Sunday, January 18, 2009

Bullock's and other defunct department stores

Today's first image shows the Bullock's department store at Fashion Square (now MainPlace) in Santa Ana in 1960. My friend, Lisa A., is collecting old boxes, ephemera, and artifacts relating to O.C.'s defunct department stores. She's especially interested in china from the stores' tea rooms and in items relating to Bullock's. If you're willing to part with any artifacts you have from stores like Buffums, Bullock's, The Broadway, Robinson's, May Co., etc., please send me an email and we'll try to give them a good home. (I already looked through my stash of recycled gift boxes, and only found one box lid from Robinson's.)
The next image shows concept art for Bullock's Fashion Square.

John G. Bullock opened the first Bullock's store in downtown Los Angeles in 1907. In 1929, a snazzier branch called Bullock's Wilshire opened on Wilshire Blvd. (Although now used as a law school library, Bullock's Wilshire still stands as one of the most beautiful deco buildings in L.A.) The company was purchased in 1964 by Federated Department Stores which expanded the chain to other states.
During the 1980s, as series of takeovers took bite after bite out of the company. The remaining stores retained their name, but were sold to Macy's. The South Coast Plaza Bullock's in Costa Mesa remained one of the chain's flagship stores until it was renamed I. Magnin in 1990. In 1995, Federated reappeared on the scene, bought the bankrupt Macy's (and its subsidiaries), and consolidated everything they owned in California under the Macy's name. This was the final nail in Bullock's coffin.


IstillNeed2Register said...

Our family couldn't afford Bullock's. The Broadway was more our speed. Once in a while we would go to Orbach's "way out" in Cerritos...gosh that seemed like a long drive as a kid.

While I'm going down memory lane...
I remember that the old May Company had a restaurant with a wood paneled bar (which was typically filled with men waiting for their wives to finish shopping) and the Broadway had more of a coffee shop style restaurant. For store dining, nothing beat the Club Room at Neiman-Marcus. (We could only dine there, we couldn't afford to shop there!)

I don't have any memorabilia to share, save for an old garment bag.

Anonymous said...

Nice post! Bullock's South Coast was one of the top stores in the chain, but it became Macy's, and I. Magnin South Coast Plaza became Bullock's Mens Store at South Coast, and then Macy's mens store. Bullocks Wilshire stores became I. Magnin and eventually all shuttered. Newport's Fashion Island had a BW store.

Anonymous said...

I currently work in that building. Under the building is a basement that's larger than the building itself. There's a warehouses in several massive rooms and an office complex. There are fixtures and old mannequins filling every room of that basement. There's even a machine shop and massive generators down there.

There are many hidden rooms and you can tell the building as been remodeled many, many times. I think there was a restaurant because there are vents in a stockroom that look like they were part of a kitchen.

In one stockroom, on the third floor, I found a concealed restroom behind some shelves. It was very dusty and no one had been in there for years.

A few years ago, they were going to tear down the building and put in a food court, but I guess the Mall and or Macy's changed their minds.

Favors4u said...

I worked in both the South Coast Plaza Bullock's and the Santa Ana Bullocks ( I believe it was called Fashion Square) from 1977-1985. Both stores had "tea rooms" but the store in Santa Ana had a tea room and a massive employee cafeteria where you could purchase anything from a hot breakfast to lunch and dinner items.

woofboys1 said...

I worked at the Santa Ana Bullok's store in Fashion Square in 1981-1983. This was befire the Main Place mall was built and teh "remodle" took all the old charm and beauty out of that store! That was the Best job I ever had! First class customer service all the way beautiful merchandise, great associates!
I miss it so much!

Mar said...

I have a Dalton beaded Virgin Cashmere sweater that belonged to my grandmother. To give you a time frame, I’m 58. The label insides says Dalton Bullock’s Santa Ana. I find many Dalton sweaters, but can’t seem to find any information on Bullocks putting their name on the label. Do you or anyone else have any information on this or maybe direct me to such information.

Thank you

ladagirl said...

I don't know if your still looking for items .. I have a pot de creme set painted for Santa Ana Bullocks - I can photograph for you but it's not a giveaway item.

Anonymous said...

I worked for Bullock's at the Santa Ana store (Store #7) over two summers during high school ('71 &'72). After high school I worked there from '73 until '76. The Santa Ana Bullock's facility was one of the most beautiful department stores in California, and represented the traditional qualities of service and quality that seem to have been forgotten.

The building itself is as massive as people say, and represents a time when big was better. I know how that building was designed and arranged during the 1970s, so if anyone is interested in more details I would be happy to provide further information.

Anonymous said...

I loved having lunch with my mom at Bullock's and they had wonderful fashion shows. I loved to also get my hair cut there. I felt like a princess!!! They tried to give me a Dorothy Hamil haircut one time and messed my hair up but it was worth it just going to the hair parlor!!!XOXO Bullock's!!!

Anonymous said...

I have a Facebook Page called "Bullock's Department Store Memories" It is an open group and I would welcome anybody to join that would like to share memories of the store. I was a buyer for the store in the 70's and early 80's and also worked at the Santa Ana Bullocks.

Anonymous said...

My father Mr. Bernard T Cooke worked for Bullocks for 50 years in the Los Angeles location. I am trying to find possible someone who has a parent that worked there or they did themselves. I worked summers and at Christmas. Remember going to the tea room in Los Angeles with my mother and grandmother. I was in some of the fashion shows. My father was Vice President. Would love to hear from others.