Boeing, Microsoft, Amazon, Starbucks, Nordstrom, REI–all started in Seattle.

It’s easy to describe why Seattle has been successful over the years:

The city’s key industries are diverse, from aviation to retail to technology. But all the top companies share a proven success formula: offer useful products people need, treat workers well and add a twist of innovation. “They are not inventors, but perfectors,” says Leonard Garfield, executive director of Seattle’s Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI).

This is the most informative piece of information I learned from this article, as I was not aware of Nordstrom’s deep roots in Seattle:

Another constant presence is 116-year-old Nordstrom. The chain grew to nearly 350 stores by making shopping special, with live piano music, in-store restaurants and legendary sales staff, who meticulously note and remember customers’ preferences.

“Nordstrom made Seattle the customer-service capital of the United States,” says Robert Spector, a longtime local business observer who has authored books on Amazon and Nordstrom, including The Nordstrom Way to Customer Experience Excellence (Wiley Sept 2017).

Ever an innovator, Nordstrom jumped into e-commerce ahead of competitors, in 1998. Last year, the company brought its store experience and website together with a Reserve & Try feature, which lets customers choose items online to try on at their local store.

A top Seattle style-setter, Nordstrom added more than a dozen exclusive labels to its remodeled downtown flagship store last year, including Louis Vuitton and Beyoncé’s Ivy Park. Nordstrom is one of the last department store brands to retain leaders from the founding family, notes author Spector. He says their success stems from the Nordstroms’ habit of making each new generation start on the sales floor.

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