Brands Bonwit Teller

Bonwit Teller

Bonwit Teller was a department store in New York City founded by Paul Bonwit.

Bonwit opened a store at Sixth Avenue and Eighteenth Street in 1895. Two years later he formed a partnership with Edmund D. Teller and relocated their establishment - now known as Bonwit Teller - to Sixth Avenue and Twenty-third Street. The firm was incorporated in 1907 as Bonwit Teller & Company and in 1911 relocated yet again, this time to the corner of Fifth Avenue and Thirty-eighth Street.

The firm continued to specialize in high-end women's apparel at a time when many of its competitors were diversifying their product lines, and Bonwit Teller became noted within the trade for the quality of its merchandise as well as the above-average salaries paid to both buyers and executives. It was one of a group of department stores catering to the carriage trade on Fifth Avenue, including Peck & Peck, Saks Fifth Avenue and B. Altman and Company.

Sold to the Hoving Corporation in 1946, the store underwent several changes of ownership, beginning with Genesco in 1956, then Allied Stores Corporation in 1979, and finally the Hooker Corporation in 1987. In the early 1980s, Donald Trump demolished the flagship Manhattan location to build the original Trump Tower. The Pyramid Company purchased the Bonwit Teller chain from bankruptcy court for $8 million in 1990, but reportedly lost $60 million between 1990 and 1999 acquiring and operating Bonwit Teller.

In the history of retail trade, the name Bonwit Teller has remained synonymous with high quality in women's apparel, and through that association Paul Bonwit secured his niche in the annals of New York business.

In 2005, River West Brands, a Chicago based brand revitalization company, announced that it had formed Avenue Brands LLC to help bring back the company as a luxury brand.



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