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Macy's Information Lady

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151 W 34th St, New York, NY 10001, USA

Since 1952, Bronx-born Edith Melvin has worked the Macy's ticketron, pneumatic tubes, telephone switchboards and finally, the information desk -- but she always knew "who slept with who, of course." In 1858, Rowland Hussey Macy moved to New York City and opened a dry goods store on the corner of 14th and 6th. At first a very modest enterprise, it gradually became a burgeoning department store. Outgrowing its small storefront, the business moved to its current Herald Square location in 1902. By 1922, Macy's became a chain as it opened regional stores all over the city and Long Island. In 1924, the flagship Macy's establishment moved to Herald Square and became "the world's largest store". Many firsts can be accredited to Macy's. Margaret Getchell, the first woman to hold an executive position, was promoted by to this position by Macy's. The one-price system, by which the same item is sold at the same price to all costumers, was started at Macy's. Additionally, Macy's was the first to introduce many products to the market, including tea bags, the Idaho baked potato and colored bath towels. Last but not least, it was the first retailer to hold a New York City liquor license.

Credits: Produced by Emily Botein and Julie Subrin for "The Next Big Thing" on WNYC, 2002. Hosted by Dean Olsher. (4:20)