A History of Gump’s and a Buddha Statue


In 1861, brothers Solomon and Gustave Gump opened up a mirror and frame shop that would one day become one of the best recognized luxury retailers in the country, Gump’s. Much of that came after the Gold Rush ended, making them more inclined to sell art and venture out into other goods like silk, jewelry, and upholstery.

They became a bi-costal business, with locations in New York and San Francisco, attracting notable customers like Sarah Bernhardt and President Franklin D. Roosevelt. But it would take almost a century and a half before John Chachas expressed his interest in a prized Buddha statue.

Having been a regular visitor to their store as a boy, Chachas formed a close relationship with the brand. In 2005, he was a pivotal player in getting the Gump business into the hands of new buyers. But his fee of $225,000 for his businesses would elude him, until he though to ask the Gump president for a Buddha statue.

The statue was worth $800 back in 1957 when it first got into Gump’s, and it was contractually used as payment to Chachas. It would lead to him owning the business.Chachas had his statue appraised a couple of years later and found out it was worth $240,000, more than his initial fee. Eventually he took his statue to Hong Kong to sell it, and it became the seed money for his investment, Methuselah Investors in 2010, and attracted big clients like Rolling Stone magazine. View More Information Here.

When Gump’s filed for bankruptcy in 2018, Chachas paid a mere $650,000 for the brand, their coveted customer list, and trademarks, and used those resources to build up Gump’s as a reinvigorated business.

Now Gump’s is family-owned, just like when it started. John Chachas, his wife Diane, and their daughter Anne set out to make a new enterprise. They even brought back many of the executives who were without a job after the bankruptcy. Anne, the current Executive Vice President, released a statement about their purchase, saying the family has long been impressed with Gump’s, and believe in its ability to appeal to customers on name recognition alone.

Gump’s is set to reopen for the Christmas shopping season this year.


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See also: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GUMPS