Sunday, April 20, 2008

Macy's, Lenox Square, Atlanta, Georgia. Exterior view (with The Great Tree), December 31, 2007. (photo courtesy cantnot of Grocerying)


  1. This reminds me of the tree they put on top of buildings that are under construction. Very nice.

  2. When was the Mens Store expansion added? The building is understately handsome, imho.

  3. The Rich's Men's store was added in the mid-90's.

    Of all the department store conversions that I've lamented here, it was Rich's-to-Macy's that I hated to see the most. Not only was Rich's a fine Atlanta institution, the Macy's stores (former Davison's, for the most part) were extremely classy and, with the exception of a couple, very upscale.

    Macy's closed their stores in Atlanta and converted the Rich's stores to Rich's-Macy's, which debuted at several locations, including Towne Center as a lower-end store with shopping carts, checkout lanes, and drink machines. It was literally like shopping at Target. Locals called it MacyMart, which later became a buzzword used by the Bring Back Marshall Fields people, but it started in the ATL.

    By the time the Rich's name was dropped completely, they had dropped the checkout lanes, but the merchandise never returned to the level that Rich's or Macy's had before the conversion.

    Atlanta is the prime and shining example of Macy's path to ruin. They took two classy, mostly upscale stores and downmarketed them so far that nobody recoginized them as Rich's or Macy's. They also managed to leave empty or mostly empty storefronts all over the city. Very, very sad what Macy's did in Atlanta. It's even sadder to see Rich's grand tradition of the Great Tree standing above the Dark Star logo.

  4. How interesting about the MacyMart moniker, as I never realized it came from Atlanta folks who decried the Rich's conversion into Macy's.....

    Personally(and as someone who's experienced both Rich's and Marshall Field's stores, and their conversions into Macy's, in my lifetime), I'd say both conversions were pretty sad. Of course, I'm still not sure which conversion was worser, as I sadly never saw the original downtown Atlanta Rich's store, before it was shuttered for good. Thankfully though, the building it was located in still stands.

  5. Pat: I guess it is kind of like that, which makes me think of the old Richard Scarry books, where they'd show the framework of a new building with a pine tree on top...but I digress. :-)

    Nitek: Yeah, that store's pretty slick. Brian gives the answer above

    Brian: Rich's was truly one of the great American department stores. I only went to one, but you could tell it was a quality establishment. The loss still stings, especially when you see what replaced it.

    DM; I'd almost say Marshall Field's was the bigger loss, because it still retained something of its original allure until the end. Rich's started fading a little earlier because of the loss of the downtown store as well as the standardization of merchandise Federated enacted.

  6. SS-

    I would definitely agree that Marshall Fields was the bigger loss nameplate-wise.

    Still, every time I go to Atlanta, which is frequent in the summer to see the Braves, I feel a little sad that Rich's isn't there and the Macy's I remember isn't there either.

    Instead, as I've beaten into the ground, there is a sad, sad store with a Macy's sign on the proud old Rich's buildings. The Atlanta market is a double killer.

  7. I get what you're saying completely. How could they bury 150 years of Atlanta retail history with the blink of an eye and nary a kind word?

  8. Stephen: You're probably right about the Marshall Field's conversion being worse, now that I think about it some more. I definitely know that before Federated/Macy's did their nationwide local department store(and of chains part of May Co., later including Field's, after they bought them from Target/Dayton Hudson) conversions into Macy's in 2006, that there weren't any Macy's stores in the Chicago area. Finally, Federated had already converted the Davison's stores into Macy's in the mid-1980s.

    I just have knowledge and experience with both Field's and Rich's, since I grew up in Chicago, and frequently(+ still today) visit my dad's family in Georgia(many which live in the Atlanta area, too).


  9. The 80's conversion of Davison's to Macy's was more accepted as many Atlantans felt the Macyizing was a sign that Atlanta had truly arrived in the eyes of a major retailer. Also, Rich's, while part of Federated since 1976, was still merchandised as it had traditionally been and Davison's had been part of Macy's since the late 20's. Both Davison's/Macy's and Rich's were merchandised more upscale than the mid-90's and later Rich's/Macy's. Campeau taking over Federated and Allied and Macy's LBO and later bankruptcy which led to Macy's becoming part of Federated in 94 signaled the rise of "generic mid-range" department store. Federated actually took the model that Dillard's had wooed Wall Street with and ran with it.

    Atlanta posed a problem as most major malls had both Davison's/Macy's and Rich's. Federated chose to move Macy's downmarket in Atlanta, rebrand outlying Davison's/Macy's as Rich's and more slowly moved Rich's downmarket.

  10. Thanks for the analysis, Ken.

    It's hard to fathom how much Rich's meant to Georgia (and Atlanta in particular) unless you delve into its history, which shows an undying dedication to community service and improvement from its founding well into the 1980s. It was truly an Atlanta institution.

  11. Was there a Marshall Fields in Atlanta at or around Peachtree in the 1980s?