Issue Date: 2010 OCTOBER, Posted On: 10/17/2010

10172010 Karastan Historic World's Fair Rug on Display at Macy's Chicago State Street Store
By Lissa Wyman
At Landmark State Street Store:

Left to right: Kevin Welch, midwest regional vp of Karastan; Ryan Gittelman, group regional sales manager of The Mink Co., which operates Macy's rug departments coast-to-coast;  Patricia Boncimino, regional sales manager for Mink;  Linda Piepho, vice president of Macy's and manager of the State Street Store; Anne Poglitsch, Karastan territory manager; Ken Holtan, regional sales manager for Mink; Terry Hethington, regional operations manager for Mink, and Steve Roan,  vp of the Karastan Rug division of Mohawk Home. 

By Lissa Wyman

CHICAGO, IL -- There was more history than usual on display at Macy's State Street store this Fall.
In conjunction with the grand opening of the store's newly-remodeled Fine Rug Department, a recently re-discovered vintage Karastan rug was exhibited  for the first time in 76 years.

Billed as the Karastan "Wonder Rug,"  the 12 x 15-ft  wool Axminster was last seen in Chicago during the 1933-1934 Chicago World's Fair, when nearly 13 million fair visitors walked on the rug.

The rug was part of a collection introduced by Karastan in 1928. The 791 Tree of Life pattern was introduced in 1932 and was wear-tested at the Chicago World's Fair. After the Fair, the rug was returned to the mill, where only half of it was cleaned, returning it to the beauty of its original 33 skein-dyed colors.

Since then, the rug has been stored at the Karastan mill in Eden, NC until it was re-discovered earlier this year.

With the remodeling of the fine rug department at Macy's Chicago State Street store, it seemed to be an appropriate time to re-introduce the original rug and celebrate the long history of Karastan's commitment to the State Street Store.

At the time of the Chicago World's Fair, the store was known as Marshall Field's and Karastan was owned by that company as well.Today, Karastan's parent company is Mohawk Industries.

The festivities also provided another historical point in the chain of continuity between Macy's and Karastan. Guest of honor at the new exhibition was Laverne Breisch who, as a child, walked on the rug during the Chicago World's Fair. Her daughter, Anne Poglitsch, is now a Karastan territory manager.

The Mink Company is the operator of all rug departments in Macy stores coast-to-coast.

The rug will be on display at the State St. store until Oct. 22.

Steve Roan,  vice president of Karastan Rugs, escorts Guest of Honor Laverne Breisch to the podium. Laverne walked on the rug during the 1933-34 Chicago World's Fair. She also has a modern connection to Karastan. Daughter  Anne Poglitsch is a  Karastan territory manager.

 Karastan World’s Fair Rug in its current manifestation: half cleaned, half with original 1933 soiling from footsteps of nearly 13 million people. 

Macy's new State Street Fine Rug Gallery was unveiled this Fall in Chicago. It has been relocated to the 8th Floor within the Furniture Department.


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