Gump's

Last updated
Gump's
Private
IndustryRetail
Founded1861 (1861)
FounderSolomon and Gustav Gump
Headquarters
Number of locations
1
Parent Chachas family [1]
Website www.gumps.com

Gump's is a luxury American home furnishings and home décor retailer, founded in 1861 in San Francisco, California. [2] The company was acquired by the Chachas family in June 2019 and announced that it would be opening a San Francisco location for the holiday season as well as an e-commerce business. [3]

Contents

History

S & G Gump was founded in 1861 as a mirror and frame shop by Solomon Gump and his brother, Gustav. It later sold moldings, gilded cornices, and European artwork to those recently made wealthy from the California Gold Rush.

The business flourished; the store sold products ranging from jewelry made from jade, precious gemstones, and cultured freshwater pearls to products from luxury designers such as Hermès and Buccellati. Customers included Franklin D. Roosevelt, who bought model ships and smoking jackets there, and Sarah Bernhardt, who bought a 17th-century bronze Chinese snake in preparation for playing Cleopatra. [4] It was eventually passed on to Solomon's son Alfred Livingston Gump. The fire following the 1906 earthquake destroyed the store and all of the merchandise, but thanks to Dodie Valencia, A.L. received $17,000 for one of his paintings, which allowed funding for the rebuilding and restocking of the store. A.L. was fueled by his passion for Oriental art and began selling his exotic collectibles from the Far East. He sent his buyers to Japan and China, bringing back exotic rugs, porcelains, silks, bronzes and jades to California's new millionaires.[ citation needed ]

Richard Gump, one of A.L.’s three children, eventually became president of Gump's after his father's death in 1947. He continued the family legacy, running the company's overall operations until his retirement in 1975. [5] Gump's was sold to publisher Crowell Collier, which after further mergers became Macmillan Publishers. By June 1989, Gump's had again been sold, [6] this time to an investment group including Japan's Tobu Department Store and the Charterhouse Group.

In 1993 Gump's was in financial trouble when the catalog company later known as Hanover Direct bought it. They reduced the product lines, holding a liquidation sale on May 24, 1993, and revived the business, [4] then in 2005 sold it to an investment group for $8.5 million. [7] [8]

The company began catalog sales in the 1950s and as of May 2018, more than 75% of its sales were through the catalog or online. [9]

Gump's filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on August 3, 2018. [9] On August 10, final liquidation sales began on the retailer's official website and at its remaining storefront in San Francisco; [10] the store closed on December 23, 2018. [8]

Buddha statue

A statue of Buddha was displayed inside the San Francisco store. The original statue was bronze, acquired in 1928; in 1949 Gump's donated it to the San Francisco Parks Department in memory of Alfred Livingston Gump, and it is in the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park. [11] It was replaced at some point by an unusually large Qing Dynasty gilded wood Buddha. [8] This was carved in the Chengde Mountain Resort, the summer capital of the Qing Emperors in the early 19th century, and was the largest of its kind outside a museum.[ citation needed ] It was bought by one of the 2005 purchasers, New York investment banker John Chachas, who loaned it to the store until the liquidation. [8]

Notes

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References

  1. "Gump's has been acquired". Retail Insight Network. July 8, 2019.
  2. Warren Shoulberg (9 July 2019). "Gump's And Z Gallerie Are The Latest Retailers Back From The Dead". Forbes.
  3. Sophia Kunthara (June 29, 2019). "Famed SF retail store Gump's is coming back. It may just not be in San Francisco". San Francisco Chronicle.
  4. 1 2 Bill Van Niekerken, "Ode to Gump’s: Memories flow from archive as SF’s oldest store says goodbye", San Francisco Chronicle, December 19, 2018.
  5. "About Gump Station". Archived from the original on 2010-12-21. Retrieved 2010-11-17.
  6. Isadore Barmash, "Business People; Gump's Specialty Stores Said to Fill Top Position",The New York Times, August 1, 1989.
  7. Jenny Strasburg, "Investment firms buying Gump's: Deal expected to be completed in March", San Francisco Chronicle, February 16, 2005.
  8. 1 2 3 4 Sophia Kunthara, "With Gump's closed, beloved Buddha statue pulls vanishing act", San Francisco Chronicle, December 25, 2018.
  9. 1 2 Roland Li, "Gump’s, a 157-year-old SF retailer, files for bankruptcy protection", San Francisco Chronicle, August 4, 2018.
  10. "Going-out-of-business sales begin at Gump's". Gordon Brothers. August 10, 2018. Retrieved August 14, 2018.
  11. Bill Van Niekerken, "A history lesson from the Buddha at SF's Japanese Tea Garden", San Francisco Chronicle, July 7, 2015, updated December 10, 2018.