Born in Baltimore in 1855 Louis Bamberger came to Newark in 1892. At that time he purchased the bankrupt dry goods emporium Hill & Craig at auction. The store located at 147 Market Street, was renamed L. Bamberger & Company . Under Bamberger’s leadership , the store became very successful.
In 1912, the first section of the richly ornamented terracotta building most Newarker’s remember as Bamberger’s was opened . The bronze medal included in this blog was minted to commemorate the opening of that new building. The store initially occupied only a section of the block bounded by Market,Halsey, Bank and Washington Streets. In 1928, the last section of the store, which fronted Bank Street, was completed. The store had a famous clock, located on the exterior , above the corner of Market and Halsey Streets. The clock became a favorite place for shoppers and visitors to rendezvous when downtown.
Bamberger was a merchandising genius whose innovations including newspaper and radio advertisements and the brilliant use of window and in-store displays set the standard for twentieth century retailers. An early advocate of technology, Bamberger founded the WOR radio station which was broadcast from the store. Of course, having a radio station in-house was also a great way to boost radio sales.
Bamberger treated his employees very well. He provided a library, a social service department, a fully equiped health department and even had a local college offer courses in house. The store employed 2,800 at its peak. In 1929, Bamberger sold the store to R.H. Macy, 236 employees who had been with the store for years shared 0ne million dollars of Louis Bamberger’s proceeds from the sale.
Macy’s kept the Bamberger name until 1986 when all of the Bamberger store stores were rebranded. The flagship store in Newark was closed in 1991.