Beatrice Auerbach was president of G. Fox & Company, a major department store in the United States. Auerbach was recognized as a pioneer in many fair employment practices.
She is best known for the concept of the five-day workweek and was widely recognized as a civic-minded philanthropist and an innovative business merchandiser.
Beatrice Auerbach – Leadership with a Woman’s Touch
Beatrice Fox came from a well-off family. This young lady attended private boarding schools and traveled often. It was on one of those frequent family trips that Beatrice met and later wedded George Auerbach. George ran the Auerbach family’s business somewhere in Utah, a department store that was non-Mormon. The couple lived in the Salt Lake City area and had two kids -Dorothy Brooks and Georgette Fox.
A fire destroyed the G. Fox & Company office in Hartford in 1917. Beatrice Auerbach and her husband were persuaded to come back to Hartford after the store was reconstructed. George Auerbach was named secretary-treasurer, playing a key part in the newly rebuilt, bigger store.
In 1927, George Auerbach died. It was at this time that the lady Auerbach’s life had a personal and professional turnaround. Auerbach got involved in the company, initially just part-time. But as the health of her father took a turn for the worse, limiting his activity, Auerbach had greater involvement in the running of the business. She sat as president of the firm when her dad passed away in 1938.
Under her stern leadership, Beatrice F. Auerbach was able to grow the business tenfold. G. Fox & Company was considered the largest of the privately-owned stores in the nation. Auerbach was among the first to introduce reforms in labor for her employees. She launched the five-day working week, non-profit and medical facilities, loans that were free of interest for crisis situations, and retirement plans for the entire staff.
G. Fox & Company was one of the first stores that hired blacks for posts that afforded them advancement opportunities. Auerbach also started toll-free phone order departments, a completely-automated system for billing and free delivery services.
Auerbach remained president of G. Fox & Company till 1965. Thereafter, she sold the stock she privately owned for $40 million of the May Department Stores Company’s publicly held shares.
After the sale of the company, Auerbach’s attention and pursuits veered toward civic leadership and philanthropy. Auerbach served on many school, cultural, and hospital, committees.
This great lady set up the Beatrice F. Auerbach Foundation to enable financing of civic and educational endeavors. She remained active in many of her associations and organizations till her death on the 29th of November 1968.
The Beatrice Auerbach Quick Bio
Full Name: Beatrice Fox Auerbach
Birthdate: July 17, 1887
Birthplace: Hartford, Connecticut
Company: G. Fox & Company
Key Success Traits: innovator, self-confidence, unflinching leadership
Auerbach was honored by her fellow business retailers with an award as one of the most outstanding merchants in Connecticut.
The Connecticut Bar Association likewise cited her for her commitment to public service, sharing her “heart,” ideas and consideration and providing generous financial support to the community.