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News Blog

Nordstrom: We Will Rack You

by Jerre Wroble
- Posted // 2012-03-10 -

City Weekly is a fish out of water when it comes to covering the City Creek grand opening. Since one of the perks of working here is not having to fork over our hard-earned quarters on drab business attire, shopping at upscale department stores, for many of us, is considered not unusual but certainly cruel punishment. We're more likely to show off amazing finds from craft bazaars and consignment stores.

So how do I explain my crush on Nordstrom?

Nordy's had me at hello since my 20s, in Alaska, of all places. It was the place to buy classic blazers and skirts to get through a job interview and serious talks with a banker or attorney (not that I had such talks, but I could dream). The makeup, handbags and belts from that era became "stuff" that traveled with me.

Above all, Nordy's was a place for shoes. That's how the store got its start in 1901 -- as a humble shoe store in downtown Seattle that grew to become the country's largest. Nordstrom expanded in the '60s and brought on women's clothing and, in 1971, became publicly traded. Now, with 225 stores in 29 states, Nordy's should, by all rights, be too big for its britches, but somehow has maintained a personal way of doing business.

Previewing the new store at the City Creek center on Thursday, I felt that old familiar crush begin to build. My well-worn blazers and handbags are a testament to five or six years of Nordy deprivation (honestly, the Fashion Place store never did it for me). I felt hopeful again, like I might yet be rescued from my "purple- and a red-hat" wearing ways.

Beyond great stuff to buy, though, is the abiding Nordstrom ethos. They're different. They take returns without guilt tripping you, and tailor your purchases to fit. They have personal shoppers who solve fashion emergencies. Their dressing rooms are roomy and well-lit. And a good many of City Creek's 240 employees will be outfitted with iPads and mobile registers to speed up transactions.

This is a smaller, cozier store than the old Crossroads property. Its walls feature artwork by Utah artists. There are couches and loungers and places to relax and use free Wi-Fi, including a diner called Sixth & Pine whose windows frame Temple Square's Assembly Hall (no booze, of course, is served, but a strong cup of joe isn't out of the question).

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And strangely, this store will be dark on Sundays. That a publicly traded company would give up a day of weekend profits to get along with an LDS landlord is odd, indeed -- not something shareholders will rejoice over. But that's how Nordy rolls. They make alterations.

I can only hope the church gave them a killer deal on rent so they can stick around for a while, and I won't need to write another ode to Nordy's "groovitude" in my lifetime.

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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