Return to Rich’s


UPDATE: the Bremen has replied with a link to a dedicated site about the exhibit! Return to Rich’s [link]

Yesterday afternoon on my way to lunch I spotted one of those half-ass billboards you see around in-town neighborhoods, usually advertising off-brand cigarettes or rot-gut brandy. This particular billboard snagged my attention because it had the logo for Rich’s emblazoned across that signature green, advertising an upcoming museum exhibit about that legendary department store chain. If you’re from Atlanta and are over the age of 35 the odds are strong that you harbor as much nostalgia about that old department store as me – it’s a hometown thing. So many great memories and local Atlanta tradition were made at Rich’s and it still stings that Federated Department Stores replaced this element of Atlanta’s 20th century identity with a generic yankee department store brand that I only care about on Thanksgiving morning. Of course I’m biased because I have roots in the Rich’s chain.

My Great Aunt Della was the holy terror of the perfume counter at the downtown Rich’s store for decades… she pressed on, even as the fake bun she wore pinned in her hair began to look like a furry brown kitten curled atop her greying head. Aunt Della had what I call the “royal Southern accent”, which is harder and harder to find around Atlanta these days, but let me attempt to provide an example. Always a frugal women, Della preferred saving money for her afternoon wine so she became a frequent shopper at the Nillynoo Stow, which for the rest of you translates to “the nearly-new store”… which ethe Salvation Army. But in her prime, Della was a sight to behold as she prowled up and down the counter, selling Nina Ricci and Tussy to women from all over Atlanta.

Sadly, the folks behind The William Bremen Jewish Heritage Museum have done a pretty lousy job of promoting the event online. The only information they provide includes this blurb:

Here’s the teaser quote:

The Pink Pig. Fashionata. The Magnolia Room. The Great Tree. For most Atlantans, these terms evoke memories of Rich’s. The Breman Museum is bringing Atlanta’s favorite store back for an exciting interactive exhibition that spans 150 years of Rich’s history.

Even if it’s a just a bunch of Rich’s branded kitsch I’ll be there, and I hope you will too.

Tell your Atlanta friends about this exhibit – let’s give them a great turnout to honor and celebrate the memory of this bygone Atlanta institution!!

3 Comments on “Return to Rich’s”

    1. Terrific!! I’ll be sharing it with everyone, and will update the post with the link in case people don’t read the comments. Thanks :)

  1. I worked at Richs Sign & Poster department (downtown store, 7th floor) in the mid 60s to early 70s. We did signs for all the Richs stores, and for the Display dept. There were sales promotional exhibits on the roof. For the European promotion, a replica of the statue of David was brought to the roof. For the British version, a small village, serving tea & pastry.
    I used to hand letter the old Pink Pig.
    I miss the times, and friends that I acquired there, a grand place, the shoppers, the Christmas and other holiday programs were always exciting, such as the fall hayride around the store. It was so much Atlanta at the time.

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