Gimbel, Isaac(1856–1931) retailer; born in Vincennes, Ind. (father of Bernard Gimbel). His father, Adam Gimbel, was a German immigrant who opened "The Palace of Trade" in Vincennes, Ind., in 1842 and attracted clientele with the promise of "customer satisfaction." Adam moved to Philadelphia in 1865, leaving the store to his eldest son Jacob; Isaac, the second son, began clerking at age 13. All eight of Adam's sons went into the retail business together, opening successful stores, called Gimbel Brothers, in Milwaukee (1889) and Philadelphia (1894). They expanded to New York City (1910), where Isaac became manager. In 1922, persuaded by Isaac's son Bernard (1885–1966), the brothers incorporated as Gimbel Brothers, Inc., with Isaac as president until succeeded by Bernard in 1927. Bernard persuaded Gimbel Brothers to acquire two Saks & Company stores (1922), which kept their name, and Pittsburgh's Kaufmann & Baer (1925). By Isaac's death, the Gimbels owned seven stores, with $123 million in sales and 20,000 employees.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.