Link Copied

Blake Nordstrom, a top executive and heir to the department-store dynasty, has died. Here's how the Nordstrom family built their store empire.

Nordstrom was founded as a shoe store by John W. Nordstrom and Carl F. Wallin in Seattle in 1901.

Nordstrom was founded as a shoe store by John W. Nordstrom and Carl F. Wallin in Seattle in 1901.

Source: Nordstrom

Advertisement

In 1923, the partners opened a second store in Seattle's University District.

In 1923, the partners opened a second store in Seattle's University District.
Advertisement

John Nordstrom retired and sold his share to his sons Everett and Elmer in 1928. A year later, Wallin retired and sold his share of the company to the Nordstrom sons. In 1933, John's third son, Lloyd, joined the team as well.

John Nordstrom retired and sold his share to his sons Everett and Elmer in 1928. A year later, Wallin retired and sold his share of the company to the Nordstrom sons. In 1933, John's third son, Lloyd, joined the team as well.
Advertisement
Advertisement

John Nordstrom's sons focused on expanding into women's clothing.

John Nordstrom's sons focused on expanding into women's clothing.
Advertisement

Nordstrom purchased the Seattle-based clothing store Best's Apparel in 1963. Three years later, the company purchased a Portland, Oregon-based clothing store and began offering both shoes and apparel under the name Nordstrom Best.

Nordstrom purchased the Seattle-based clothing store Best's Apparel in 1963. Three years later, the company purchased a Portland, Oregon-based clothing store and began offering both shoes and apparel under the name Nordstrom Best.
Advertisement

In 1966, men's and children's apparel were added.

In 1966, men's and children's apparel were added.
Advertisement

In 1968, the three Nordstrom brothers handed the company over to the next generation. Everett's son Bruce, Elmer's sons James and John, Lloyd's son-in-law Jack, and family friend Bob Bender became the new heads of the company.

In 1968, the three Nordstrom brothers handed the company over to the next generation. Everett's son Bruce, Elmer's sons James and John, Lloyd's son-in-law Jack, and family friend Bob Bender became the new heads of the company.
Advertisement

The third generation of Nordstrom chairmen took the company public in 1971, formally renaming it Nordstrom Inc.

The third generation of Nordstrom chairmen took the company public in 1971, formally renaming it Nordstrom Inc.
Advertisement

The first Nordstrom Rack opened in the basement of the downtown Seattle store in 1973.

The first Nordstrom Rack opened in the basement of the downtown Seattle store in 1973.
Advertisement

That same year, the company became the largest-volume fashion specialty store on the West Coast. Sales surpassed $100 million.

That same year, the company became the largest-volume fashion specialty store on the West Coast. Sales surpassed $100 million.
Advertisement

Expansion of the chain continued throughout the next several decades.

Expansion of the chain continued throughout the next several decades.
Advertisement

In 1995, the third generation of Nordstrom family members retired as co-chairmen, but remained on the Board of Directors.

In 1995, the third generation of Nordstrom family members retired as co-chairmen, but remained on the Board of Directors.
Advertisement

The fourth generation of Nordstrom co-chairmen — Blake, Pete, and Erik Nordstrom —took over the company in 1995.

The fourth generation of Nordstrom co-chairmen — Blake, Pete, and Erik Nordstrom —took over the company in 1995.
Advertisement

Blake Nordstrom became co-president in 1995, but began working in the family business when he was about 11 years old. His first role with the company was in the stockroom.

Blake Nordstrom became co-president in 1995, but began working in the family business when he was about 11 years old. His first role with the company was in the stockroom.

Source: Seattle Times

Advertisement

He held many roles with the company before becoming co-president, including merchandise buyer, regional manager, and then vice president in charge of stores in Washington and Alaska.

He held many roles with the company before becoming co-president, including merchandise buyer, regional manager, and then vice president in charge of stores in Washington and Alaska.

Source: Seattle Times

Advertisement

Erik Nordstrom worked for his older brother in various positions at the company as the two rose through the ranks together.

Erik Nordstrom worked for his older brother in various positions at the company as the two rose through the ranks together.

Source: Seattle Times

Advertisement

"It was always the best working for my brother because he had more confidence in me and gave me more autonomy than anybody I had ever worked for," Erik Nordstrom said in his father's 2007 book, "Leave It Better Than You Found It."

"It was always the best working for my brother because he had more confidence in me and gave me more autonomy than anybody I had ever worked for," Erik Nordstrom said in his father's 2007 book, "Leave It Better Than You Found It."

Source: Seattle Times

Advertisement

The fourth generation of Nordstrom chairmen were in charge beginning in 2006, when Bruce and John Nordstrom retired from their positions on the Board of Directors.

The fourth generation of Nordstrom chairmen were in charge beginning in 2006, when Bruce and John Nordstrom retired from their positions on the Board of Directors.

Source: Seattle Times

Advertisement

In 1998, Nordstrom.com launched.

In 1998, Nordstrom.com launched.
Advertisement

Throughout the 2000s, Nordstrom partnered with fashion brands like Façonnable, Topshop, HauteLook, and Jeffery.

Throughout the 2000s, Nordstrom partnered with fashion brands like Façonnable, Topshop, HauteLook, and Jeffery.
Advertisement

And in 2014, the company started expanding internationally. It opened stores in Canada and Puerto Rico.

And in 2014, the company started expanding internationally. It opened stores in Canada and Puerto Rico.
Advertisement

Last April, Nordstrom opened its first men's store, and a flagship women's store is planned for 2019.

Last April, Nordstrom opened its first men's store, and a flagship women's store is planned for 2019.

Read more: Nordstrom just opened its first store just for men — here's what it's like to shop there

Advertisement
COVID-19IndiaCases: 207,615Deaths: 5,815Recovered: 100,303
COVID-19WorldCases: 6.20mnDeaths: 376kRecovered: 2.73mn
COVID-19USACases: 1.78mnDeaths: 104kRecovered: 464k
More from our Partners