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Thursday, April 26, 2007



(Chicago, January 17, 2007) When last seen, the conquering generals of Mighty Macy’s had planted their lances on Chicago’s State Street. Marshall Field’s had capitulated and fallen under the heralds of the squares from New York. Or so it seemed.

The “occupation” of State Street proved to be as problematical as the occupation of Saddoun Street in Baghdad. The natives revolted. Profits fell. Deadenders and regime remnants surprised the Manhattan “Field Marshals” with their loyalty and ferocity. But then New Yorkers don’t really understand the Midwest, do they? Piece of cake taking over Field’s (Bakery on Seven). No sir. Slam Dunk? Only if you play for the Bulls. Really.

It was only a squib by Sandra Guy in the Chicago Sun-Times (the “occupied” Tribune missed the story) but’s sharp eyes saw the instrument of surrender: Field Gear was returning to State Street.

For those of non-Midwestern inclinations, “Field Gear” was Marshall Field’s house brand. My closet is full of the stuff. Generously sized, reasonably well—made and attractively priced. Hey, those Field’s buyers could see value. Solid Midwestern value.

Well, of course Field Gear died with Macy’s. Or so we thought.

This week the regime remnants, or regime rags as garmentos in the garment district might call them, surfaced again. Field Gear has been reborn. What’s next? Will wonders never cease?

Now Macy’s Corp. President Terry Lundgren is a good merchant. And he probably feels he had sound reasons for changing Field’s name to Macy’s. Yes, Terry. And I realize the name is not coming back.

But, honestly, since the name changed I have not been back much. I may have slipped in once or twice, but a stop at Field’s used to be a weekly diversion for me. Retail therapy for someone who tries to make sense of Illinois politics and the Bush Administration. Frangos on Seven, Men’s on Two. (It looks as though the Cheesy Chowder is gone forever, unfortunately.)

Back to the “suits” at Macy’s (I don’t feel comfortable calling them the “Field Gears”). They tried to put the best face on their latest corporate ploy. “Well,” they said, “We use acquired brand names all the time.” OK. “And we will limit ‘Field Gear’ to men.” Women need not apply. Ohhh.

Don Imus’s defenestration prohibits me from making a joke of that newly discriminatory corporate standard.

And so it goes in the world of business. Chicago may have fallen to New York. But Chicago fights back. And we will never surrender. Yah, in your face, buddy.

And yah, the LaSalle National Bank, founded by Chicagoans all, is about to take some other banks’ name. From somewhere else. From either Scotland (the real one) or North Carolina (the only one). Beware.

But Field Gear is on the way back. Can a reprise of the Berghof be far behind? First National Bank of Chicago? (I think I still have my old checks.) I’ll be watching.

In my Field Gear. And in your face.

Live from Chicago, “It’s Field Gear…” I’ll take an XXLT, please.

--------------------------Chicago-based Internet journalist, broadcaster and media critic Andy Martin is the Executive Editor and publisher of He is a chronicler of all things Midwestern and the authentic Voice of Middle America. Copyright Andy Martin 2007. Martin covers national and international politics with forty years of personal experience. Columns also posted at; Comments? E-mail: Media contact: (866) 706-2639


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