Home Calendar - AIA – East Bay Chapter Event Fresh Brew: History of Department Stores in North America

Fresh Brew: History of Department Stores in North America

Join AIA San Francisco for both days of this two-part series on department stores!

San Francisco’s 19th century merchant princes built grand stores, each with its own niche — I. Magnin attracted upper-class clientele, middle-class shoppers loved the Emporium’s Bargain Basement and rooftop holiday rides, Gump’s defined good taste, City of Paris offered French finery and edgy Joseph Magnin ensnared younger shoppers. Many San Franciscans have fond memories of the old stores and the “downtown experience,” which could include a visit to the City of Paris to look at the sky-high holiday tree or stopping at Blum’s for a slice of Coffee Crunch Cake.

Join Anne Evers Hitz, fifth-generation San Franciscan and author of Lost Department Stores of San Francisco, in conversation with Bruce Kopytek, Chief Architect, Contour Companies and curator of his online project, The Department Store Museum as they highlight Anne’s book and look back at the colorful personalities behind some of San Francisco’s iconic stores.


Anne Evers Hitz, Author, Lost Department Stores of San Francisco

Proud to be a fifth-generation San Franciscan, author Anne Evers Hitz has had a long interest in San Francisco history, its lore and legends. A graduate of U.C. Berkeley, Anne is a writer, editor, and project manager who has had her own communications consulting firm in San Francisco for over 25 years. Anne is the author of Lost Department Stores of San Francisco (2020), San Francisco’s Ferry Building (2017) and Emporium Department Store (2014). She is a volunteer guide at the Ferry Building for City Guides, a group of local volunteers who give free walking tours of San Francisco.

Bruce Kopytek, Chief Architect, Contour Companies

During 42+ years of experience, Bruce has attained a diverse portfolio including the designs for financial institutions, retail stores, hotels, custom homes and mixed-use apartment complexes. In addition to winning many awards for his designs, notably an honorable mention in the Italian government’s prestigious Ceramic Tiles of Italy design competition, Bruce has combined his knowledge of architecture with his love of history and travel into a flourishing hobby as an acclaimed author, writing four books for The History Press. A first effort at authorship, Jacobson’s: I Miss It So! won a prestigious Michigan Notable Book award in 2012, and was followed by another about the history of Toledo, Ohio (2013) and a chronicle of the legendary Eaton family of Canada and their retail empire (2014). His most recent effort (2015) tells the story of Crowley, Milner & Co., Hudson’s competitor, and a self-published book about the J. L. Hudson Company is schedule to appear later in 2021. Bruce lives in Rochester Hills, Michigan, with his wife Carole and one crazy cat named Bella. As chief architect for Contour Companies, he has led plan to restore the area’s 1954 Northland Center (the work of “father of the shopping mall” Victor Gruen) and transform the property into a historically respectful and vibrant mixed-use facility – of which the late Victor Gruen might be proud.

Fresh Brew is a series of online morning conversations covering a variety of topics about all things architecture and design. Fresh Brew provides the general public and industry professionals with engaging dialogue and a space for inspiration during these challenging times. Co-presented by the American Institute of Architects/San Francisco (AIASF) and Center for Architecture + Design.


May 20 2021


9:00 am - 10:00 am

Local Time

  • Timezone: America/New_York
  • Date: May 20 2021
  • Time: 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

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