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Bruce Nordstrom, a member of the Nordstrom family that transformed a small chain of Pacific Northwest shoe stores into an international fashion retail giant with over 150 locations worldwide, passed away at the age of 90 in Seattle. Born in 1933, Bruce was part of the third generation of the family to run the company jointly, sharing power and making decisions by consensus. This management style, which was continued by his father and uncles, was seen as unusual but successful, with each family member having a specific area of expertise and putting the needs of the company first.

Bruce Nordstrom became president of the company in 1963 after being called into the office by his cousin Lloyd Nordstrom. Although he was the nominal leader of the group, the company’s egalitarian system worked well with each executive in charge of their area of expertise. Through this collaborative approach, the family expanded the chain from seven shoe stores in Seattle and Portland to 182 stores in 28 states, becoming a retail powerhouse with over $9 billion in sales. Despite occasional differences, the family was committed to finding solutions and presenting a unified front.

During his childhood, Bruce began working at the Nordstrom shoe store in downtown Seattle, sweeping floors and breaking down cardboard boxes for 25 cents an hour. He later graduated from the University of Washington and served in the Army before returning to work for the company, eventually rising to become the chairman before retiring in 2006. Bruce was known as a humble but determined leader who was ambitious and driven to succeed, proving skeptics wrong by expanding the business and achieving success in new markets.

Despite facing skepticism about their growth plans, Bruce and his cousins opened stores in California and across the country, evolving and pushing on to new levels of success. He acknowledged that the family did not always agree but emphasized the importance of voting and finding solutions together. Bruce’s leadership style, characterized by a combination of pride and humility, supported the company’s focus on customer service and commitment to excellence.

Bruce Nordstrom is survived by his wife, Jeannie, his sons Peter and Erik who continue to work in the company, his sister Anne Gittinger, and seven grandchildren. He was known not only for his leadership in the retail industry but also for his dedication to the company and success in expanding the business. Through his contributions, Nordstrom became a global brand known for its customer service and quality products, a legacy that continues today.

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