Legendary service, shoes to die for and fashion-forward merchandise keep shoppers returning.. Down to Business The service here often borders on fawning: It's highly unlikely you'll be stranded in the dressing room praying for a sales clerk to return at Nordstrom. Whether it's Prada shoes or Tommy Bahama silk pants, you'll walk out with a great fit--or a clerk's promise to look for your size at another store. The goods aren't all spendy, either--along with BCBG exclusives, you'll find basic T-shirts with added detail for $20. The half-yearly and anniversary sales offer shoppers an excuse to "Reinvent Restraint." The Story In 1901, John Nordstrom invested booty from the Klondike gold rush to open a shoe store in Seattle. It wasn't until the 1960s that the proliferating shoe stores added women's clothing, and eventually apparel for the whole family. Today, the chain wants to outfit legions from head to toe.