Nordstrom’s employees and management are the company’s most valuable resource. An article written in the Seattle PI describes exactly why this is true. It states that, “Nordstrom salespeople make decisions as if managing their own business; they are trusted to do what is right. Everyone else in the company is there to help the sales staff make the sale and please the customer” (Mulady, 2009). The way the employees are treated and valued is a perfect portrayal of the company’s mission of providing the best possible customer service and value to the customer. Even though the salesperson is the front man for the company, the human resource and management team act as the glue that holds the company together. The president of the company, Blake W. Nordstrom, says that people in support positions “like myself or someone in human resources that isn’t on the floor manning a register,” needs to understand that their job is to use the “energy and the activities they’re doing contribute to a better customer and employee experience” (HR Magazine, 2006). It is, therefore, extremely important that the workers in the human resource department stay connected to the selling process in order to stay connected with the employees, as it is this connection that helps the employees provide the best service to their customers. Company History and Background
In 1887, 16-year-old boy named John W. Nordstrom left his home country, Sweden, for the city of New York City. He arrived with only five dollars in his pocket, unable to speak a word of English and started working in gold mines. One morning in 1897, he picked up a newspaper and read the front-page headline "Gold Found in the Klondike in Alaska." Although the labor was hard he managed, in two years, to earn $13,000 in a gold mine stake and returned to Seattle.
Back in the Northwest, John was eager to invest his money. In Alaska John became best friends with Carl Wallin, who owned a shoe repair shop in downtown Seattle and it was not long before the two decided to go into partnership and open a shoe store together. In 1901, the two opened their first shoe store, Wallin & Nordstrom, in downtown Seattle. This was the start of what would become the retail legend of Nordstrom, Inc. From the beginning, John's business philosophy was based on exceptional service, selection, quality and value. The company built a devoted customer base; and in 1923, the partners added their second store.
In 1928, John Nordstrom retired and sold his share of the company to his sons, Everett and Elmer. Carl Wallin retired a year later and also sold his share of the company to the Nordstrom sons. The third son, Lloyd, joined the team in 1933.
The company soon grew to become the largest independent shoe chain in the United States. By 1960, Nordstrom had eight stores in Washington and Oregon, and the downtown Seattle store became the largest shoe store in the country.
By the early 1960s, the company was looking for new ways to spread its wings. Venturing into the clothing market, Nordstrom purchased Best Apparel, a Seattle-based clothing store, in 1963. Three years later, Nordstrom purchased a Portland, Oregon fashion retail store and merged it with their existing Portland shoe store. For the first time, customers were greeted with a selection of both shoes and fine apparel under a new store name: Nordstrom Best. Men's clothing and children's wear were added in 1966, expanding the store to meet the wardrobe needs of the entire family. Business prospered and within two years, two new stores opened in Washington.
In 1968, the three brothers decided to retire and hand the company over to the third Nordstrom generation. The company was now led by Bruce, James and John Nordstrom along with Jack McMillan and family friend Bob Bender. The company went public in 1971. Just two years later, Nordstrom sales passed the $100 million mark and the company was recognized as the largest-volume West Coast...