Sunday, March 16, 2008

More from The Ivey's Archive

J. B. Ivey & Company, Charlotte, North Carolina. Exterior of the Uptown Charlotte store during the 1970s. (courtsey Pat Richardson)

J. B. Ivey & Company, Charlotte, North Carolina. Grand Opening print advertisement for the Eastland Mall store, 1975. (courtsey Pat Richardson)

J. B. Ivey & Company, Charlotte, North Carolina. Men's clothing print advertisement, 1981. (courtsey Pat Richardson)

J. B. Ivey & Company, Charlotte, North Carolina. Woman's clothing print advertisement, 1984. (courtsey Pat Richardson)

J. B. Ivey & Company, Charlotte, North Carolina. Interior of the Uptown Charlotte store, after closing for the last time, August 17, 1990. (courtsey Pat Richardson)

Find more Ivey's memories like these in The Ivey's Archive


  1. Ugh. That facade is heinous. I do like the wrap-around band where the logo is, but I don't know who in their right mind ever thought that covering up all the windows like that was a good idea. Thank goodness they've taken all that off.

    I love that suit the guy is wearing -- you can't find a 2-button coat with a vest anymore (I've only been able to find 3-button coats).

  2. There is at least 1 vintage Ivey's store left. The Dillard's at Orange Park Mall outside of Jacksonville is STILL unrenovated from the Dillard's buyout. I'm talking extremely worn pink carpet, pink and purple painted fixtures, etc. It's really something to see.

    The odd thing is, Orange Park is a fairly upscale mall. It's not quite as high end as the Avenues is, but they share many of the same stores.

    The Dillard's/Ivey's at Merritt Square in Cocoa Beach was also vintage Ivey's the last time I was there, but that has been several years.

  3. Pat has some great shots of Ivey's on his blog

    Matt: It's not attractive, but that's what all the department stores were doing at the time. Windows were considered obsolete in the "air conditioner era."

    My dad had a Stafford suit like the HSM shown in the ad. Back then, you weren't properly dressed without the vest. After the button stance got higher on jackets in the late '80s, the vest was considered unnecessary, and only now, nearly twenty years later, are we seeing vests again, though yo never see one that matches the jacket still.

    Brian: I've only seen an exterior shot of the Orange Park Dillard's, but it sounds like something I'd get a kick out of.

    Dillard's Hanes Mall in Winston Salem has never been remodeled, but it technically was never open as an Ivey's, though it was designed as one. The Chapel Hill Dillard's store has only had slight renovations since 1973.

  4. The Dillards across town from OP at the Avenues sits on a pad planned for Ivey's, but it was designed and opened as a Dillard's in 1990, and I'm told was one of the first to use the trademark Dillard's look inside and out that we are so familiar with now.

    I don't know the timeline of the Ivey's buyout, but it had to predate the name change by at least a year, based on the stores that were planned as Ivey's, but opened as "classic-looking" Dillard's in 1990. Maybe someone who knows more can enlighten me.

    By the way, Steve, did you catch my scathing review of my trips to a couple of Macy's in the Macy's (former Hecht's), The Streets at Southpoint post? Thought you'd appreciate it based on all the Belk bashing I've done.

  5. I did get to read your review, Brian. Outside of New York, the new Macy's has left me a bit cold, and I agree that they sell more crap than anything substantive, which is highly magnified in the rural markets. To think they killed nearly every department store chain in America to create...THAT? Way to flop.

    Ivey's sold out to Dillard's in 1990. The news was announced on May 5th. I distinctly remember seeing the Greensboro paper that day. The stores were known during the summer as "Ivey's, a division of Dillard's," but were converted by the holidays.

    I think the stores that were under construction as Ivey's were allowed to continue with Ivey's designs, but any store that hadn't started construction was altered to fit Dillard's new look.

    I think the "classic Dillard's" stores on Ivey's sites likely opened in 1991, rather than 1990, because Dillard's wouldn't have time to change stores that radically over a summer unless they were moving really fast.

  6. I know that the Ivey's in Cary didn't open as Dillard's until April 1992. Cary Towne was expanded drastically the year before, so renovating the former Ivey's may have been a low priority. I'd be interested in seeing what Cary Village looked like before 1991.

  7. I would love to see the Dillard's/former-Ivey's stores that Brian mentioned (a few comments above).

    Thanks Steve for posting these pics--I have been surprised on what a small amount of photos of Ivey's in Charlotte seem to exist--especially compared to the amount of Charlotte-Belk's photos I have come across. From what I can tell, Ivey's was actually the dominant retailer here in Charlotte for most of the time. They also seemed to be considered slightly above Belk in terms of prestige.

  8. "Ivey's, a division of Dillard's,"

    With that phrase, I'm having horrible flashbacks to "Proffitt's, a Division of Belk" that popped up on the Jumbotron at Neyland Stadium for every football replay that fall. *Shudder*

    Pat, I would take some pics of the Orange Park Store, but I'm not sure I'm going to able to make it down there for the Florida family vacation this year. Just imagine wood floors, the trademark Ivey's Glass elevator with big round lights on it in the middle of the store, worn and disgusting pink and purple carpet, pink and purple paint with multiple labelscars from long-discontinued brands, etc. With as much as the Dillard family obsesses with the condition of the very nice Knoxville West Town store when they visit, I find it hard to believe that they ever walk thru the OPM store.

    Steve, I hate to turn this thread into a Macy's discussion, but I'll say this, Belk killed Proffitt's and Parisian, but ultimately replaced them with stores that at least resemble what they once were. Macy's managed not only to kill some great stores, but also to destroy themselves and the brand they spent 100 years building. Ad they managed to do all of this in, oh, the last 5 or 6 years.

  9. Jake: I don't think Dillard's ever opened in the old Ivey's in Cary. If I remember correctly, the plan was to close the store anyway to build a new Ivey's and convert the old one into mall space, so they closed in 1990, and then built a new store using the Dillard's design.

    I don't have any memories of Cary Village, but I don't ever recall anyone bragging about how nice it was like you do with a lot of mall, so I'm thinking it wasn't that memorable.

    Pat: Belk was considered a quality store, but it was always in the shadow of Ivey's, which was considered Charlotte's carriage trade department store.

    Really, Ivey's was always more of what we once called a specialty store, primarily focused on soft goods, while Belk was more of a traditional department store.

    Still, they were more alike than different, and in most folks' eyes, Ivey's was the better store until the '80s, when they pretty much were equal in influence.

    Brian: Dillard's Orange Park Mall sounds like Ivey's Carolina Circle's virtual twin. Man, I wish I could see that place!

    You can trace Macy's destruction as a brand to the arrogance of Federated/Macy's management.

    They were so intent on creating a national product that they threw away what made the department stores special. The end result is a store that pleases no one. It's too high for bargain hunters and too cheesy for fashionistas.

    I wish them best of luck; they're going to need it.

  10. That explains some of it. But why wouldn't anyone have anything to say. Up until some mass homogenization in the late 1990s, there were some relics of Cary Towne's past that I thought were really cool. I would go there all the time as a kid. Now, it's just so boring, I don't want to go near it.

  11. That's not to say that Cary Village was a bad mall, but I've just never heard anybody wax nostalgic about it.

  12. Was the downtown Ivey's on a long, slow spiral, or did Dillard's make a knee-jerk reaction to close it?

  13. Brian has a good question about the downtown Ivey's, especially since Dillard's eschews downtown department stores.

    For the most part, Macy's/Federated is following Wall Street's directive about creating a national brand and cutting costs by reducing staffing, bland merchandising, eliminating stores that would have survived under their original ownership despite being marginal or unprofitible,etc.
    Wall Street fell in love with Dillard's approach to standardization and expansion and pressured the remaining publicly held department store chains to follow suit. May was following the same approach, only slower than Federated, and Target had eliminated its parent Dayton and Hudson banners for Marshall Fields prior to selling Fields to May, while Saks Inc became unfocused and unwieldly in the process.

    Fortunately, Belk is family held, eliminating some of Wall Streets pressures, but the consolidation of its existing partnerships, along with acquiring Saks' Southern Department Store Group and Parisian, reflect the reality of consolidation for survival. But Belk still tailors the store for the demographics and size market it serves while Dillard's and Macy's are hobbled with homogenation.

    Had May continued its course, it's likely they would have created a national brand for Marshall Fields and returned Lord&Taylor to a true luxury department store as it is now doing, paralleling Macy's/Bloomingdale's hierarchy of Federated.

  14. Brian: I don't know for certain, but I have a feeling that Ivey's kept the Uptown store as long as it did because it still did decent business, though obviously having as many local branch stores as they did had to have cut into this location's sales over time.

    Anon: Wall Street understands finances, but its theories make no allowances for shopper behavior. People will shop at standardized consolidated stores, but that doesn't mean they're happy or loyal, which is what Dillard's found out over time, and likely what Macy's is finding out. Hopefully Belk will avoid some of this, and is learning from their competitors' mistakes.

  15. See, I disagree with the Dillard's standardization comment with regards to a Macy's comparaison, because I thing you're talking about two different stratagys.

    While, yes, Dillard's stores are pretty standard as far as their offerings, they do have a certain amount of local flavor/adjustment. They also have a merchandise mix that is significantly more upscale than the run of the mill Macy's, tho they adjust the mix of upscale/standard based on location and add super upscale stuff to some locations. All Dillard's sell Polo, all Dillard's have nested suits, tho they all don't have the same selection of each. If I'm on the road and have a suit ruined (as has happened), I know I can go to any Dillard's and get a Hart suit to replace the one lost.

    Dillard's also operates stores that are marginal to slightly unprofitable to maintain a presence in certain areas. It paid off in Knoxville, as they stuck with the highly unprofitable Knoxville Center (East Town Mall) store, which has in the last year turned around to be profitable.

  16. OK, maybe Dillard's isn't quite the same as the others. I was being a little too general.