Sunday, December 26, 2004

The Ivey's Archive

LiveMalls is pleased to present The Ivey's Archive, a tribute to the legendary former Charlotte, North Carolina-based department store chain, J. B. Ivey & Company.

The Ivey's Archive would not be possible without the generous contributions of Patrick Richardson, who gave LiveMalls exclusive access to his collection of Ivey's photos and memorabilia. I thank Pat for his help to provide the internet with a collection of all things Ivey’s. Please check this page regularly, as I will be adding more memorabilia as I receive it.

A final note: this archive is neither sponsored nor endorsed by J.B. Ivey Co., Dillard Department Stores, or its subsidiaries. I do hope that they are honored and not offended, because it's all done out of love for their company.

Joseph Benjamin Ivey, the handsome son of a Methodist preacher, opened a small store room in rented space in Uptown Charlotte on February 18, 1900. He belonged to a distinguished list of storekeepers who came to the area at the turn of the century to take advantage of the booming cotton mill economy. Ivey's first day's sales totaled $33.18.

"We had to study carefully and push the lines that the other merchants did not make a specialty," the enterprising merchant explained many years later. "For instance, at one time brass buttons were quite the rage. I was careful to keep in a supply all of the time while the other merchants were not noticing and allowed their stock to get low."

Among Mr. Ivey's early employees was David Ovens, a Canadian who joined J. B. Ivey & Company in 1904. "I would probably have been satisfied with a moderate business that would make something over a living," said Ivey, "but Mr. Ovens was ambitious to make J. B. Ivey & Company a big store and the business grew rapidly under our combined efforts." Ovens Auditorium on East Independence Boulevard in Charlotte is named for David Ovens.

A devout Methodist, Ivey insisted that the curtains be drawn in his store windows on Sundays, so that the pedestrians would not be tempted to consider matters of this world on the Lord's Day. Can you imagine a merchant doing such a thing today? Hardly. Our cultural values have undergone radical change since Ivey's day.

J. B. Ivey had a wide range of interests. He was an avid traveler. He also devoted great amounts of time and energy to growing flowers, especially tulips, dahlias, and gladiolas. Many people remember that the restaurant in Ivey's Department Store was named the Tulip Terrace. Ivey's home in Myers Park was surrounded by gorgeous tulip beds. There was even a miniature Dutch windmill in the yard.

An elegant building at Fifth and North Tryon Streets was designed by architect William H. Peeps and opened as the new home of J. B. Ivey & Company in 1924. The store was renovated and enlarged in 1939.

All the other large department stores of that era in Uptown Charlotte -- Belk and Efird’s -- have moved to the suburbs or no longer exist. Consequently, the Ivey's Department Store is the only structure that documents the crucial role of department stores in the emergence of Uptown Charlotte as a major retail district in the early 20th century.

Ivey's expanded throughout the Carolinas and Florida and was acquired by Marshall Field & Company in 1980, which in turn was acquired by an affiliate of Brown & Williamson Tobacco a short time later.

On May 4, 1990, Ivey's was purchased by Dillard Department Stores, another department store chain, which promptly closed the Uptown Charlotte store. The building has recently been converted into luxury condominiums.

This archive is neither sponsored nor endorsed by J. B. Ivey & Company, Dillard Department Stores, or its subsidiaries. I do hope that they are honored and not offended, because it's all done out of love for their company.

J.B. Ivey & Company, downtown Charlotte, North Carolina. View of main floor, 1966. (courtesy Pat Richardson)

J.B. Ivey & Company, downtown Charlotte, North Carolina. View of "Meditation Room," 1966. It opened in 1955 and measured 8'X 9'. It could seat 12 people in six small pews that all faced the altar -- the stained glass was imported from Holland. (courtesy Pat Richardson)

J. B. Ivey & Company, Charlotte, North Carolina. Exterior Christmas display at the Uptown store, 1968. (Pat Richardson)

J. B. Ivey & Company, Charlotte, North Carolina. Shoppers on the main floor at Christmas at the Uptown store, 1957. (Pat Richardson)




Ivey's of Orlando, originally uploaded by ferret111.
The Yowell-Duckworth Building was built in 1913 as a department store. It eventually became home to the Downtown Orlando branch of the Charlotte, NC-based J.B. Ivey & Company department store chain. This store was closed on January 30, 1976.
 
J.B. Ivey & Company, Charlotte, North Carolina. Print advertisement, 1962. (courtesy of Pat Richardson)

J.B. Ivey & Company, Charlotte, North Carolina. Institutional advertisement, 1966. (courtesy of Pat Richardson)

J. B. Ivey & Company, North Carolina. 1968 rendering of Ivey's (now Dillard's) SouthPark mall entrance. (courtesy Pat Richardson)

J. B. Ivey & Company, Charlotte, North Carolina. View of footers being poured for Ivey's (now Dillard's) SouthPark, 1969. (Pat Richardson)

J. B. Ivey & Company, Charlotte, North Carolina. Ivey's (now Dillard's) SouthPark readies for opening, January 1970. (Pat Richardson)

J. B. Ivey & Company, Charlotte, North Carolina. Mannequins waiting to be placed at Ivey's (now Dillard's) SouthPark, 1970. (Pat Richardson)

J. B. Ivey & Company, Charlotte, North Carolina. Better Sportswear department at Ivey's (now Dillard's) SouthPark, 1970. (Pat Richardson)

J. B. Ivey & Company, Charlotte, North Carolina. Juniors department at Ivey's (now Dillard's) SouthPark, 1970. (Pat Richardson)

J B. Ivey & Company, Charlotte, North Carolina. Easter ad, 1970 (courtesy Pat Richardson.)

Dillard's (former J. B. Ivey & Company), University Mall, Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Mall entrance. Though updated in the early 2000s, this store (opened in 1973) is remarkably faithful to Ivey's original store design. Photographed with camera phone 3/31/07.

Dillard's (former J. B. Ivey & Company), University Mall, Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Exterior entrance facing South Estes Drive, June 28, 2008.

Dillard's (former J. B. Ivey & Company), University Mall, Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Exterior detail, June 28, 2008.

J. B. Ivey & Company, Charlotte, North Carolina. 1970s print advertisement for the Budget Store. (Pat Richardson)

J. B. Ivey & Company, Charlotte, North Carolina. Print advertisement, 1973. (courtesy Pat Richardson)

J. B. Ivey & Company, Charlotte, North Carolina. Print advertisement, 1973. (courtesy Pat Richardson)

J. B. Ivey & Company, Charlotte, North Carolina. Exterior of the Uptown Charlotte store during the 1970s. (courtsey Pat Richardson)

J. B. Ivey & Company (later Dillard's), Eastland Mall, Charlotte, North Carolina. Ivey's chairman George M. Ivey, Jr. poses in front of the soon to be completed Ivey's Eastland store, 1975. (courtesy Pat Richardson)

J. B. Ivey & Company, Charlotte, North Carolina. Grand Opening print advertisement for the Eastland Mall store, 1975. (courtsey Pat Richardson)

J. B. Ivey & Company, Charlotte, North Carolina. Aerial view of Ivey's, SouthPark, 1976. (Pat Richardson)

J.B. Ivey & Company, Charlotte, North Carolina. Print advertisement, July 3, 1976. (courtesy Pat Richardson)

J. B. Ivey & Company, Charlotte, North Carolina. Men's clothing print advertisement, 1981. (courtsey Pat Richardson)

J. B. Ivey & Company, Charlotte, North Carolina. Women's clothing print advertisement, 1984. (courtsey Pat Richardson)

J. B. Ivey & Company, Charlotte, North Carolina. "Sold" tag for vacuum cleaner purchased at Ivey's SouthPark in 1987. (Pat Richardson)

J. B. Ivey & Company, Charlotte, North Carolina. Receipt for vacuum cleaner purchased at Ivey's SouthPark in 1987. (Pat Richardson)

J. B. Ivey & Company, Charlotte, North Carolina. 1987 print advertisement. (Pat Richardson)

J. B. Ivey & Company, Charlotte, North Carolina. Menu for Arthur's Restaurant, which was located in Ivey's stores. Arthur's is now located inside Belk, SouthPark mall. (Pat Richardson)

J. B. Ivey & Company, Charlotte, North Carolina. 1970s print advertisement for Arthur's Wine Shop, which was located in Ivey's stores. Arthur's is now located inside Belk, SouthPark mall. (Pat Richardson)

J. B. Ivey & Company, Charlotte, North Carolina. Storm damage due to Hurricane Hugo, September 1989. (courtesy Pat Richardson)

J. B. Ivey & Company, Charlotte, North Carolina. Interior of the Uptown Charlotte store, after closing for the last time, August 17, 1990. (courtsey Pat Richardson)

60 comments:

  1. Nice photos of days gone past.
    Got a kick out of the "Arthurs" menu. Wine was 50cents/glass and a Heineken draft was 85cents/glass.
    It's kinda sad that all across America, the local/regional department stores are pretty much a thing of the past. Nothing but Macy's from coast to coast. I think the Macy's stores in Charlotte are quite ugly and not appealing to shop in whatsover.

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  2. I miss Ivey's and the retail standard they represented. Dillard's and especially Macy's don't leave a whole lot to be desired.

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  3. This is really great. I was on Ivey's Teen Board in 1985-86 and traveled the region representing the company. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

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  4. You're welcome, Jason. I'll bet it was cool traveling to all those stores.

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  5. I grew up in the Charlotte region. When I was a child, it was always something special to get a gift from Ivey's. You KNEW it was something nice, and something you could be proud to wear.
    In the mid 1980's, I joined the Navy and was sent to Great Lakes, IL for boot camp. During my weekends off, I was exposed to Marshall Fields, in downtown Chicago. I had no idea they both were owned by the same company. I live in Chicago again now, and when Macy's bought out Marshall Fields, there was a HUGE uproar against them changing the name. I recently read an article concerning Macy's sales, especially in the Chicago region, were down near 30% since the name change and they were considering changing the stores back to Marshall Fields.
    Unfortunately for Ivey's, I'm sure the name is long dead, except in the memory of those of us who grew up shopping in their stores.
    Thanks for your efforts to keep the name alive through this site. The memories these pictures invoke are great one. Thanks again!
    Kevin

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  6. Thanks for sharing your memories, Kevin.

    I don't think Marshall Field's will resurface. I think Macy's ego is so high that they'd rather exit the market than admit they made a mistake.

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  7. Great historic material on Ivey's. Were you aware that Ivey's also had a Florida Division based in Winter Park (Orlando), FL? Ivey's Florida had about 16branch stores and 1 distribution center.

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  8. Thanks. I am aware of Ivey's Florida, but my sources have not unearthed any historical artifacts form that division of the company.

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  9. I grew up in Daytona Beach where Ivey's had been since forever, having bought the Yowell-Drew Company of Orlando and Daytona in the 1930's and operating for a while as Yowell-Drew-Ivey Company. They left downtown Daytona in 1974 for the Volusia Mall. We also had an Ivey's Little Shop in Bellair Plaza over on the beachside. I was hired in 1977 from Belks to work for Ivey's and it was a great place with great people, working with people I had known since childhood (I was all of 18 yrs old at the time) I even got to be in the Ivey's Florida Christmas commercial that year which was filmed in the Daytona store because the "star" couldn't make it at the last minute and I was in charge of closing the store. What a great store that was in the 1970s! In Florida, Iveys was in Jacksonville (3 stores), Daytona, Merritt Island, Orlando and Winter Park and later expanded into Gainesville in the '80s. My employee sales number, I still remember was 479-378. The 4 meant I worked in the Orlando division (Jacksonville employees began with 7, as did the credit card numbers. We went from cash drawers and sales checks a la Saks and Neiman Marcus of the time to the first scanning point of sale terminals I had ever seen. They would scan the "Kimball" tickets which were those price tags with the punched holes, and half the time didn't work, but they were pretty cool. Ivey's had that technology even before Burdine's and Jordan Marsh, then Fla's leading dept stores did. And we still closed on Sunday even though May-Cohens, Sears and Penney's were all open. We used to say Mr. Ivey wouldn't allow anything to be sold that pertained to the "seven deadly sins" so no decanters in housewares, no playing cards in stationary etc. Ashtrays were sold because after all, they WERE from N. Carolina! What great memories I have of those days! From Ivey's I went to Neiman-Marcus in Miami, just seemed like the natural next step up at the time.
    Thanks for triggering some great memories! wrsmith3rd@gmail.com

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  10. Bob: Thanks for the info and the comments. Always nice to hear from Ivey's employees.

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  11. My Dad joined JB Ivey's when they purchased their big mainframe computer in the mid 1960's. He used to say he came with the computer purchase. The big computer was housed off So. Tryon St., south of Woodlawn Rd. I recall Dad packing us up and visiting the Florida Ivey's stores.

    The downtown Charlotte store was fabulous! We used to get dressed up to shop there. I'll have to ask my mother if she can recall the name Tulip Terrace. We ate many a lunch there.

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

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  12. What a thrill to see these old photos of the most wonderful Ivey's. I grew up near Charlotte and would accompany my mom, aunt, and grandmother to the downtown store where we would spend magical moments in the ladies' hat department. It was a glorious experience for a little girl who couldn't wait to grow up and wear those beautiful flower covered hats! The Tulip Terrace was a lovely treat, as well when I was older. It just felt "uptown" to this small town girl! I later worked in cosmetics for Ivey's at Southpark in the early eighties and fondly remember Robert and Steve at Arthur's and co-workers throughout the store. I miss Ivey's but I'm happy for the memories!

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  13. Betty Ann: That must have been some computer! thanks for stopping by and for your memories. I wish I could have seen the Charlotte store back in the day like you did.

    Anonymous: Thanks for stopping by. I'm glad that you had such fond memories of Ivey's.

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  14. Never thought I'd Miss ol' Ivey's but I do. Frankly, Dillards and Macys will never hold a candle to our wonderful old Southern department stores that knew how to treat their customers like family..

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  15. Anonymous: Amen to that! Glad you liked the archive!

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  16. This is a great site. I found it looking for some information while updating my resume. I worked at Ivey's in the Volusia Mall in the early 1980's. It was a great place to work. I have fond memories.

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  17. I worked for them in Pinellas Square Mall, the buyers where great the sales and all the good people that worked there,it was a shame the store manager played favorites. When you work hard people should notice that, she was the worst Store Manger I have worked for, but I have great memories of the friends I had made there great store

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  18. That manager sounds like a piece of work, but glad to hear that you liked Ivey's and the blog post.

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  19. I used to shop at Halle Brothers (Cleveland), another Marshall Fields affiliate, and always was curious about the store called Ivey's that was on the back of their credit cards as an affiliate. It looks like a fine store, just like Halle's and Field's. It is a shame that this type of genteel retailing doesn't seem to connect with shoppers any longer, it was a wonderful era.

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  20. It is great to find this web site.
    What a walk down memory lane for me.

    I worked at Ivey's downtown when I was in high school. I later tranferred to the location in Greensboro,NC (Carolina Circle Mall) when I went off to College.

    I have fond memories of working at Ivey's downtown. I remember the occasional vist from George M. Ivey, Jr. and his daughter Kit Ivey Ward. What a great location the downtown store. One of the floors housed the buying department. It was also a treat to see the Buyers.

    They don't make stores like the use to. I remember the very strict dress code that was enforced. Women had to wear hose at all times and had to have a top covering the hips if they wore slacks.

    Arthur's what a great lunch spot, the Arthur burgers were great!

    I think I worked in just about every department in the store including Fine Jewelry (which was a leased department).

    I hope there are others who will find this site and take a walk down memory lane.

    Angela Tribue- Employee 1977-1982

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  21. I miss Ivey's! I recall the one at McAlister Square in Greenville, SC. We would typically shop at Belk's but I really liked Ivey's because it seemed to be a step up, and I had some terrific shopping trips there with my grandparents. There was an Arthur's restaurant upstairs, and I recall that there was a book department as well. I don't remember much about the Ivey's in downtown Greenville, as it closed sometime in the '70s, but my grandmother was stuck in the elevator there once due to a power outage or something.

    The Ivey's building in uptown Charlotte would make a great space for a smaller department store on its first 2 floors, if one were to return.

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  22. Thanks for the comments, Angela and Anonymous.

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  23. I can't believe I ran into this site. My name is Ron & I'm the guy who 1st consolidated the 3 Ivey's divisions in the Carolinas to be centralized (the remainder of the company followed shortly thereafter). I joined Ivey's May '73 & became V.P. Gen Mdse Mgr for 1/2 the company Feb '77. We loved Charlotte & I would have been happy to stay there the rest of my life. However, one of my NYC "godfathers" called me early '79 & told me Geo. Ivey was going to sell the company so I got off my ass & started looking around. I joined Macy's, Atlanta as Sr. V.P. Fall '79 & found out Ivey's was sold to Marshall Field the following yr. I went to one company reunion in the SouthPark area many yrs later & was happy to run into many old friends & associates. Now, we live on a barrier island off the coast of St. Augustine, Fl. (a golf course community) and I just enjoy life playing golf & traveling the world with my wife. We visited Charlotte Ja '10 to attend the funeral of an old friend & I couldn't believe how the city had grown up (but, too big for moi). I'll bookmark this site for awhile to see if anyone responds, perhaps we can share email addresses. Ciao, Ron

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  24. Thanks for checking in and sharing your memories, Ron! This blog gets a steady stream of Ivey's alumni, so you might meet an old friend.

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  25. I was blessed to work for Iveys in their downtown store in late 79's thru the very early 80's.
    The one thing I remember was the fairness. What a great ride down menory lane.

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  26. Thanks for sharing your memory and thanks for your compliment.

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  27. Worked at the distribution center in Charlotte from 86-90, loved my job and hate the day D Day (Dillard's)came. Ivey's was a wonderful company and the DC had the best management team around.

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  28. Thanks for checking in and sharing your memories.

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  29. Wow I just found this site and a flood of memories to go with it. I worked for Ivey's from 1980 thru 1988 and started out at the Eastland Mall store and ended up in the buying office downtown. I used to travel to all the NC/SC stores regularly and once the NC and FL divisions merged I did some traveling to some of the FL stores. I made a lot of friends in those years and some I am still in touch with. We worked hard but had a great time as well and we were like a big family. I remember big events like the old "warehouse" sales on the third floor at South Park before it was remodeled and made part of the public retail space it became in 1987. I remember the big grand opening of the 3rd floor and remodel at South Park. I also spent a week in Raleigh getting the North Hills store ready for the grand opening of the remodel there. Also was involved in the openings at Cary Village in Cary, NC and the Hillcrest Mall store in Spartanburg, SC. One of my favorite stores to visit was the Asheville Mall store in Asheville, NC. For those of you that are interested there is a Ivey's alumni group on Facebook you should check out!! Thanks Steve for the memories! Michael Mayes

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  30. Hey, thank you for preserving the memory of a great retail chain and a great piece of Southern history. From Eleanor Ivey Campbell, great great niece of JB Ivey and former Ivey's employee in Asheville, Chapel Hill, and Durham.

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  31. My memories of Ivey's begin with waiting with my mother in the 1950s and 1960s in front of the downtown store for the "doorbuster" specials, shopping at the "Little Shop" at Park Road Shopping Center, to my first sales job at Ivey's downtown in 1969, to being among those who opened the Southpark store (a mile from my home) in 1970. My name was among those on the plaque for the "Cornerstone Club," those who worked there at opening and were still working there a year later. Ivey's also underwrote my National Merit Scholarship. Excellent memories!

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  32. Thanks for the comments. Sounds like Ivey's was a big part of your life.

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  33. Growing up my family spent much time in Daytona Beach. We always shopped at Ivey's and Belk-Lindsey at Bellaire Plaza. There was also an Ivey's in downtown Daytona Beach as well as a Furchgott's. Ivey's Little Shop beachside (Bellaire Plaza) was very nice, with excellent service.I wish there were photos of this fine store..anyone have any to share.

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  34. Thanks for sharing your memories. Sounds like Ivey's was a big part of retail life in North Florida.

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  35. I grew up in Orlando, Florida and my very first credit card was from Ivey's. I remember it being a metallic copper color with a white logo. I was 18 or 19 and my boss at Howard Johnson's lied about my salary and tenure of employment in order to help me establish credit. When my card arrived in the mail, she gave me a motherly lecture about the importance of good credit. Thank you, Ivey's!
    Scott in Kentucky

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  36. Thanks, Scott, for sharing your Ivey's memories.

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  37. Fantastic website. Tell me where to send a donation to support Ivey's legacy. Thank you.

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  38. (giggle) i LOVE the long flannel plaid dress just sooo cute

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  39. my mother worked for Ivey's in downtown Jacksonville from the mid 1960's to the early 1970's. She worked in better dresses, sportswear and millinery. She was nearly always among the top sales people in the Jacksonville area. My sister worked in the Roosevelt mall store in the ealy 1970's and summers when she went to college.

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  40. Thanks, Doug, for sharing your Ivey's memories.

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  41. Is there anywhere I can find a list of all the mall-based Ivey's stores? Thank you.

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  42. Wow ... what a neat find! I googled to find info on the old Ivey's in Winter Park ... and voila!

    I grew up in DeLand,FL in the 1950's and remember the Ivey's in Downtown Orlando well ... the photos are wonderful and bring back many good memories. Christmas wouldn't have been Christmas without a shopping day in Orlando!

    Thanks for the memories ... and all your work making this collection for others to enjoy.

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  43. Thanks so much for your work here. I have a copy of J. B. Ivey's "Memoirs" published in 1940. The downtown Ivey's was the last real department store in Charlotte, and I miss it so! I took pictures of the inside of the building in its last days--would you be able to add these to your website? Ivey's was a grande dame of retail. I still refuse to step foot in Dillard's because of a comment they made in 1990 referring to their policy of "closing aging downtown stores". With the passing of our Ivey's in downtown Charlotte, downtown lost all its appeal to me. As I recall, there was a 5th floor restaurant--not Arthur's--that had a nice, old-fashioned menu. I also remember the escalators on the left-hand side of the store from the Tryon St. entrance. At the back was the 1949 addition; you had to step down from the main floor to get to the mens' department located there. The wood floors were still in use on the 4th floor where they had home furnishings, and those classic old floors (irreplaceable!!) creaked. Oh, if we could just return to the grand days of downtown retail instead of the absolutely boring "masoleums of merchandising" that we have today--no character, no quirky buildings--no elegance--no wood floors. Every town is the same. Thanks for the memories of a beautiful childhood in Charlotte. The current generation missed out on what real stores were like.































    '

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  44. Hi all, I came across this site on Wikipedia after I did a Google search for Ivey's. I am possibly moving into one of the condos in the Ivey's building soon, and am wondering if anyone has some good quality photos of the uptown location on their computer? I would like some good images to download and then print on high quality paper to frame and put in my condo. I would be very appreciative and would invite you to the housewarming celebration! My email is jeremy@jeremyrobbins.net. Thank you! :)

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  45. Great find. My great great grandfather was JB Ivey so this is a treat to find this and see all the images. Love reading all the great comments too. Would always hear about the stores growing up, but was too young when the acquisition took place. I have been in a dillards and Marshall Fields though.

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  46. Oh my. I was thrilled to find this web site. I worked in the corporate office of Ivey's from 1970 thru 1985. I loved the uptown store. It was truly a family working at Ivey's - even though we were looked on as snobby working in the corporate office, I can assure you that I worked my *** off - but I was never tired of it and never minded the work because it was such an interesting place to work. I was hired to work with George Powell, who was Secretary & Treasurer at the time. I had met a head hunter who became a friend and since I was working in uptown at the time for a credit company - she mentioned that Ivey's was looking for a secretary for the Secretary and Treasurer at the very desirable rate of $4.00 per hour. Of course, I jumped at it. When I went for my appointment I was very overwhelmed. George Powell was old school - zoot suit and bow tie. He was a sweetheart and very shy, but I didn't find that out till he hired me. Judy Crockett was George Jr's secretary at the time and Irene Coleman was John Fielder's secretary. After Mr. Powell retired, Rooney King took over the reins as Secretary and Treasurer and they hired Ed Kaylor as Controller. I worked for both of them at the same time. Needless to say I had plenty to do. Ervin Jackson, Jr. was in the picture too. If you want pictures of Ivey's, you should contact him and I am sure you could find all the pictures you would like showing all 24 of the Ivey's stores. I have a book I put together that has the annual reports starting from when Ivey's went public with the year end report in 1949, thru the report ending February 2, 1980. As you are probably well aware, I could tell you a million stories about Ivey's, but one of my favorites is about when all of we secretaries were sick of the green paint on the corporate office walls and wanted a change. We bitched and moaned and kept on until one day George Jr., called me from the first floor. He told me to come down to the first floor right away. I went down and met him on the first floor and he and I went out the front door. This in itself was a bitof a no no. Staff went in and out the fifth street entrance only. He did not explain where we were going but just said "follow me". I did so and we went down fifth street and into the side entrance to Belk's corporate office. That was way down past the store by the railroad tracks. As George Jr. entered like he owned the place, everyone greeted him. Good morning, Mr. Ivey, good morning, Mr. Ivey, and on and on. I looked around as I walked and saw that this was truly a place in need of redecoration. We arrived at the Belk lawyers' offices where George Jr.'s friend, Bill Cooper worked, and they had a small room where six desks were pressed together with barely enough room to get around. There were cables hanging thru the ceiling and the carpet was curled up on the edges and everything looked very old and dusty. Then we went on and visited John Belk's office which was full of file cabinets, looked very dusty and had a big crack in the window, and the whole place looked like it was about to fall down. I was laughing so hard when he was showing me this - not saying a word, just pointing out stuff - that I almost ran out of breath. This was his way of letting me know that we didn't have it so bad in our corporate office - and showing he was a good sport, he did have our office painted pretty soon after that - to the new Ivey color of beige and brown. Those 15 years at Ivey's were some of the best years of my life. I loved every brick in that building. You can't get much of that nowadays.

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  47. J.B. Ivey was my grandfather. Even though I was born and raised on a farm in Southern California, we would visit North Carolina in the summers when it was too hot to survive at home.

    I have many pleasant and hazy remembrances of the stores in Charlotte and Ashville. Your website is an unexpected pleasure and brings back many memories.

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  48. I worked at Ivey's for my 'field training' requirement from the University of TN in 1981 then stayed on to work after that fall quarter. The nicest man came & interviewed us (the merchandising students)...I can't remember his name but he was a friend throughout my tenure with Iveys. 6 of us were chosen to go to Iveys. It was the top place to go for field training...other places were close to home & smaller! I started in Jax at the Orange Park Mall store then on to the buying offices in Orlando at the Winter Park Mall then was on the staff to open the Melbourne Square Mall store! At OP, I worked for Inez Kilby (store manager) & was under Debbie Holloway (women's department & the most fun person ever!). In the buying offices, I worked as the asst. buyer to Beth Fowlkes, the buyer for Jr. swimwear (the most fun thing to sell in FL!) & Juniors (Esprit was new then! Calvin Klein jeans were huge!). We traveled to NYC, Miami to buy & visited all the FL stores. Back then, nothing was on sale unless it was a holiday or super special! (so unlike today's retail world!) We had to check the paper every day to make sure the sale items were in the front of all departments so the customer could find it all! Back then, the customer was ALWAYS right! I was on the management staff to go to Melbourne 6 months before the store opened & for the opening! Can't remember the store managers name right now, but worked with Kelly Kirkland, Sue Maguire, & others. I had Lingerie & Womens Dresses. I literally put up every fixture (& that's alot in the lingerie dept!), we stocked, hired & managed workers for our own departments, did the big store opening fashion show, welcomed all the bigs for the opening, etc. The experience was amazing but ALOT of work! And, in retail, that's doesn't mean alot of cash! But I wouldn't take anything for the friendships & knowledge. Iveys' will always have a soft spot in my heart...thanks for helping to bring it alive! Wish I could find some of the people I worked with!
    Sheree' Hartman Johnson in TN

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    1. That's really cool. Thanks for sharing,Sheree' .

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  49. Best time of my life was working for Iveys Winter Park.FL 1983-1990. I learned retail business from the best people who taught the best customer service.If I had not been trained there I would have never been able to move on and work for Nordstrom later in my career.Iveys will always be close to my heart...

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  50. In the 1940s and 1950s my grandmother, Nancy Virginia Austin Purser, worked at Ivey's as a seamstress. When she died, I got one of her possessions .... An FDR Man of the Hour clock she won in a raffle sponsored by the store to raise funds for the war effort during WWII. To this day it It is one of my prized possessions. My grandmother loved working at Ivey's.

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    1. Thanks for sharing your grandmother's story.

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  51. I got married in 1983 at the age of 18 and moved to Jacksonville, FL. In 1984, I was fortunate enough to be hired on at the Regency Square Mall Ivey's. I was so excited! I made many wonderful friends working there and learned how to provide excellent customer service, which has helped me in all my jobs since then. I cherish my time at Ivey's and still own things I purchased with my employee discount. :)

    Ivey's employee 1984-1988, Linens & Housewares Associate

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