Michael Goldwater, his original name was Michael Goldvasser, was born in Poland. He married Sarah Nathan in 1850 and they had eight children together. In 1852, Michael's family and his brother, Joseph "Little Joe" Goldwater moved to the United States. The Goldwaters moved to Los Angeles in 1857 to operate a billiard parlor and dry goods store.
In 1860, Big Mike took a wagon of goods to Gila City, Arizona, a small mining town. While in Arizona, the Goldwaters opened a store in La Paz, Arizona in 1862. The Goldwaters had a Los Angeles capitalist partner, Bernard Cohn for the first store. They eventually bought out Cohn in 1867.
In 1872, the first Phoenix Goldwater store opened with Michael Goldwater's son, Morris managing it. The store suffered from low profits and closed in 1875. Again in 1879, Morris Goldwater opened a new store in Prescott, Arizona. With the success of the new store, Michael Goldwater retired in 1883. Michael's sons opened the famous Goldwater's Department Store of Phoenix in 1896. Eventually the Goldwater's Department Stores were sold to Associated Dry Goods. The remaining branches of the stores are now Macy's.
The Goldwater family reclaimed the old store's logo in 1989 and opened a new food company called Goldwater's Foods. The new company is headed by Michael Goldwater's granddaughter Carolyn Goldwater Ross.