GOODMAN, ANDREW

GOODMAN, ANDREW (1907–1993), U.S. merchant. Bergdorf Goodman was already one of New York City's most elegant fashion emporiums when Andrew Goodman inherited it. But it was he who transformed it from a store that catered to the carriage trade to one that expanded its appeal to "people who have more taste than money and are on the way up." Goodman's father, Edwin, founded the store early in the 20th century. He came to New York City in 1899 and went into business with a tailor named Herman Bergdorf. After buying out Bergdorf in 1906 – but keeping his name as part of the business – the elder Goodman moved the shop from lower Fifth Avenue further uptown, branching out as a furrier and dressmaker. In 1926, Andrew Goodman, who had spent an uneventful year and a half at the University of Michigan, was summoned home by his father and sent to Paris to apprentice at the house of couturier Jean Patou. Goodman came back to the U.S. a year later and joined the family business, which was beginning to undergo an important transition. Instead of limiting itself to custom-made clothing, Bergdorf Goodman began offering clothing off the rack. The concept was a hit and by 1928 annual volume was $5 million. Ready to expand, Bergdorf's moved into a new marble and sandstone building on Fifth Avenue and 57th Street. Inside, the store looked like the genteel home of a moneyed family. Its fashions were from top U.S. and European designers, its clients were the wealthy and well known, and its saleswomen often exuded a snobbishness that could be terrifying. After service in the U.S. Navy during World War II, Goodman returned to the store, becoming president in 1951. When his father died, in 1953, Goodman inherited the store and the title of chairman. He also began reaching out to women who might have been put off by Bergdorf's intimidating image. In 1955, Goodman opened the Miss Bergdorf Shop, which featured more moderately priced merchandise. It quickly became highly popular. He also added antiques, a beauty salon, and an art gallery presided over by his wife, Nena. Bergdorf's kept expanding, eventually doubling in size to 120,000 square feet. By 1969, it was the nation's only large high-quality specialty store that was independently owned, but in 1972, Goodman sold the business to Broadway Hale Stores. He retained the real estate as well as the 16-room penthouse above the store, where his family lived, and he remained as president until 1975. Active in philanthropic and civic affairs, Goodman was a chairman of the Fifth Avenue Association and the Better Business Bureau of New York. He was vice president of the American Jewish Committee and served on the boards of various other Jewish organizations. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: New York Times (April 5, 1993); W magazine (Nov. 2003). (Mort Sheinman (2nd ed.)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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