Eddie Bauer is an American chain of retail stores based in Redmond, Washington. It operates more than 600 stores in the United States, Canada, Germany and Japan, as well as catalog services in all four countries. The company is part of The Spiegel Group (NASDAQ: SPGLA), which also owns ladies' retailer Newport News and runs the Spiegel Catalog service.

The chain originally specialized in outerwear and casual clothing for adults, but has recently diversified into other products. Eddie Bauer Home offers bed and bathroom products, furniture and decorative accents the company also has set up licensing agreements with other companies to offer Eddie Bauer "Signature" editions of other products. The most notable of these agreements is with Ford, who have offered an Eddie Bauer Ford Explorer model since 1983. The store also offers Baby by Eddie Bauer and Eddie Bauer Kids lines.


History:
In 1920, avid outdoorsman Eddie Bauer founded the store that bears his name as a sporting goods store in Seattle. Bauer made his name as an innovator, helping to design and patent a breakthrough shuttlecock (badminton birdie) and the first goosedown jacket. During World War II, Bauer's company sold insulated parkas to the U.S. Army Air Force for crews flying high-level bombers.

Bauer retired in 1968, leaving the stores to business partner and his son. Three years later, the chain was sold to General Mills, who began to expand the chain nationwide. General Mills, in turn, sold the chain to Spiegel in 1988.


Personal experience:
I was completely ignorant of Eddie Bauer until 1995 -- I was living in Canada at the time, and Winnipeg had yet to get a store. One of my fraternity brothers was raving about getting chance to go to Eddie Bauer while on a roadtrip to (of all places) Fargo, North Dakota. I went along, out of curiosity as much as the desire to shut him up. The design of the store set it apart from most other retail outlets at the time (but has since been ripped off by chains like American Outfitters and, to a lesser extent, American Eagle, but I thought the clothes were over-priced.

Three years later, while on another roadtrip to Fargo, I met the woman I was to marry. Shortly after we started dating, I learned a crucial lesson: Never date a Minnesotan with an Eddie Bauer credit card. I made that mistake once, and was rewarded with a closet full of flannel shirts. She bought them for me. Her parents bought them for me. Her sister and brother-in-law bought them for me. The trouble is that I live in Texas now, and flannel shirts are rarely needed. I however, will be set if I ever emigrate to Norway.


Sources:
Eddie Bauer - http://www.eddiebauer.com

Also a name for the almost-top-of-the-line Ford Motor Company options packages. The other options grades are usually called:

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