Thanks in part to Miracle on 34th Street, the classic Christmas film, and its annual Thanksgiving Day Parade, Macy's has been immortalized in the minds of generations of Americans. It's hard to imagine that Macy's was once a small storefront operation founded by a businessman whose previous stores had failed. But success was just around the corner.
Eleven dollars and six cents. That was the total of first-day sales when Macy's opened its doors in 1858. Of course, at that time, it wasn't a retail superpower—it was a small dry-goods store on the corner of 14th Street and 6th Avenue in New York City. Before founding that little shop, Rowland Hussey Macy had suffered several failed retail ventures. This time, things would turn out differently.
By 1877, R.H. Macy & Co. had become a full-fledged department store, spreading its way into the ground spaces of 11 adjacent buildings. Just about 25 years later, the store had outgrown even those expanded confines, so the company moved to its iconic Herald Square location on Broadway and 34th Street. There, Macy's began to attract shoppers from the rest of the country and the world. This location also saw the store become a major part of American holidays, especially in 1924, when immigrant employees wrangled the city's packs of stray floats and organized the first annual Macy's Parade.
Today, Macy's boasts 850 locations across 45 states and US territories. A far cry from that initial dry-goods shop, the modern-day stores carry everything from clothing and shoes to furniture and electronics. Though it is now headquartered in Cincinnati, the company's flagship store in Herald Square still attracts throngs of customers from all corners of the globe. The same can be said for the Macy's website, which is one of the most visited retail destinations on the Internet.
One of the East Coast's best-known Members-only wholesale retailers, BJ's serves more than six million Members in more than 200 Clubs as far west as Ohio. Within these sprawling locations, BJ's helps provide more selections to savvy shoppers looking to knock out most of their errands in a single stop. In the same visit, Members can stock up on economy-sized groceries?including USDA choice meats, farm-fresh produce, organics and naturals, and everyday essentials?grab name-brand electronics, and even plan a vacation through BJ's Travel. Each service makes up a single part of BJ's well-rounded retail experience, but simplifying shopping isn't BJ's only goal; in 2013 alone, the company donated more than $4 million to charitable organizations.
These days, it's hard to know what exactly you're eating when your eating beef?even if you cooked it yourself. The modern meat industry pumps their cattle full of antibiotics and hormones that make the meat seem more appealing while being worse for your health. Besides that, they don't feed the cows their natural diet of grass and clover, opting for cheaper corn and grain instead without even letting them use ketchup. Gaucho Ranch aims to change all that. Drawing on the old gaucho tradition of South America, they import their beef from a family farm in Uruguay, where it is guaranteed to be raised entirely naturally and fed exactly what it wants to eat. The result are beautiful cuts of beef that are lower in cholesterol and fat, higher in Omega 3s and Vitamin E, and delicious on top of everything else.
Praised by the Miami New Times as 2010's Best One-Stop Art Depot, Jerry's Artarama is a sprawling 20,000-square-foot artists' oasis with a bounteous inventory of creative supplies. Aisles teem with the store's own proprietary product lines such as SoHo and Creative Mark, alongside imported products from around the world acquired through Jerry's relationships with international manufacturers. The store also stocks specialty and hard-to-find items that are rarely carried by large chain stores, such as specialty brushes for portraitists and extra-wide forks for professional mashed-potato sculptors.
An eco-friendly boutique and holistic wellness center, Sage Lifestyles inspires visitors to explore their spiritual side as they shrink their carbon footprint. Inside the boutique, guests can bask in the soothing scents of candles or leaf through books on topics such as organic cooking and green living. Vinyasa yoga classes meld ancient poses and breathing techniques into moving meditations, and chakra consultations can help clear bodies of energy blockages and accidentally swallowed Social Security cards.
Since 2006, Loft Sofa has outfitted homes with modern furnishings handcrafted from quality fabrics and woods. In store and online, clients browse a range of styles, from sectional leather sofas and plush white couches to glass coffee tables and platform beds. Each of the shop's pieces keep mother nature humming with ecologically sustainable materials, including wood certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.