A miner who struck it rich in retail.

If there was ever a retailer who achieved legendary status for its customer service, it would have to be Nordstrom.

There’s the story of the customer who wanted to return a set of tires in the Anchorage store. Of course, Nordstrom doesn’t sell tires, but they still allowed the man to return them.

Then there’s the tale of the woman who lost her diamond from her wedding ring while trying on clothes. An alert security staff member spotted her crawling under the racks on the sales floor. Discovering her plight, he summoned two of the workers from building services. They checked all the bags in the company’s vacuum cleaner bags, and voila! – out pops a sparkling diamond looking for a ring.

No, these aren’t urban legends, They are real world examples of the reputation Nordstrom has created in the industry over the years and why customers of the company are so fiercely loyal.

Lost diamonds and returned tires were the farthest thing from John W. Nordstrom’s mind when he came back from the Klondike gold rush with $13,000 burning a hole in his pocket. Landing in Seattle, he and business partner Carl Wallin decided to open a shoe store, Wallin & Nordstrom, in 1901.

From the very start, Nordstrom’s focus was on exceptional service, selection, quality and value. It was a recipe for success.

The company soon became the biggest independent shoe chain in the country and by the early 1960s, it was looking to expand its operations even further, adding women’s, men’s and children’s apparel and accessories to its lineup of shoes.

Today, Nordstrom is a highly respected national brand, focused on meeting the needs of its customers, often with that “whatever it takes” philosophy that has become part of its lore. From the one flagship store in downtown Seattle, the company has grown to more than 240 stores in 31 states, including its discount store format, Nordstrom Rack.

While the company has grown tremendously over the years, it still follows the same credo John W. Nordstrom established back in 1901: “Offer the customer the best possible service, selection, quality and value.”

Famously, their employee handbook is said to be just 75 words long:

Welcome to Nordstrom

We’re glad to have you with our Company. Our number one goal is to provide outstanding customer service. Set both your personal and professional goals high. We have great confidence in your ability to achieve them.


Nordstrom Rules: Rule #1: Use best judgment in all situations. There will be no additional rules.

Please feel free to ask your department manager, store manager, or division general manager any question at any time.

Visit Nordstrom’s website for more information.