A note from our CEO, Alan Brown.
Today I walked into Nordstrom at 57th and Broadway – their new flagship store in Manhattan. And like pretty much everyone else, I agree it’s a retail experience that is truly worthy of its place in the fashion capital of the world.
But as a branding guy, the thing that captured my attention and my heart is what Nordstrom chose to display in their windows facing 57th Street. In these windows are two massive, silver tires. Not only are they super cool, but they are a celebration and symbol of what makes Nordstrom different than any other retailer in the world. Nordstrom is smart, innovative and humble, yet confident enough to embrace their heritage – and they did it in a way that is spectacular. They are the retailer that always puts customers first, that says “yes” – ever since the legendary tire story.
And…if you don’t know the tire story, it goes something like this:
Years ago, when Nordstrom opened in Alaska, the store was built in place of what was originally a tire store. Meanwhile, a woman’s husband died, and in the aftermath, she discovered a tire he purchased in their garage…and because it was never used, she decided to take it back.
When she drove to the tire location she’d always known, it was now a Nordstrom. She was confused but took the tire into the store and said her husband bought it there and she wanted to return it. Well, Nordstrom has what they call a “Use your best judgment” policy. When you DO use your best judgment, you are promised that you will be honored for the decision. So, the employee used his or her judgment to err on the side of their Customer-first philosophy and allowed her to return the tire, paying her what she said her husband spent.
And so it goes.