Jordan Marsh

Miami’s first Jordan Marsh store opened downtown in 1956, complete with a swimming pool and a dock. Styling itself “The Store with the Florida Flair,” Jordan Marsh’s sales and profits grew as it opened stores throughout the state — at Sunrise Shopping Center in Fort Lauderdale in 1960, at Colonial Plaza in Orlando in 1962 and Dadeland in 1966 among them. Jordan Marsh wasn’t the dominant store in a market, but it prospered by catering to the upper crust. Its fashion shows were big events where customers sipped champagne and rubbed elbows with couturiers. Bob Hope emceed one at the Fontainebleau; Oscar de la Renta hosted another at Walt Disney World. By 1980, the retailer had 14 stores in South and Central Florida. Sales surpassed $200 million, and net earnings soared to $17.5 million. Just as Jordan Marsh was reaching cruising speed, South Florida’s retail marketplace was overtaken by a series of rapid changes. A recession set in. South Florida’s Latin trade began to ebb. And most ominous of all, a handful of nationally known retailers based in faraway places like New York and Dallas determined that there was money to be made in the Sunshine State. Suddenly Jordan Marsh, which had been content to share the high end of the South Florida market with Burdines, faced the prospect of sharing the same pie with four or five more hungry competitors. Saddled by debt, the store closed its doors in 1991 and was absorbed by Burdines.

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