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Nordstrom finally set to open a store in NYC

You would think Nordstrom would have a store in the fashion center of the United States, but it doesn’t have a well-heeled retail footprint in New York City. It soon will.

Nordstrom After spending the past two decades searching Manhattan for the perfect location, The New York Times reports Nordstrom has found one.

It will be in the base of a skyscraper on the north side of 57th Street, east of Broadway.

The location is about 20 blocks north of Macy’s and west of Saks Fifth Avenue and the luxury stores on Madison Avenue.

Nordstrom does have a discount retail store in the Big Apple, with a Rack on East 14th Street not far from Greenwich Village.

The deal to bring Nordstrom’s first full-scale store to NYC is reportedly worth more than $300 million. Nordstrom isn’t commenting, yet.

Real estate execs who spoke with the Times say Nordstrom plans to make an announcement about the store on Thursday with Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

If you’re new to the area, you might not realize Nordstrom is a Seattle-based retailer.

The founder, John W. Nordstrom emigrated to the U.S. from Sweden. He landed first in New York and worked his way across the country doing menial jobs. At one point he saved enough for a potato farm in Arlington and then got caught up in the gold rush in 1897.

After two years of prospecting, Nordstrom finally struck gold. He sold his claim for $13,000, returned to Seattle and settled down starting a shoe store in 1901 called Wallin & Nordstrom.

Nordstrom now has 116 luxury clothing stores and continues to expand its discount brand with 95 Rack stores.

The fourth generation of Nordstrom brothers and cousins run the family-owned, publicly-traded company.

Bruce Nordstrom is with the company’s third generation. Nordstrom tells the UW alumni magazine, Columns, he started with Nordstrom when he was 9 years old. World War II had just begun and he was working in the stockroom for 25 cents an hour. Good money in those days, he thought. Then he heard one of the secretaries talking about how his father, Everett Nordstrom actually paid Bruce’s salary out of his own pocket. He took that to mean he wasn’t worth 25 cents an hour.

Bruce ended up being instrumental in growing the company, now with about 52-thousand employees around the country. Nordstrom reported fiscal 2011 revenue of $9.7 billion. Bruce’s sons, the fourth generation, run the company today.

What’s the secret to making a family business work?

Nordstrom says in their case family members running the company in each generation have shared a deep respect for one another and have always worked as hard as they could.

There are 5.5 million family businesses in the United States, according to Business Week, and 35 of Fortune 500 companies are family-controlled. The largest family owned business in the US is Wal-Mart.

Related: Risky business: Running a family company

By LINDA THOMAS

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