Sunday, June 17, 2012

And that building is... the former Ivey's department store!

Were you wondering what the mysterious building was, which was posted last week? Well that is former department store Ivey's, of course! In the 1980's the Ivey store was bought out by the Dillards Department Stores. Today the building that Ivey’s was housed in still stands on North Tryon, with the name Ivey’s proudly displayed.

By the 1900s, small specialty stores were the thing of the past. It was a time for Department stores to take the stage. Small stores had ruled the roost for centuries, where everything anyone needed was bought and sold at constantly changing prices. This was a problem for some people because many times store owners would price people differently, based on personal bases’. This in itself was a troublesome experience, but it would happen at many stores all over town. Before the time of Department stores, people would have had to buy their shoes at the shoe store, their hats at the hat store, and their stockings at the stocking store! Until the creation of the all inclusive Department store, did people have to spend the entire day running around town.

Once people started moving into towns, with the help of better transportation, was there a need for stores that would carry all goods. Department stores flourished once people realized they did not need to go from store to store for their goods. Today, people wouldn’t even think of going to 10 different stores, for 10 different items!

Joseph Benjamin Ivey, a man from Albemarle Virginia, changed the dynamic of Department stores. Although Ivey did not do well in school, he did do very well in the general store he worked for in the late 1800s. When he moved to Charlotte in 1900, he opened J.B. Ivey and Sons on West Trade Street. He did not like the idea of charging a different amount of money based on his customers and their relationship to him, such as what Belk was doing at the time, and started a “one price system” that set the price per item. He also gave the customer the option to pay for something over time with a little overhead on the price. This was a sort of credit based system that many people loved! Over time, his building would be converted into restaurants, offices, and condominiums.