John W. Nordstrom
John W. Nordstrom was the co-founder of the Nordstrom
Nordstrom, Inc. is an upscale department store chain in the United States, founded by John W. Nordstrom and Carl F. Wallin. Initially a shoe retailer, the company today also sells clothing, accessories, handbags, jewelry, cosmetics, fragrances, and in some locations, home furnishings...

 department store chain.


He was born Johan Nordström (later anglicizing it to "John") in the village of Alvik, near Luleå, Sweden, and 60 miles from the Arctic Circle
Arctic Circle
The Arctic Circle is one of the five major circles of latitude that mark maps of the Earth. For Epoch 2011, it is the parallel of latitude that runs north of the Equator....

. Nordstrom's father, a blacksmith
A blacksmith is a person who creates objects from wrought iron or steel by forging the metal; that is, by using tools to hammer, bend, and cut...

, wainwright
A wainwright is a tradesperson skilled in the making and repairing of wagons . The word is the combination of the archaic words "wain" and "wright" .In places:*Canada...

, and part-time farmer, died when Nordstrom was eight. Three years later, Nordstrom's mother took him out of school to work on the family farm. He emigrated to the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 at the age of 16. Arriving in America with $5 to his name, he worked his way across the continent taking jobs on railways and in mines, lumber camps and shipyards, eventually arriving in Seattle, Washington
Seattle, Washington
Seattle is the county seat of King County, Washington. With 608,660 residents as of the 2010 Census, Seattle is the largest city in the Northwestern United States. The Seattle metropolitan area of about 3.4 million inhabitants is the 15th largest metropolitan area in the country...

 in 1896.

While working at a sawmill he read a newspaper account of the discovery of gold in the Klondike
Klondike Gold Rush
The Klondike Gold Rush, also called the Yukon Gold Rush, the Alaska Gold Rush and the Last Great Gold Rush, was an attempt by an estimated 100,000 people to travel to the Klondike region the Yukon in north-western Canada between 1897 and 1899 in the hope of successfully prospecting for gold...

 and headed to Alaska
Alaska is the largest state in the United States by area. It is situated in the northwest extremity of the North American continent, with Canada to the east, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south, with Russia further west across the Bering Strait...

 to make his fortune. He invested in a claim on Gold Run, but his right to the claim was challenged and a lawsuit was filed. Nordstrom was delighted when another party offered him $30,000 for the claim. He sold it, split the money with his two partners, and returned with his share ($13,000) to the warmer climate of Seattle.

Nordstrom, Inc.

In Seattle, Nordstrom attended business school,building two rental houses on Capitol Hill and decided to join his friend, Carl Wallin, in the shoe business. He and Carl opened Wallin & Nordstrom, a shoe store, at Fourth Avenue and Pike Street in 1901. From that first shoe store grew the Nordstrom retail empire. John Nordstorm retired in 1928 selling his stake to his sons Everett Nordstrom and Elmer Nordstrom. Everett and Elmer also acquired Carl Wallin's share of the company. John's third son Lloyd Nordstrom joined the company as a part owner in 1933. Members of the Nordstrom family still own 20% of Nordstrom Inc and closely supervise the chain. Ironically John Nordstrom never had a passion for the shoe business, although he continued to show up at the shoe store almost daily into his mid 80s to chat with customers. His initials (JWN) are used as Nordstroms' ticker symbol on the New York Stock Exchange
New York Stock Exchange
The New York Stock Exchange is a stock exchange located at 11 Wall Street in Lower Manhattan, New York City, USA. It is by far the world's largest stock exchange by market capitalization of its listed companies at 13.39 trillion as of Dec 2010...


Personal information

In May 1900, John Nordstrom married Hilda Carlson, also a Swedish immigrant, and began raising a family. He and Hilda eventually had three sons: Everett, Elmer, and Lloyd. All three of Nordstrom's sons eventually managed the store, in turn, as they graduated from the University of Washington
University of Washington
University of Washington is a public research university, founded in 1861 in Seattle, Washington, United States. The UW is the largest university in the Northwest and the oldest public university on the West Coast. The university has three campuses, with its largest campus in the University...

 School of Business.

Nordstrom's only sister Maria's grandchildren and great-grandchildren still live in Alvik, the village where he was born, and in the nearby city of Luleå, all in the north of Sweden. They have done well in the transportation business, owning Alviks bus and trucking companies Alviks Trafik and NEX based out of Luleå. One of his sister's great-granddaughters, Britta, and her husband Christopher Alam live in Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Lancaster is a city in the south-central part of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. It is the county seat of Lancaster County and one of the older inland cities in the United States, . With a population of 59,322, it ranks eighth in population among Pennsylvania's cities...

 from where they lead a Christian missionary work working extensively in Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

 and Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia, South-East Asia, South East Asia or Southeastern Asia is a subregion of Asia, consisting of the countries that are geographically south of China, east of India, west of New Guinea and north of Australia. The region lies on the intersection of geological plates, with heavy seismic...

. A cousin of Nordstrom, John Nordstrom, was a designer of the Parliament Building in Ottawa, Canada. Some of his descendants, the Strand family, live in Minnesota
Minnesota is a U.S. state located in the Midwestern United States. The twelfth largest state of the U.S., it is the twenty-first most populous, with 5.3 million residents. Minnesota was carved out of the eastern half of the Minnesota Territory and admitted to the Union as the thirty-second state...



External links

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