David May

QUESTION:  The Macy's Department Store logo is a red star.  What was the inspiration for that?
A). Communism
B). A tattoo
C). Rowland Macy's family crest
D). An association with celebrity

Yesterday's blog explored the life and accomplishments of John Wanamaker, the man who established the most famous department store in Philadelphia and home of our good friend Rudi the giant white bear. The Wanamaker department store chain was run by John and his family for seventy-five years, prior to its buy-out by Woodward & Lothrop (known affectionately as Woodies by its customers). The Washington D.C.-based retailer was compelled to declare bankruptcy in 1995, at which point the May Department Stores Company took over control. For the next ten years, the Wanamaker Building became home of one of May's largest retailers, Lord & Taylor. The eagle was still the place to meet, and the organ continued to delight visitors. The rest of today's blog will be dedicated to the man who created May Department Stores Company - David May.

Born in 1848 in the Bavarian region of Germany, David May was six years old when his family moved to the bustling riverfront city of Cincinnati, Ohio (also a home to Rudolph Wurlitzer and Powell Crosley in their own times). Bad health compelled May to move to a higher elevation: Leadville, Colorado. Around the same time, a substantial silver rush was underway in Leadville and May saw opportunity. With another Jewish entrepreneur named Moses Shoenberg, he established a dry goods store in town. It did well enough that May began buying up other businesses in the region, building his brand, and moving his headquarters to bigger and bigger cities. By 1911, shares in the May's Department Stores Company began selling at the New York Stock Exchange. They continued to grow, acquiring different stores through the twentieth century. Then, in 2005, they sold out to Federated Department Stores for $11 billion in stocks. The Lord & Taylor sign was taken down from the Wanamaker Building, and a new name replaced it:  Macy's.

ANSWER:  B). A tattoo that Rowland Macy had received as a teenager while working on a whaling ship.