Gidding-Jenny Department Store Downtown

Gidding-Jenny Department Store Downtown

The former Gidding-Jenny Department Store on Fourth St. in downtown Cincinnati offers a fine example of Rookwood Pottery. The 1907 facade, restored five years ago, is now part of TJ Maxx.

Gidding-Jenny Department Store Downtown

Gidding-Jenny Department Store Downtown

Gidding-Jenny Department Store Downtown

Gidding-Jenny Department Store Downtown

Gidding-Jenny Department Store Downtown

I didn’t photograph where the old meets the new, because I don’t appreciate the juxtaposition, although I’m impressed that the facade was preserved at all. Click here to learn more about the restoration.


41 thoughts on “Gidding-Jenny Department Store Downtown

  1. I recall how beautiful this building was in the 70’s and 80s when Gidding-Jenny was still open. I was a kid either shopping with my mom or going there with my old girlfriend while she tried on dresses for a ball somewhere. You could still park there across the street and stare at that captivating facade. I think it looked better then and to think the store was such a destination with its lavender/pinkish packaging a la Tiffany, it’s hard to conceive that that is forgotten history.

    On 4th St in the CBD, for me it was that building and the Federal Reserves assemblage of austerity and foreboding that always drew my attention.

    Great Blog!

  2. Thanks for the insight, Bob! I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve walked down this block many times but only noticed this facade a couple of weeks ago. Looking up has such rich rewards!

  3. It is a very very cool building.

    Many people miss Gidding Jenny, which was a unique, destination shop, but I prefer TJ Maxx myself.

  4. I remember walking by this building a week before I moved from Cincinnati. I miss Cincinnati’s beautiful buildings.

  5. The name of the “O” perfume was Odalisque. It was my signature fragrance before moving to Cleveland. I didn’t know the store had closed. I miss all of it – Pogue’s, Mabley & Carew. The only thing I have now is to make the Netherland Salad, goetta and Cincinnati chili.

  6. I was just going through some clothing and ran across a pink wool skirt and jacket I wore years ago. I remember shopping at “Gidding’s) w/ my grandmother as a child. Even at that age I had a sincere appreciation for the architecture of downtown Cincinnati. I actually have collected Rookwood pottery since a very young age. BTW? The pink suit I scored at a yard sale 30 years or so ago at a yard sale in Cherry Grove. $4:) Yay me! lol. My daughter wears it now and is the envy of her friends. I, too miss McAlpin’s, Mabley[ & Carew, Pogues, Barnharts, etc…Batsaks is still in business! remember the shoe-shine? What luxury:) And the old Netherland Hilton w/ it’s elevator operators! How fun!

  7. Does anyone know the earlier history of Gidding-Jenny. I think it was called The Jenny Company before they merged or were taken over? Any information would be appreciated.

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  11. My grandma worked there! As a child I remember always getting to ride the bus downtown with my great grandma to visit her at work, it was so beautiful! Then we would walk over to the Kroger Building where my great aunt was a switch board operator and have lunch! Good memories we still have many beautiful shiny purple Gidding Jenny boxes around 🙂

  12. How cool! I just searched for an image of the box but couldn’t find any. I’ll bet it was a pretty glamorous presentation, based on everything I’ve heard about the store.

  13. When it was just Giddings before the merge, I was assistant to a decorator at Closson’s and we were ordering small lamp shades, etc. for wall sconces. I also worked there one day during the Christmas season when I was in college. When a salesperson had a sale, she rang one of the bells for us to come and get the item, ring it up, wrap as a gift, and return to the salesperson with any change and the parcel. It’s hard to believe this now.

  14. Hi, I just bought a gorgeous yellow suit in a vintage store in Providence, RI about two months ago with a Gidding Jenny label, the suit is made so well, and it is really beautiful. I typed in the Gidding Jenny on Google and read all of these comments, was very impressed. Question, when did the store close and why? I am so curious how old my suit is. It also has another label Tailored by Kirkland Hall

  15. It sounds like a really cool find! You know, I tried a quick search but couldn’t find an answer for you, although I didn’t spend much time digging. I found an ad in Cincinnati Magazine from 1985, so it closed after that. I’ve only lived in Cincinnati for a few years, so I’m not the best person to ask, unfortunately.

  16. omg!!!!! My favorite store. They had a “Attic sale”. I could always buy a classic outfit that was one of a kind. LOVED going up in the elevator. Such GOOD memories.

  17. I bought my first prom dress there all by myself. I had been invited to the prom at school earlier in the day, had gone downtown for a doctor’s appointment after school and decided that while I was there I would shop for my dress. My grandmother always took me to Giddings (that’s what she called it) on our trips to town, so I stopped in, found a dress I loved, and charged it to Grandma. No cellphones in those days so I couldn’t call for permission and the store didn’t ask any questions. I surprised my mother when I arrived home from the doctors with a lovely Gidding-Jenny gown.

  18. The TJ Max that resides there now in no way reflects how incredible and iconic this store was. Personalized service where customers where clients who had friendships with the sales person, hand written thank you notes after purchases were made, could you image making an appointment to go shop in today’s world? Trust me it was an incredible time saver. All you had to do was tell your sales person everything you were interested in finding and when you arrived it was waiting for you in a room to try and these rooms were bigger than most people’s family rooms. The store even had cocktail service for certain clients. Elevator operators, crystal chandeliers, a salon on the mezzanine, the buyers who bought all of the clothes actually worked in the store. You could at one time buy anything you needed at this store. Purple and gold were the colors of all the packaging, everything wrapped in tissue and put in boxes. There was a staff that prepared your purchases not the salesperson….there job was to stay with you. In house seamstress department that could alter anything within hours if the item was needed for that evening. How I miss working there. The Bridal department was untouchable except maybe in New York when it was open on the 4th floor. The windows were like the windows you would see in Macy’s in New York at holiday and the signature perfume Odalisque was sprayed out thru a mister above the 2 revolving doors on the sidewalk area in front of the store so you would always smell the fragrance.

  19. I had the pleasure of working at the 4th street store and then at the Westin Men’s Store.They were great and had no rivials south of 5th ave. New York.The Ralph Lauren Store in Chicago comes close but not quite.

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  21. I did find out the company was founded in 1907 as J. M. Gidding & Company but in 1963 merged with the Jenny Company or Jenny, Inc. (not sure of name) so the name was then changed to Gidding-Jenny. It closed in the late 1980’s because “tacky” clothing was becoming more in.

  22. Still trying to find out a little bit of history on the Jenny Company or Jenny, Inc. BEFORE it merged with J.M. Gidding. What color their gift boxes were/did they carry their own name tag in clothes/did anyone out there ever shop there? Heard my family owned it but not sure if this is just urban legend??? Thanks

  23. I really don’t know anything about this store; I’m just the photographer here! It would be fantastic if your family owned this place back in the day. Good luck with your research!

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  25. Giddings was my favorite store….I shopped there at 19 years old and at a time my friends were clueless about Giddings. My mother called it Jennys and told me they merged years before. I loved the “Attic Sales” and bought so many beautiful pieces…..I still have them in my closet and some still have the tags on them. My mother never used a charge card……She would say put it on her charge and they just asked her for her number. I was shocked that she did not have to have her card with her!!! She memorized the number. No questions asked. I wish that store was still around today.

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  28. My grandmother used have a wonderful time sipping tea while models came in showing clothing that might interest her. Amazing form of customer service! (Just like in the movies!) I am old enough to remember just needing the verbal credit card number! I still remember my mom’s! I remember the Odalisque perfume and I bought a beautiful green coat at one of their attic sales.

    I used to get my hair done there – it was the only time a hair designer has ever left me with hair half undone – to go try on clothes (furs) that just came into the store! Thank goodness she did come back.

    Loved the elevator. I also remember getting better service if one was “dressed-up” To shop downtown with my mother when I was quite young – I had to wear a dress and I think gloves!

    For all who remember – you did not see racks of the same clothing in different sizes. If you purchased something – it was unique and there was great pride in that! I can’t imagine any shouting or gum chewing or swearing in that store! It was a very special place and held to the highest standards – Would be wonderful to be able to step back in time for a nice visit!

  29. My 80 yr old mother (Joan Roush Tuke) worked at Gidding-Jenny for many of her young adult yrs as a model. She still raves about how much she enjoyed working there and was happy to have been selected to escourt Robert Wagner around the store as well as the beautiful city, Cincinnati!

  30. My wife, Vicky Miller, who passed away a few years ago, was a teenage model at Jenny’s during the late forties. She had a perfect figure, a personality that could take your breath away, a demeanor that was then described as ladylike, and a smile that could melt chocolate. She loved the store, all her coworkers, and enjoyed and envied the upscale customers.
    When I was just a 20 year old puppy, and before she would marry me, she “demanded” my promise that one day I would get her an account there. After she helped me get my law degree and our lives moved on to Minnesota, she always said (with a twinkle) that she reluctantly would settle for Saks.
    What a wonderful time and place it was.

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