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Recognizing The 150Th Anniversary Of The Founding Of Macy’S, Inc.

Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez

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Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and agree to the resolution (H. Res. 1473) recognizing the 150th anniversary year of the founding of Macy's, Inc., as an American entrepreneurial success story and the role Macy's, Inc., plays in supporting America's small businesses and vendors, including those that are minority and women owned; celebrating the vision, innovativeness, and ingenuity of all of our Nation's small businesses.

The Clerk read the title of the resolution.

The text of the resolution is as follows:

Whereas, on October 28, 1858, 36-year-old entrepreneur Rowland Hussey Macy opened a small dry goods store know as R.H. Macy & Co. at the corner of 14th Street and 6th Avenue in New York City; Whereas the early struggles of R.H. Macy & Co. are representative of all American small businesses and indicate the intense drive and spirit of our Nation's entrepreneurs; Whereas Rowland Hussey Macy adopted a red star as his symbol of success, dating back to his days as a sailor, and had first-day sales totaling $11.06; Whereas, after the first full year in operation, R.H. Macy & Co. had gross sales of almost $90,000, and, by 1877, nearly 20 years after it was founded, R.H. Macy & Co. had become a full-fledged department store occupying the ground space of 11 adjacent buildings; Whereas, as small businesses must evolve to remain competitive in the marketplace, Macy's is known for several firsts that changed the retail industry, including being the first retailer to promote a woman, Margaret Getchell, to an executive position, pioneering such revolutionary business practices as the one-price system, in which the same item was sold to every customer at one price, and quoting specific prices for goods in newspaper advertising; Whereas the competitive pressures facing small retailers such as Macy's compelled it to pursue creative merchandising initiatives, including being the first to introduce such products as the tea bag, the Idaho baked potato, and colored bath towels; Whereas, by November 1902, the small store had outgrown its modest storefront and moved uptown to its present Herald Square location on Broadway and 34th Street, establishing an attraction for shoppers from around the world; Whereas, as Macy's, Inc., has grown, it has not forgotten its heritage as a small business and promoted small firms, pursued supplier diversity initiatives, and assisted in the growth of talented entrepreneurs by striving to purchase and support vendors who are certified as minority or women owned; Whereas Macy's, Inc., purchases goods and services from these small business enterprises and encourages prospective suppliers to partner with it and take advantage of its Supplier Diversity Program and provides participating vendors with direction and guidance to help them plan and ready for the strategic demands of a larger-scale retail relationship; and Whereas Macy's, Inc., held its first-ever national supplier diversity fair in New York City in August 2007 targeting the minority- and women-owned vendor community in the cosmetics and skincare categories with the goal of enhancing Macy's existing assortment for its diverse multicultural customer population: Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the House of Representatives-- (1) recognizes-- (A) the 150th anniversary year of the founding of Macy's, Inc., as an American entrepreneurial success story; and (B) the role Macy's, Inc., plays in supporting America's small businesses and vendors, including those that are minority and women owned; (2) celebrates the vision, innovativeness, and ingenuity of all of our Nation's small businesses that aspire to grow and prosper as Macy's, Inc., has over its 150-year history; and (3) congratulates Macy's, Inc., as an American entrepreneurial success story.

Pursuant to the rule, the gentlewoman from New York (Ms. Velazquez) and the gentleman from Ohio (Mr. Chabot) each will control 20 minutes.

The Chair recognizes the gentlewoman from New York.

Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez

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Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members may have 5 legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous material on the resolution under consideration.

Is there objection to the request of the gentlewoman from New York?

There was no objection.

Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez

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Mr. Speaker, I yield myself as much time as I may consume.

I rise in support of this resolution in celebration of Macy's 150th anniversary. Both the City of New York and the small business community have benefited immensely from the success and generosity of this American icon.

As anyone within the small business community will tell you, the best entrepreneurs are more than just businessmen. While it is obviously important to have a head for numbers and risks, there is another, more critical, element involved. In order for an entrepreneur to make history, in order to be truly great, he or she must also be an innovator. Roland H. Macy was just that kind of man.

Today, we are saluting the business that Macy founded 150 years ago, a company that began small but, through hard work and enormous innovation, has come to stand as a symbol of the American Dream.

When Macy opened a small dry goods store in 1858, he probably never expected it to become a multi-billion dollar business. After all, he first reported sales added up to a grand total of $11.06. Still, it didn't take long for Macy's venture to become a success.

A century and a half after it first opened its door, that little dry goods shop has grown to become a national department store chain.

Macy's remarkable growth stands for more than just hard work and good business sense. R.H. Macy, like any successful entrepreneur, was a tireless innovator. As chairwoman of the Small Business Committee, I see that same sense of innovation in the entrepreneurs I work with. It is the spirit that drives people to start businesses in the first place.

Macy's small business success was largely rooted in its ability to innovate. Indeed, the department store pioneered many of their retail practices we now take for granted. For example, it was the first to adopt the one-price system through which every item is assigned a single fixed cost.

Macy's has also consistently outshone its competitors by offering new and novel products. Take, for instance, color bath towels, or the Idaho baked potato, or the tea bag. None of these commodities were available to the mainstream until Macy's brought them to market. As with any industry, great success brings great change. Macy's has obviously outgrown its ``small business'' label and has become a major player in the retail world. Its flagship store in my home City of New York has become a shopping destination for Manhattanites and tourists alike. It attracts visitors from across the country and around the world. And yet despite being a multi-billion dollar corporation, Macy's has never forgotten its entrepreneurial roots.

The retailer still strives to support the small business community by purchasing many of its products from small firms. Through its Supplier Diversity Program, the company makes a point of buying from and nurturing women and minority entrepreneurs. In 2007, it held its first diversity supplier fair to target these groups specifically.

Macy's embodies the great American story of a small business that made it big. Roland H. Macy and his legendary venture represent the dream of every entrepreneur. After 150 years, the retailer stands as a shining example of two fundamental American values--hard work and innovation. Those are the values that have driven the department store's achievements throughout the years. And those are the values that we are celebrating this afternoon.

The Macy's story is a great American story. It is based on the premise that any small business owner can become a big business success. After all, Macy's began as a modest dry goods store on the corner of 14th Street and 6th Avenue in Manhattan. Today, it is a multibillion dollar corporation.

But while Macy's may be a Fortune 500 company, it has not forgotten its small business roots. Its Supplier Diversity Program, for example, nurtures women and minority entrepreneurs. Macy's clearly recognize the importance of giving back.

In celebrating Macy's, we are applauding its great achievements, and its dedication to invention. The company pioneered many practices and products that have since become American staples. For instance, the store first brought colored bath towels into the mainstream. But perhaps more importantly, we are also applauding Macy's commitment to small business development. It is a commitment to entrepreneurship. It is a commitment to innovation. It is a commitment to the American dream.

I would urge the adoption of this resolution.

Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

Rep. Steven J. Chabot

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Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

As ranking member of the House Small Business Committee, I rise to support this resolution recognizing the 150th anniversary year of the founding of Macy's, Inc. I'm pleased to be joined by my good friend and distinguished chairwoman of the Small Business Committee, Nydia Velazquez of New York, in offering this legislation.

Mr. Speaker, American small business owners are the entrepreneurs who create the majority of American jobs, export American products, and generate America's economic growth. Small firms exhibit the best of American values: hard work, innovation, enthusiasm, and determination.

The story of Macy's is one of true entrepreneurship. Roland Hussey Macy started the small dry goods store in New York City in 1858 that would develop into one of the largest department store retailers in the world. It was Mr. Macy's perseverance, ingenuity, and determination that helped to spur that growth.

Many Cincinnatians remember the John Shillito Company--or Shillitos, as we called it--Cincinnati's first department store, which was founded in 1830. In 1929, Shillito's, F.&R. Lazarus in Columbus, Ohio, Brooklyn, New York-based Abraham & Straus and several other family-owned department stores formed a holding company called Federated Department Stores. In 1945, Federated moved its offices to Cincinnati, where Macy's primary headquarters operates today, and in 1994, Federated acquired Macy's.

Today Macy's operates over 810 stores in every major metropolitan area around the entire United States.

Small businesses are known for their ability to respond to the needs of the market. Macy's, which began as a small business, has always been innovative: it was the first American store with escalators, elaborate window displays, and an in-store Santa. Macy's also began what is now the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Macy's tenets that customers are paramount and that success comes from taking advantage of opportunity are principles that small firms still apply today.

I want to commend Macy's for its commitment to purchasing from small businesses, including women- and minority-owned enterprises, establishing supplier diversity initiatives, and encouraging its vendors to purchase from small firms. Macy's also has a strong history of corporate and foundation giving and encouraging employee community service.

Congratulations to Macy's on 150 years of growth, success, and philanthropy.

Finally, I want to again thank Chairwoman Velazquez for working in a bipartisan way on this issue as she has done consistently throughout the last 2 years that she served as the chairwoman of the Small Business Committee. I appreciate her leadership. I think she's done an extraordinarily good job. It's been an honor to work with her over the last 2 years.

At this point, I would like to reserve the balance of my time.

Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez

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Mr. Speaker, I would like to inquire if the gentleman has any other further speakers.

Rep. Steven J. Chabot

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We have no further speakers.

I yield back.

Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez

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Mr. Speaker, I yield back.

The question is on the motion offered by the gentlewoman from New York (Ms. Velazquez) that the House suspend the rules and agree to the resolution, H. Res. 1473.

The question was taken; and (two-thirds being in the affirmative) the rules were suspended and the resolution was agreed to.

A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.