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Retailer Saks Inc. said Monday (May 3) that is closing its Saks Fifth Avenue store in the Fashion Valley shopping center by July 17. The company statement indicated that the San Diego store was not one of the company's more productive ones. In March, the company said it would close its Portland, Oregon store in July. About 70 associates are employed in the store. They will be offered transfer opportunities or will receive appropriate severance packages, the company said.

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Don Bauder May 4, 2010 @ 3:06 p.m.

Response to post #1: Unfortunately, no. High-end retailers are still around, particularly in Fashion Valley. Best, Don Bauder


SurfPuppy619 May 4, 2010 @ 5:21 p.m.

This is a beautiful store inside-blows Nordtsroms in the dust.

I. Magnin re-did this store at least 15 years wgo when I. Magnin took it over (forgot who was in there prior-Bullocks??), but I. Magnin closed the store after just 12 months or so-which was weird considering the huge amount of improvments they made to this location.

I cannot recall if Saks took it over after Magnin or if there was someone in between Magnina and Saks.

But this location won't stay empty for long-it is too upscale and classy to sit empty.


Visduh May 4, 2010 @ 6:27 p.m.

For a time in the 80's, Sak's had two stores in San Diego. They had a smaller store in La Jolla for many years, but it was a casualty of the previous recession (the one in 1991-2, remember?) For some reason I think this store they are now closing was the second try to have one in the Mission Valley area. Are we sure this one is in Fashion Valley? My recollection is that it is in Mission Valley Center, and is in fact, the previous Bullocks.


Burwell May 4, 2010 @ 6:59 p.m.

For a time in the 80's, Sak's had two stores in San Diego. They had a smaller store in La Jolla for many years, but it was a casualty of the previous recession (the one in 1991-2, remember?)

In the 1960s Neil Morgan rented a large motor home and drove it through the portico at the Sak's store in La Jolla. The entire top half of the motorhome was destroyed and the vehicle was a total loss.


Don Bauder May 4, 2010 @ 10:09 p.m.

Response to post #3: Does this tell us anything about Fashion Valley? Traditionally, a large part of its clientele has been wealthy Mexicans. Has the mix changed? Best, Don Bauder


Don Bauder May 4, 2010 @ 10:12 p.m.

Response to post #4: Saks said in its news release about the closing that the location was Fashion Valley. Best, Don Bauder


Don Bauder May 4, 2010 @ 10:13 p.m.

Response to post #5: I never heard that story -- from Neil or from anybody else. Best, Don Bauder


Burwell May 4, 2010 @ 10:21 p.m.

Response to post #5: I never heard that story -- from Neil or from anybody else. Best, Don Bauder


Check your sources. Burwell knows all.


johnsd May 4, 2010 @ 11:49 p.m.

The original store was Buffums, which was founded by the family of Dorothy Chandler. Those were the days when department stores in California were owned by California families. I believe both I. Magnin and Bullocks Wilshire occupied the space. It is perhaps the most opulent store in Fashion Valley.

I think that upscale retail may have a difficult time because their prices have greatly exceeded the rate of inflation and society dresses ever more casually. Between employment insecurity and less disposable income, many of these discretionary purchases can be delayed. It is also difficult to pay their full retail prices when the items are made in China, or other low-wage countries. In fact, you can sometimes find a higher percentage of clothing made in Italy at Costco than you can at Nordstrom.

I have rarely seen many customers at the Saks store. For whatever reason, I saw far more wealthy Mexicans at Neiman Marcus or Nordstrom than at Saks. At least for men's clothing, NM has the very high end and Nordstrom has more "reasonably" priced merchandise. It may be that Saks was caught in the middle between the two and Bloomingdale's took too many of their remaining customers.

A sad aspect of this closure is that at least 70 people will lose their jobs. My mother has had a long-term relationship with a sales lady in the cosmetics department. We will have to call her to see what she plans to do.


David Dodd May 4, 2010 @ 11:58 p.m.

Buffums! I haven't thought about Buffums in years! One of my earliest memories was going to Buffums with my mother as a young boy. That was in Pomona, because there was not a whole lot between Pomona and Los Angeles back then. We had to buy clothing and such in Pomona. I had no idea they were in San Diego as well. Wow, that was so long ago.


Duhbya May 5, 2010 @ 5:50 a.m.

Re #8: I recall seeing the photo, probably in the Trib, and recall that Neil came off in the story as being pretty embarrassed by the ordeal. I think he and Judith were just leaving on a trip and "ducked" into Saks for a moment. I also remember it as being more recent, circa late 70's - early 80's.


Don Bauder May 5, 2010 @ 7:05 a.m.

Response to post #9: I wasn't disputing the account. I was just saying that I never heard the story -- or if I did, I forgot it. Best, Don Bauder


Don Bauder May 5, 2010 @ 7:14 a.m.

Response to post #10: The loss of both Bullock's and Buffum's was sad. They were both based in Southern California; hence, profits stayed in the area (although not San Diego). They were both good stores, too. Best, Don Bauder


Don Bauder May 5, 2010 @ 7:16 a.m.

Response to post #11: Buffum's had both a good store and a restaurant at Grossmont Center in La Mesa. We used to take our sons to the restaurant to dine quite often. (They were young then and are now in their 40s.) Best, Don Bauder


Don Bauder May 5, 2010 @ 7:18 a.m.

Response to post #12: I'm not disputing these accounts. I am just saying that I am drawing a blank on the incident. Best, Don Bauder


Duhbya May 5, 2010 @ 8:18 a.m.

Re #16: I did not think that you were disputing it. Was just sharing my recollection. I felt sorry for Neil at the time because such a story likely would not normally have seen print.


Grasca May 5, 2010 @ 8:42 a.m.

Buffum's had a very nice tea room where I first ate a Monte Cristo sandwich. They also provided real boxes for purchases - not the cheap folding kind you get now. It may have been an "old style" store but the employees were truly knowledgeable and courteous. The Costco experience pales in comparison even though the hot dogs are good.


Don Bauder May 5, 2010 @ 2:51 p.m.

Response to post #17: I'm sure Neil felt bad about the whole thing. Best, Don Bauder


Don Bauder May 5, 2010 @ 2:55 p.m.

Response to post #18: We live 10 miles outside of the little town of Salida, Colorado. Supposedly, the Monte Cristo sandwich was invented in Salida. Of course, there may be 20 or 30 other towns that claim they originated the Monte Cristo. Best, Don Bauder


Visduh May 5, 2010 @ 4:12 p.m.

Well, after reading of the store's closing in the U-T this morning, complete with a diagram of the layout of Fashion Valley, I must reluctantly conclude that I was wrong. My immediate reaction was to figure this was the former Buffums in FV. And that appears to have been the case. So, which retailer took over that Bullocks that was added to Mission Valley Center in about 1975? Oh, and as far as the Saks in La Jolla is concerned, I really did think it had been gone for about 20 years. For those who wish for Bullocks Wilshire, there was one in La Jolla Village Square, west of I-5 off La Jolla Village Drive for a time, and I think that was converted to an I. Magnin (or was it the other way round?) before they both disappeared from the scene.


Don Bauder May 5, 2010 @ 5:09 p.m.

Response to post #21: In any case, it appears San Diego County has had a lot of turnover in upscale retailers. Best, Don Bauder


Burwell May 5, 2010 @ 7:37 p.m.

Re #16: I did not think that you were disputing it. Was just sharing my recollection. I felt sorry for Neil at the time because such a story likely would not normally have seen print.


The incident ocurred in 1968 if I remember correctly. Neil decribed the incident in his column at least three times that I recall. The last time was sometime during the late 1990s when the picture of Neil looking at the wreck was published.


Visduh May 5, 2010 @ 8:05 p.m.

Burwell is right. Morgan retold the story over the years in the Tribune. With those retellings any notion that he felt bad or even sheepish about it should have been erased. As I recall, he claimed to have inadvertently tape recorded the whole thing, with a small cassette recorder or dictaphone. His motivation to retell the tale was unclear. He should have been embarrassed, but instead seemed to be trying to have a legend established. Some legend!


Don Bauder May 6, 2010 @ 8:31 a.m.

Response to post #23: I didn't arrived until 1973. That may explain why I didn't know about it. I must have missed the 1990s recapitulation. Best, Don Bauder


Don Bauder May 6, 2010 @ 8:36 a.m.

Response to post #24: Neil built great readership through the years. Retelling this story may have been one of his astute tricks. Best, Don Bauder


patrick67 May 8, 2010 @ 10:18 a.m.

I worked at/for Saks in Mission Valley from 1988-1994. It was a fun store with cool people. It was were the Bed, Bath and Beyond is now across from Seau's.

The old Lajolla store was on Girard and the Men's store was separate as you had to walk outside. They closed in 1993!

The MVC store closed in 1994 and re-opened in the I. Magnin space in 1995.

I also worked for Saks back in Boston from 1986-1988. The company was awesome back then.

It completely changed in the mid-90's. The typical customer was alienated by the fact that Saks had replaced many seasoned associates with a younger staff and their service went south.

Many memories and good friends from the old days!!!!


Don Bauder May 8, 2010 @ 11:45 a.m.

Response to post #27: Other retailers have made the same mistake. One of the big electronics retailers laid off the sales personnel with the most seniority and the highest salaries. Inexperienced help took over. The company went into bankruptcy. Best, Don Bauder


nan shartel May 8, 2010 @ 12:25 p.m.

i worked at Saks in San Francisco years gone by...late 50's...it was a prestigious store...i loved working there...of course that was the day when no woman went downtown without gloves and a hat to work anywhere

it was on Union square..perfect location...with a walk thru to Macy's right behind it

it was a real coup to be hired by Saks...of course i couldn't afford to buy there


Don Bauder May 9, 2010 @ 3:42 p.m.

Response to post #29: Nan, on another post you are being identified as a "hot chick." Therefore, I congratulate you: if you worked at Saks in the late 1950s and are still being called a hot chick by admiring macho males, then you are a wonder of self-preservation. You may be nearly as old as I am (74 this month). Nobody calls me a "hot stud." Best, Don Bauder


rileychas July 21, 2010 @ 2:54 p.m.

Does anyone know where the watch repair guy that operated in Saks has relocated?


nan shartel July 21, 2010 @ 3:45 p.m.


what the hell r u talking about Don...I'VE BEEN CALLING U A "HOT STUD" FOR MONTHS NOW

and waxingpoetic in poetry and prose all over the Reader about hhhhhhhmmmmmmm...er um...u know

hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha...and in Aug i'll be 71

and that is me the curly grey haired one in the avatar...and i've preserved myself for a man JUST LIKE U


uh oh...did i say to much???


SurfPuppy619 Feb. 2, 2013 @ 8:24 p.m.

what the hell r u talking about Don...I'VE BEEN CALLING U A "HOT STUD" FOR MONTHS NOW

Auntie nan, control yourself!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


AlanH Feb. 2, 2013 @ 6:25 p.m.


No doubt you've already read it, but here's the tale of the "I ran into Saks...." by Neil Morgan.


... and speaking of department stores

Can anyone remember the store that anchored the WEST end of Grossmont Center from the 1960's to the 1970's?

I read where Marston's (... then Broadway ...then, and now Macy's) was the major tennant on the WEST end... but the mall continued with additional stores.

Did S.S. Kresge's occupy the two story building that is now Target? Was S.S. Kresge's a two story (i.e. ground floor and basement) building... or was it a single ground floor?

Thanks for any info you can offer.


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