Miami's "Store With The Florida Flair" Opens

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1956: A Quarter-Million Square Feet of Miami-Style Shopping

The first Jordan Marsh store in Miami was a big place — 250,000 square feet on three floors, the “largest ever built in the South under one roof at one time,” as the New York Times noted.

The store cost ten million dollars, and in addition to atom age elevators (with operators in a little cubicle separate from riders!) and showcases designed specifically to showcase the goods they contained, that money was spent on a glossy retail space with what the ads called “Florida Flair.”

The store’s design reflected the tropical ease of life in Miami by bringing the outdoors in.

Floor-to-ceiling windows let in lots of Florida sunshine, and much of the store was painted light blue. This color scheme, noted the Times, was “typical of Florida home-living but exceptional in a store.”

Our clip combines two 1956 news stories. The first, aired January 23, 1956, is a sneak peek at the store as it was being prepared for its opening. After a few shots of the neighborhood surrounding the store (where the highest high-rise was the Miami Women’s Club) the interior, and the JM staffers busily prepping it, are revealed.

The second half of our clip, beginning at 01:01:27:00, captures the excitement of Jordan Marsh’s February 6 opening. The crowds! Vocalist Hal March! Miami Mayor Randy Christmas (seen cutting the ribbon on the new store at 01:02:28:00). And B. Earl Puckett, chairman of the board of Allied Stores Corporation, owner of the new emporium, chimes in with a few words about that “Florida Flair” thing.

And there’s an organ grinder. With a monkey. Maybe a Bostonian touch?

Photo courtesy Florida State Archives / Florida Memory.

This video and audio is copyrighted/owned by the Lynn and Louis Wolfson II Florida Moving Image Archives.

Subscribe to the Lynn and Louis Wolfson II Florida Moving Image Archives’ YouTube channel and tune in to the fascination and fun of Miami and Florida’s past, captured on film and video and preserved by the Wolfson Archives at Miami Dade College.

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