In 1959, Don Fisher, a California commercial real estate broker specializing in retail store location, was a social friend of Walter "Wally" Haas Jr, President of Levi Strauss & Co. Fisher was inspired by the sudden success of 'The Tower of Shoes' in an old Quonset Hut in a non-retail industrial area of Sacramento, California.a terrible retail location), that drew crowds by advertising that no matter what brand, style or size of shoes a woman could want it was at The Tower of Shoes. And knowing that even Macy's, the biggest Levi's customer, was constantly running out of the best selling Levi's sizes, and colors, Fisher asked Haas to let him copy The Tower of Shoes' business model and apply it to Levi's products. Haas referred Fisher to Bud Robinson, his Director of Advertising, for what Haas assumed would be a quick refusal; but instead Robinson and Fisher carefully worked out a legal test plan for what was to become The Gap (named by Don's wife Doris Fisher).
Fisher agreed to stock only Levi's apparel in every style and size, all grouped by size, and Levi's guaranteed The Gap to be never out of stock by overnight replenishment from Levi's San Jose, California warehouse. And finally, Robinson offered to pay 50% of The Gap's radio advertising upfront and avoided antitrust laws by offering the same marketing package to any store that agreed to sell nothing but Levi's products.
Fisher opened the first Gap store on Ocean Avenue in San Francisco on August 21, 1969; its only merchandise consisted of Levi's and LP records to attract teen customers.
In 1970, Gap opened its second store in San Jose. In 1971, Gap established its corporate headquarters in Burlingame, California with four employees. By 1973, the company had over 25 locations and had expanded into the East Coast market with a store in the Echelon Mall in Voorhees, New Jersey. In 1974, Gap began to sell private-label merchandise
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