Marvin Traub memorialized
Retail Editor 2 -- Home Textiles Today, October 24, 2012
New York - Friends, family and fans - not to mention mentees, co-workers, customers and suppliers - of Marvin Traub, the legendary former head of Bloomingdale's who passed away in July, gathered for a celebration of his life here this morning.
Several hundred people were on hand for the event, held at City Center in Midtown, including many notables from the home industry: Ralph Lauren, former Bloomies execs Sue Kronick, Lester Gribetz and Norman Axelrod, Dorothy Roberts and Steven Roberts of Echo, former mill executive Dave Tracy, financial consultant Gil Harrison, Mitchell Gold of Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams and Peggy Traub, Marvin's daughter and head of Adesso, the lighting and furniture company.
They all sat in front of a giant reproduction of the portrait done of Marvin Traub upon his retirement from Bloomingdale's two decades ago. As master of ceremonies Mortimer Singer - Traub's partner in his post-Bloomies consulting business - said, literally and figuratively, "Marvin was larger than life."
Seven speakers shared personal reminiscences and old war stories about Traub, including Gribetz, who worked with him for some four decades and is now president of Lenox. Talking about the time they visited the Forbidden City in Beijing to gather products for one of Bloomingdale's legendary country promotions, he said, "Marvin knew instinctively what would interest customers."
Kronick, who rose through the home side of the store and went on to the number two position at Macy's before retiring several years ago, talked about Traub's role in developing women executives at the store and suggested he is responsible for more senior female executives in the business than anyone else. Choking up for a moment, she said, "It shows that one person can make a difference."
Mike Gould, who succeeded Traub as ceo of the store 21 years ago, spoke about the initially awkward moments they had during that transition but then recounted how they went on to have hundreds of breakfasts and meetings together, Gould insisting that they take place at the store so he could walk the selling floors with Traub. Years later, he said, "Marvin told me we were the only two people who truly understood Bloomingdale's."
The final tribute speech came from Lauren, who credited Traub with launching his career. "I am a child of Marvin's and Bloomingdale's. He gave me my world."
And standing under the giant portrait onstage, Lauren joked about Traub's legendary energy and well-known proclivity to talk about all the things he was doing. "What can we say about Marvin Traub that he hasn't already said about himself?"
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