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Minding the Store

Stanley Marcus

Publication Year: 2001

“‘There is never a good sale for Neiman Marcus unless it’s a good buy for the customer.’ That was one of the first declarations of business philosophy I heard my father, Herbert Marcus, make soon after I came to work at Neiman Marcus in 1926.” Thus began the 1974 edition of Minding the Store. Reprinted in hardcover in 1997 to celebrate the 90th anniversary of Neiman Marcus, it is now available for the first time in paperback and ebook. Mr. Marcus has spent most of his life not only in helping to create a retailing enterprise renowned throughout the world as the epitome of quality, but also in setting high standards for the level of taste of all who desire "the better things in life." In doing so he has played a key role in making Dallas itself a success. "Mr. Stanley," as he is affectionately called by all his Neiman Marcus friends and associates, has made The Store a legendary success. Although he retired from active involvement in Neiman Marcus in 1977, the influences of the philosophies of business he developed remain an important part of the training of Neiman Marcus personnel. Those basic principles—best exemplified by his belief in his father’s business philosophy—are the reasons Neiman Marcus is today recognized as the taste leader of American retailing. Minding the Store is a warm portrait of a man and an exuberant celebration of the store that has become the best-known landmark in Texas since the Alamo.

Published by: University of North Texas Press

Title Page, Frontispiece, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. 2-7

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An Appreciation

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pp. 8-9

THANKS AND GRATITUDE go to my mother, whose vivid memory of incidents and people has been an invaluable source of knowledge and inspiration; to my wife, who has lived through the gestation period of this book with patience and understanding, sound criticism and encouragement; to my administrative assistant, Alice Snavely, who, in addition to doing...

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pp. ix-xii

THIS BOOK, FIRST published in 1974, was my initial attempt at writ ing anything of greater length than an occasional magazine piece for the Atlantic Monthly, the Saturday Evening Post, or Fortune. I had considered writing a full-length book but I was uncertain of my abiity to sustain a nonfictional story for several hundred pages. Above ...


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pp. xiii-15


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pp. xv-17

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1. Genesis

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pp. 1-18

...that it became established as an article of faith in my mind, and principle even when it meant lost sales and profits. He explained that there was a right customer for every piece of merchandise, and that part of a merchant's job was not only to bring the two together, but also to prevent the customer from making the wrong ...

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2. Exodus

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pp. 19-44

...stroyed the Neiman-Marcus store, five and a half years after it had as in a wake, mourning the total loss of what had been The Store. coming in from the insurance, took stock of their savings, canvassed the family for additional funds, and decided that they would re build in a different location. It would take time to find the proper ...

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3. Crisis

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pp. 45-58

...little thought had been given to my induction into the business. been minimal, or at the best not exhaustive, for I was given no specific assignment or responsibility other than to stay on the summertime work in previous years I had done this sort of thing, as well as having sold ladies' shoes, so my first job didn't come ...

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4. Weathering the Depression

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pp. 59-96

...customers alike took sides, but public opinion as a whole swung towards Aunt Carrie and my father. Market relationships had been conducted, in great degree, by Uncle AI, so with his departure it better apparel departments and solidify our vendor connections. the two buyers, my Aunt Carrie and Moira Cullen, neither of whom ...

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5. Over the Hump

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pp. 97-108

...frequently have to be set in motion by a slight nudge. In 1937, when we were getting ready to celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of the founding of Neiman-Marcus, it occurred to me that it was only fitting that my father be honored on the occasion. I mentioned the idea to two of his banking associates, Fred Florence and Karl ...

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6. The War Years

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pp. 109-122

...highly charged atmosphere of the war drive coupled with a "business as usual" attitude, bureaucratic procedures, and my office associates, some of whom had been on the job for several months. returning to their businesses and families between times. I came into the organization as a dollar-a-year consultant, with only trans ...

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7. Waiting for the War to End

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pp. 123-144

...father's health was fragile. He had hypertension, necessitating to take, so wrapped up was he in the whole fabric of his business. However, upon my return to the store, he felt able to go for vaca tions to California and Florida, keeping in touch with me daily by phone to tell me about interesting items he had observed in the ...

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8. Taking Over the Reins

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pp. 145-160

...gathered my brothers together to reiterate the need for continuing family solidarity and to caution us all that the test of this concept was about to begin. Heretofore, we had been held together by the head of the family and the controlling stockholder of the company. "Now," I said, "we stand as four brothers with equal shares in the ...

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9. Running a Store with a Split Personality

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pp. 161-198

...plowing a substantial part of our earnings back into the business, the financial requirements of our growing volume and expansions taxed our resources. Unwilling to dilute our ownership by the sale of common stock, we resorted to open lines of credit at the banks, term loans, and even the sale of preferred stock. Our debt ratio ...

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10. Europe and the Fortnights

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pp. 199-224

...recover. From the time of my initial trip to Europe in 1925 I was "Europe-struck." And although I shall never duplicate the thrill of my first visit to Paris or London, forty-nine years and fifty trips despite their familiarity, they never fail to yield a bit more in formation and inspiration on each successive trip. During the war ...

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11. The Christmas Catalogue

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pp. 225-240

...capitalize on our extraordinary national reputation. He felt that to expand into other cities or by franchising our name. The latter be watering down our reputation, losing all control of our quality stock, October 1959, I went to San Francisco with our treasurer, placed a lot of our stock with California investors. The principal ...

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12. Texas under Three Economies

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pp. 241-260

...of a surprise, as I review the years of my life, to find that I, too, can discern three distinct "periods" of modern Texas history and the effects of each of these on the molding of its people and their had essentially an agriculturally based economy. By 1905 cotton was the money crop, and its annual success or failure determined ...

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13. The Growing of a Family

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pp. 261-272

...finishing his sophomore year at Harvard. "No," I replied, "I don't have any intention of doing so. If he wants to join the store, that will be fine, but if he would prefer some other occupation, that's all right, too." Dick had worked at the store during a few summers, in the receiving rooms, in the housekeeping department and as a ...

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14. Collecting

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pp. 273-294

...voted its space to the subject of collecting and led off by saying, collecting urge is just a passing step in the process of growing up." If this be true, then I've never grown up. I was bitten by the tion. I'm glad I haven't, for collecting, next to my family and business, has brought me continuous joy and satisfaction, allowing ...

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15. Deep in the Heart of Fashion

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pp. 295-322

IT REQUIRES COURAGE to portray a role on the stage; likewise, it whom there are relatively few at any given time. Most so-called designers aren't designers at all- they are adapters, skilled in using the design of a creator to make adaptations and variations historically used Europe as its fashion laboratory, and has con ...

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16. Strictly Personal

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pp. 323-346

Marcus, but the first name was never used. It came about as the result of my mother's desire to memorialize one of her favorite his first initial. At some stage in my adolescence, I was impressed gested that this was an affectation, and that it might prove to be a liability if I were ever to consider running for political office. I ...

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17. Critical Decisions

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pp. 347-358

New York Confidential, all of which contained bits of local scandal about notable people in those communities. Curiously, they were not sued for libel. In 1952, they published a successor, U.S.A. Confidential, covering many of the cities not included in their earlier works. In this book they devoted several pages to Neiman ...

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18. Credo

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pp. 359-372

...the textbook and twenty minutes of classroom discussion. It was years later, at an exhibition of the works of the great American artist and humanist Ben Shahn, that I came across a poster he had painted to advertise the motion picture Martin Luther, which he believe freely. To be a slave to no man's authority. If this be ...


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pp. 373-383

E-ISBN-13: 9781574415223
Print-ISBN-13: 9781574411393

Page Count: 432
Illustrations: 36 b&w illus.
Publication Year: 2001