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July 7: Beatrice Fox’s Department Store

July 6, 2015

18534329_137320921530Beatrice Fox Auerbach, who brought progressive employment policies to the department store she owned, G. Fox and Company in Hartford, Connecticut, was born in that city on this date in 1887. She ran the store from 1927 to 1965 and expanded the business ten-fold, making it the largest privately-owned retail outlet in the country, while establishing labor reforms that included a five-day, 40-hour work week, retirement plans, interest-free loans, medical assistance, and other improvements for the company’s 3,000 workers. G. Fox was also one of the first major retail stores in the U.S. to hire African-Americans in other than menial jobs. It also started free delivery service, automated billing, and shopping-by-telephone, all novel in their day. Auerbach was on the board of Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati.

“One thing you can be certain of is that I won’t be spending it on yachts and horses, but for the benefit of the people.” —Beatrice Fox Auerbach