I have fond memories of working for Kresge
Newark from 1956 to 1959. After completing 2 years of college, I
was first employed as a management trainee and worked in various
departments to learn various aspects of the business including floor
sales, receiving and inventory, telephone order board and advertising.
My starting salary was $45 a week with a promotion to $50 plus medical
benefits after training was completed.
After 6 months training, I was selected as the Assistant Buyer
in the Rug and Carpet Department. I held that position for two and
a half years. During this time, I gained experience as a buyer and
department manager under the tutelage of a very experienced head
buyer and office clerk. I learned years later that I was selected
primarily because I was 6’2” and 180 lbs. Those rugs
and carpets were very heavy!
I caused quite a stir the Monday I started training on the telephone
order board as there were a large number of ladies undergarment
advertisements in the Newark Evening News and the Newark Star-Ledger
the previous Sunday. Women were very hesitant to describe their
needs to the male voice of a young man answering their call, so
I was not able to complete many sales orders that day but I had
a few good laughs.
During this time I married and resided in Perth Amboy, NJ, commuting
to downtown Newark via the Pennsylvania RR. I would usually walk
up Market Street to Kresge Newark at the corner of Broad and Market
Streets. When the weather was inclement, I would take the Newark
City Subway which stopped right under the Kresge building.
In those days, this section of Newark was very upscale as a business
and shopping center. Kresge Newark competed with Hahne’s Department
Store down the block on Broad Street. Kresge’s had an sit-down
restaurant to compete with Hahne’s.The elevators were controlled
by elegantly uniformed attractive female operators that would announce
the various departments as they reached each floor. Rugs and Carpeting
was on the 4th floor (my area) and we sold top of the line carpeting
and twice a year held sales of imported rugs from all over the world.
Learning about carpeting from Italy, Japan, and Belgium plus rugs
from the Middle East opened a whole new world to me which affected
my life long business career. We also had a “Bath Shop”
that sold the latest colorful bath rugs and accessories. It was
in managing this area that I learned the importance of having the
most popular color rugs in stock and having a liberal exchange policy
as the customer frequently wanted a different color when they saw
their first choice at home.
I have always greatly appreciated Kresge Newark for the start
they gave me so many years ago. This large department store exposed
me to a new world of wonderful products and services. I also learned
to deal with various personalities both as customers and co-workers
in an upscale environment.
Al Quinton now retired in Dover, Delaware at age 79 with these