The entrance to Gump's in San Francisco
|Founder||Solomon and Gustav Gump|
Number of locations
S & G Gump was founded in 1861 as a mirror and frame shop by Solomon Gump and his brother, Gustav. It later sold mouldings, gilded cornices and European artwork to those recently made wealthy from the California Gold Rush.
The business flourished and eventually and was passed first to Solomon’s son Alfred Livingston Gump. The fire following the 1906 Earthquake destroyed the store and all of the merchandise, but thanks to Dodie Valencia, A.L. received $17,000 for one of his paintings, which allowed funding for the rebuilding and restocking of the store. A.L. was fueled by his passion for Oriental art and began selling his exotic collectibles from the Far East. He sent his buyers to Japan and China, bringing back exotic rugs, porcelains, silks, bronzes and jades to California's new millionaires.
Richard Gump, one of A.L.’s three children, eventually became president of Gump’s after his father’s death in 1947. He continued the family legacy, running the company's overall operations until his retirement in 1975. Gump's was sold to publisher Crowell Collier, which after further mergers became the media giant Macmillan Publishers. By June 1989, Gump's had again been sold, this time to an investment group including Japan's Tobu Department Store, and the Charterhouse Group. Catalog company Hanover Direct bought Gump's in 1993 and sold it to an investment group in 2005.
Gump's continues to operate a store in San Francisco as well as a catalog and website. The retailer's product offering ranges from jewelry made from jade, precious gemstones, and cultured freshwater pearls to products from luxury designers such as Hermès and Buccellati.
The store has had several locations within San Francisco and currently is located near Union Square. A Qing Dynasty gilded wood Buddha, carved for a summer palace in Northern China, is located in the store. It was carved in the Northern Manchurian Province of Jehol, the summer capital of the Qing Emperors in the early 19th Century. The piece, the largest of its kind outside a museum, is the only item in the store that is not for sale.
Roseman, Janet Lynn; Birmingham and Saeks (1991). Gump’s Since 1861, A San Francisco Legend. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books. p. 136. Gump, Richard (1962). Good Taste Costs No More. New York: Doubleday and Company. "Gump's Goes Modern". Time. May 30, 1949.
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