliver 'the goods'. He did that for a few years and then was 'recruited' by Home Furnace Company in Holland (not Holland Furnace Company) and moved back to Holland about 1925.

Jim said...


I am tring to locate any portrait paintings that were done of the Herpolsheimer family members by artist Mathias J. Alten. Alten painted two portraits that hung in the department store for years.


I have many wonderful memories of Herpolsheimer's. The basement at Christmas was really wonderful. The train on the ceiling was the best thing about Christmas downtown. You could look down on all the cool toys FOR FREE!

Busybee1952 said...

My grandmother, Gladys (SallY) Brown, worked at Herpolsheimers also in the 1920's. I believe she was in the cosmetics department. I can remember my grandparents taking me there at Christmas time in the later 1950's and I got to talk to Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer!

Llyn said...

I worked in the office at Herpolsheimer's when my husband and I were first married in 1977. Each salesman & woman truly loved their jobs & their customers & coworkers. They always wore smiles on their faces & aimed to serve all. I enjoyed working there, at Herp's and felt like I was a welcome part of a big corporate family. Llyn