Rowland Hussey Macy was born on August 30th 1822 in Nantucket Island, Massachusetts (Rowland Hussey Macy). He was the fourth of six children born to a Quaker family. Nantucket was once the home of more millionaires than anywhere else in the United States, thanks to the whaling industry. Rowlands father, John Macy was a shopkeeper in Nantucket, who had set sail on two previous expeditions in the Atlantic with whale hunters. Macy followed in his father’s foot steps, and when he was 15 he went out on his first whale voyage on the Emily Morgan. Macy was married to Louisa Houghton (1820 - 1888), and had two children who were Rowland Hussey Macy Jr. (1847 – 1878), and Florence Macy (1853 – 1933), who married James F. Sutton.
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Rowland Macy employed the first in store Santa Claus during the holidays, and had a major part in recreating Christmas in America as a retail as much as a religious event (Yates, Mick). The store also produced its own made to measure clothing for both men and women, assembled in an on site factory. Macy’s store was also the first major retailer to hold a New york City liquor license. He originated themed store exhibits and lightened window displays to draw customers in from the street. The red star in the Macy’s logo was Mr. Macy’s idea, inspired by a red star tattoo on his hand from his whaling days. The store latered moved to 18th Stree and Broadway, on the “Ladies Mile”, the elite shopping district of the time, where it remained for nearly 40 years.
In its first year, while a recession went over the country, Macy’s did $90,000 in sales. As the business grew, Macy obtained the leasing of 11 neighboring buildings, creating the concept of what we know today as the department store, selling everything from clothing to jewelry to toys and housewares. In 1874, Macy leased the basement of his building to L. Straus & Sons. Lazarus Straus and his sons, Isidor and Nathan, sold china, glassware and silver (and later took ownership of Macy’s when it got passed from the Macy family in 1895). The china department soon became the store’s most famous. Rowland Macy introduced new products to