Boston Store

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Not to be confused with Boston Store (Erie, Pennsylvania).
The Boston Store, Inc.
Industry Retail
Founded 1897
Headquarters Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Number of locations
14 (2011)[1]
Products Clothing, footwear, bedding, furniture, jewelry, beauty products, housewares
Parent The Bon-Ton

Boston Store is an American department store owned by The Bon-Ton stores. It was founded in 1897 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.


1920s and 1930s[edit]

Throughout the 1920s and 30s the Boston Store was run by Philip Irving Stone. His nephew, Irving Stone, worked as a manager and in 1927-8 dated Broadway ingenue and later MGM movie star Jeanette MacDonald.[2]

In December 1933, 600 of the store's 1000 employees walked out in a famous White Collar union strike.[3]

Federated and Maus Freres S.A.[edit]

Julian Simon's control of Boston Store was sold to Federated Department Stores in 1948 and under Federated, branch stores were opened in several Wisconsin cities including Oshkosh, Sheboygan and Manitowoc. Ownership later passed to the Bergner's chain of Peoria, Illinois in 1985 (itself owned by Switzerland-based Maus Frères S.A., a retail conglomerate controlled by the Maus and Nordmann Families); soon afterward Bergner's relocated its headquarters to Milwaukee.


As cross-town rival Gimbels was being dismantled in 1986, Boston Store acquired three Gimbel's branches at Southgate Mall, Milwaukee, East Towne Mall, Madison and Mayfair Mall, Wauwatosa.

In 1989, P.A. Bergner bought Chicago's Carson Pirie Scott for over $450 million. Carson's itself had just bought Minneapolis-based Donaldson's in November 1987. With this, Bergner's was a major Midwestern presence, with stores in five states: Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, Indiana, and Iowa, operating under the Bergner's, Carson Pirie Scott and Boston Store names.

Bankruptcy and merger with Proffitt's[edit]

In 1991, Bergner's filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, with Maus Freres S.A. losing control of the company in a bitter fight. In 1993, the organization emerged from bankruptcy court under the name Carson Pirie Scott & Co, trading under the symbol CPS. Eventually, Proffitt's Inc., now Saks Incorporated, bought Carson Pirie Scott in 1998 and its purchase increased the northern presence of the Saks Incorporated company.

Sale to The Bon-Ton[edit]

In July 2005, Saks completed the sale of its Southern Department Store Group consisting of Proffitt's and McRae's to Charlotte, North Carolina-based Belk, Inc. On October 31, 2005, Saks announced that it was selling Boston Store and its other Northern Department Store Group stores (Carson Pirie Scott, Bergner's, Younkers, and Herberger's) to Bon-Ton Stores in a $1.1 billion deal. The transaction was completed on March 6, 2006.[4] Younkers stores in the footprint of the Milwaukee television market were rebranded to Boston Store, simplifying the company's ads to feature one Bon-Ton banner per market.