Nordstrom

In 1887, a 16-year-old boy left his home country of Sweden for the promise of New York City. He arrived with only five dollars in his pocket, unable to speak a word of English. His name? John W. Nordstrom.
The first years in the land of opportunity were hard. To make ends meet, young John labored in mines and logging camps as he crossed the United States to California and Washington. Then one morning in 1897, he picked up a newspaper and read the front-page headline “Gold Found in the Klondike in Alaska.” The very next day, he made plans to head north.

In 1887, a 16-year-old boy left his home country of Sweden for the promise of New York City. He arrived with only five dollars in his pocket, unable to speak a word of English. His name? John W. Nordstrom.

The first years in the land of opportunity were hard. To make ends meet, young John labored in mines and logging camps as he crossed the United States to California and Washington. Then one morning in 1897, he picked up a newspaper and read the front-page headline “Gold Found in the Klondike in Alaska.” The very next day, he made plans to head north.
Things were no easier in the Klondike. The labor was hard, the terrain difficult, and there was an over-supply of eager workers. But within two years, John had earned $13,000 in a gold mine stake and returned to Seattle.
Back in the Northwest, John was eager to invest his money. He had befriended a man while in Alaska, Carl Wallin, who owned a shoe repair shop in downtown Seattle. It wasn’t long before the two decided to go into partnership and open a shoe store together.

In 1901, the two opened their first shoe store, Wallin & Nordstrom, in downtown Seattle. This was the start of what would become the retail legend of Nordstrom, Inc.
From the beginning, John’s business philosophy was based on exceptional service, selection, quality and value. The company built a devoted customer base; and in 1923, the partners added their second store.
In 1928, John Nordstrom retired and sold his share of the company to his sons, Everett and Elmer. Carl Wallin retired a year later and also sold his share of the company to the Nordstrom sons. A third son, Lloyd, joined the team in 1933.