The RICHMAN BROTHERS CO. manufactured and sold men's suits, furnishings, and hats, supplying a national network of stores from its 23-acre tailoring plant and offices at 1600 E. 55th St. The firm began in 1879 when Henry Richman moved his manufacturing and wholesale clothing business to Cleveland from Portsmouth, OH. In 1907 the company took its present form when the founder's sons, Nathan, Charles, and Henry, opened retail outlets selling factory-produced men's clothing directly to customers, the first clothier to do so. All suits were priced at $10 until 1939 when men's furnishings and hats were added to the line.
Richman was a pioneer in innovative employee relations. Executives greeted employees by name, their birthdays were remembered, and there were no time clocks. It was the first industrial organization in the country to grant 2-week (later 3-week) paid vacations to all employees, and its company-paid benefits program and no-interest loans set an industry precedent. Under the direction of Geo. Richman, a cousin of the 3 Richman brothers, the firm became the largest clothing chain in the nation during the 1950s, operating 119 retail outlets. Major expansion programs included the acquisition of Stein stores in 1959, a chain of 91 menswear stores in the South; the formation of the General Men's Wear Corp. in 1962 to operate leased menswear departments in discount-store chains; and a mid-1960s experiment, Adam's Row stores, in which the trendier fashions were marketed. In 1969 the company was sold to F.W. Woolworth Co. of New York. By the early 1990s the firm had become unprofitable and at the end of 1992 Woolworth closed its Richman unit, including 9 stores in Cleveland and the Distribution Center located at the original plant on E. 55th St.