Burlington Coat Factory was founded in 1924, as a manufacturer of ladies' coats and outerwear. But the modern day store was formed in 1972 when Monroe Milstein and his wife, Henrietta, purchased a garment factory and warehouse in Burlington, New Jersey. Monroe's father, Abe, had been a wholesalers of Ladies coats and suits in New York City for many years and had run a small retail business after hours. The company began to add other apparel, including sportswear, shoes and accessories, and most important to me, baby and children's items. "Nobody sold so many coats with so much depth all year round."
Years ago, I took my three daughters, all in grade school at the time, out to purchase their winter coats at a Burlington Coat Factory. At the time I was a single mother and trying to keep the three of them corralled while finding a quality coat for one was a major effort. As children do, they played hide and seek in the racks, and complained about the coats I tried to steer them towards that in exasperation, I marched all three OUT of the store and informed them they would not have a new coat that year. I kept my word. And they never behaved in a store that way again.
More recently, I shopped a last minute bridesmaid's dress here. Last summer, just weeks before my sister-in-law's marriage I was asked to be the maid of honor to avoid competition amongst her 4 daughters. The color scheme for the wedding had been set though I'd not seen any of the dresses. I needed something in an aqua blue. I shopped ALL of the "off-price department stores" in my area, growing sweatier by the minute and settled on a fine white cotton dress, fully lined, with a huge water colored flower splashed across the front. It fit the occasion perfectly and cost just $20, the right price for a dress I knew I would only wear once.
The pictures from my visit this past Thursday were disappointingly blurry for the most part, but I have salvaged enough to give a range of the merchandise available. I found items by Nine West, Perry Ellis, Baby Phat, Tommy Hilfiger, Chinese Laundry, Bamboo, Kenneth Cole, Calvin Klein, Jones New York, London Fog, Nautica, Esprit, Pellepelle. The men's department is just as large and diversified as the women's department and the store carries linens as well. I have learned that the shoe department, which I've long liked for the type of shoes you might just wear once, is likely an area of the store subcontracted by MJM Designer shoes.
Shopping in places like this can be a bit of a treasure hunt, like thrift stores, except that the merchandise is new, is sometimes available in multiples, and is undamaged. When I purchased the bridesmaid's dress last summer, another shopper was buying multiple formal little girl's dresses in the same style and color. I was pleased to see that the maternity department was fairly extensive, as was a juniors plus department, and I found several items in the women's department that I liked, a lot. But if your surroundings are important to you, this store has high industrial ceilings and the aisles are wide enough for grocery carts.
Can you see yourself shopping here? And do you have stories to tell about shopping with misbehaving children?