Now Macy's is working on a series of programs, intended to promote local designers and help those just starting their careers. Andrea Schwartz, the external and PR manager for Macy's North, was eager to tell me about the programs. "We are a fashion leader," she told me. "We are a national department store with a local focus. We feel privileged that we can offer [this] to Chicago."
However, when I asked her about how these programs tied into any existing program to ease the tension between the store and angry Chicago shoppers, Schwartz clammed up. She suggested I ask Jim Sluzewski, VP of corporate communications and external affairs. I asked him directly about whether there were any crisis communications programs in place. His evasive answer via email:
"We have a process of open and ongoing communications in all markets where regional store brands converted to Macy's last September. Part of our company's heritage is outreach to customers, media, and communities everywhere we operate... We have many outreach programs in Chicago. I'm sure Andrea can tell you about them."
I asked for more specifics and have yet to receive an answer.
In that local story, Ralph Hughes, a Macy's regional manager who worked at the store when it was Marshall Field's, says, "We just haven't done a good enough job of telling people what we have and who we are." When given the opportunity, the communications department at Macy's proved that to be true.