Sidney Myer, businessman and philanthropist
The Myer Emporium opened in Bourke Street, Melbourne, in July 1914.
Sidney Myer, a Russian Jewish immigrant, began as a hawker before establishing a successful drapery in Bendigo. He opened a store in Melbourne in 1911 but as his success grew he needed a much larger space, one modelled on American department stores.
Myer was an innovator. He put merchandise on open display, held regular sales, and provided a creche for customers’ children.
When the outbreak of war disrupted international trade, Myer opened a London office to deal with European suppliers, sourced more products locally, and began in-house manufacturing. Despite the difficult conditions, the war years were a boom time for the Myer Emporium.