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Formerly called
J. Bacon & Sons
Department store
Industry Retail
Fate acquired by Dillards
Founded Louisville, Kentucky, 1845 (1845)
Founder Jeremiah Bacon
Defunct 1998 (1998)
Headquarters Louisville, Kentucky
Number of locations
6 (1998)[citation needed]
Area served
Louisville, Kentucky, Southern Indiana, Owensboro, Kentucky
Parent Mercantile Stores

Bacon's was a chain of department stores based in Louisville, Kentucky.

Jeremiah Bacon opened a store called Bacon's Dry Goods in 1845 on Market Street near Hancock Street. In 1876 he moved into a structure four times larger than the original. In 1901, Bacon's opened a location on Fourth and Market streets that became its flagship store. The new 115,000-square-foot (10,700 m2) building had entrances on each street and featured a distinctive spiraling atrium.[1] The store remained open until September 6, 1972, when it closed to make way for the Kentucky International Convention Center.[2][3]

In 1903, Bacon's sons sold the store to the large New York City-based dry goods conglomerate H.B. Claflin & Company, the owner of Stewart Dry Goods. The store was acquired by Ohio-based Mercantile Stores[1] when Claflin went bankrupt in 1914.[4] Bacon's opened a suburban location in St. Matthews in 1953;[5] locations followed in Shively in 1956[6] and Bashford Manor Mall in 1972.[7] The chain added a location in Owensboro, Kentucky in 1977.[8]

In 1982, Bacon's revived its Downtown Louisville presence with a store in the Louisville Galleria (later renamed Fourth Street Live!). The downtown store closed in 2003. In 1988, it opened a location in Mall St. Matthews.[8]

Bacon's marketed itself as Kentucky's oldest department store, and often held elaborate sales and celebrations for its anniversaries. Bacon's also held "Midnight Madness" sales that were popular with shoppers. In the 1990s, Bacon's faced increasing competition from national chains, including Dillard's, which would often open up locations in the same shopping centers as Bacon's.

Some Louisville-based department store chains competitors included Stewart Dry Goods, Ben Snyders, and Kaufman-Straus.

Mercantile Stores was acquired by Dillard's in 1998[9] and the Bacon's name was retired.[1][10]

Southern Indiana[edit]

Bacon's always had a presence in Indiana prior to opening of its St. Matthews store in 1953. One of the earliest location in Indiana was on Spring Street in downtown Jeffersonville.[11] By the mid-1950s, this store was determined to be too small and was replaced by a much larger store in the newly built Youngstown shopping center in 1956.[12] The store in the Youngstown Shopping Center in Jeffersonville moved in 1990 to River Falls Mall.[13]


  1. ^ a b c Miller, Kenneth L. (2001). "Bacon's". In Kleber, John E. Encyclopedia of Louisville. pp. 57–58. ISBN 9780813128900. OCLC 42726130. 
  2. ^ Goetz, David (August 21, 2002). "Dillard's to exit Galleria by January's end". The Courier-Journal. pp. 01A. 
  3. ^ Thompson, Jim (August 30, 1972). "Bacon's to close its downtown store on Sept. 6". The Courier-Journal. pp. B1 – via (Subscription required (help)). 
  4. ^ "Receivers Appointed for H.B. Company". Printers' Ink. 88 (1). July 2, 1914. pp. 94–95. 
  5. ^ "Bacon's Plays Up Back of the Store". Women's Wear Daily. 87 (115). December 10, 1953. p. 47. To encourage impulse buying, J. Bacon & Son, St. Matthews has emphasis the rear entrance of the store... This is the first suburban unit in Kentucky. It was opened less than 11 months after ground was broken for it. On a lot totalling 72,000 square feet, selling space of the actual two floors of the store is 34,000 square feet.  Link via ProQuest.
  6. ^ "Bacon's Launches 54,000 Sq. Ft. Branch In Shopping Center". Women's Wear Daily. 93 (90). November 7, 1956. p. 12. Bacon's Department Store has opened its 54,000-square-foot unit in Bacon's Shively shopping center along with 15 other stores. The new store gives Bacon's four outlets in the Louisville area. One is in downtown at Fourth and Market, another is in suburban St. Matthews, and another in Youngstown shopping center in Jeffersonville.  Link via ProQuest.
  7. ^ "Retail Briefs". Women's Wear Daily. 125 (21). August 2, 1972. p. 26.  Link via ProQuest.
  8. ^ a b Egerton, Judith (March 25, 1995). "Bacons starts the party: Retailer marking 150th anniversary". The Courier-Journal. pp. 14B – via (Subscription required (help)). 
  9. ^ Carter, Reon (May 28, 1998). "Few big changes in store for Mercantile shoppers". The Cincinnati Enquirer. 
  10. ^ Boyd, Terry (June 8, 1998). "Dillard's says Bacons name will go". Louisville Business First. 
  11. ^ Tomizawa, Thomas (August 16, 1955). "The "Squeeze": Small City Store Seen Caught In Downtown-Suburb Battle: Barely Holding Their Own.". Women's Wear Daily. 91 (32). pp. 1, 55. This year, three of the biggest stores on Spring Street, Jeffersonville's main business street, have announced they will be in one of the two shopping centers. One of them is Louisville's J. Bacon & Sons department store, which will close their Spring Street branch. Construction of a new Bacon's branch in the Youngstown center is progressing.  Link via ProQuest.
  12. ^ "Bacon Unit Bows To Heavv Traffic". Women's Wear Daily. 92 (103). May 25, 1956. p. 8. J. Bacon & Sons department store has opened its 32,000-square-foot suburban shopping center branch in Jeffersonville, Ind., across the river from Louisville. [T]he new store in the Youngstown Shopping Center is almost five times the size of the store it replaces in downtown Jeffersonville.  Link via ProQuest.
  13. ^ Quinlan, Michael (August 28, 1990). "Youngstown merchants hoping for sale, revival". The Courier-Journal. pp. A1 – via (Subscription required (help)).