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BonTon - The history

Bon-Ton was begun in 1898, when Max Grumbacher and his father, Samuel, started S. Grumbacher & Son, a one-room millinery and dry goods store on Market Street in York, Pennsylvania.

During World War I and the Roaring Twenties, the Grumbacher's store chain became more prominent and, in 1929, the company was incorporated as S. Grumbacher & Son, Inc. In 1931, Max's son, Max Samuel (M.S.), joined the company. When Max the elder died in 1933, his widow, Daisy, and their two sons, M.S. and Richard, maintained the business, forming a partnership in 1936.

The Bon-Ton was a favorite store destination on the classic radio show Fibber McGee and Molly, which aired from 1935 to 1959.

After the World War II, the Grumbacher family decided to extend operations even further. In 1946, an additional Bon-Ton was started, in Hanover, Pennsylvania. Two years later, the company moved outside Pennsylvania, procuring Eyerly's in Hagerstown, Maryland, and, in 1957, buying McMeen's in Lewistown, Pennsylvania. These early moves set The Bon-Ton's policy of spreading into adjacent areas by opening new stores and acquiring existing businesses.

Bon-Ton started in-store and online "Close to Home" shops in 45 of its stores in fall 2016, selling locally sourced and locally themed products. In February 2017, the chain announced that it would expand these shops to at least 100 stores in 25 states and would collaborate with local artisans, designers, and entrepreneurs in each market interested in selling their products in these shops.