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Jewish Research and Education - Cuba Family Archives, Finding Aids

Date Span:  1900-1986

Creator:  Rich’s Inc.

Summary/Abstract:  Rich’s was established on May 28, 1867 as M. Rich Dry Goods and would grow to become the South’s largest retailer. The records consist of annual reports and financial records.

Quantity/Physical Description: 1.6 linear feet

Language(s):  English

Repository:  The Cuba Family Archives for Southern Jewish History, The William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum, 1440 Spring Street NW, Atlanta, Georgia 30309.

Restrictions on Access:  There are no restrictions on accessing material in this collection.

Restrictions on Use:  Copyright restrictions may apply.  Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright.  Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder.

Preferred Citation:  Box Number, Folder Number, Mss 114, Rich’s Inc. (Atlanta, Ga.) Records, The Cuba Family Archives, The Breman Jewish Heritage Museum, 1440 Spring Street NW, Atlanta, Georgia 30309.

Processed by:  Sandra Berman (August, 2002)

Arrangement: The records are arranged in alphabetical order by subject and chronologically within each folder.

Biographical/Historical Note:  Rich’s Inc., was founded on May 28, 1867, as M. Rich Dry Goods by 20-year-old Morris Rich with only $500 in capital.  The first store was located on the Peachtree end of the Whitehall Street viaduct.  Within the first year of operation the store generated a total sales volume of $5,000.  This successful beginning allowed the store to continuously move to larger quarters over the next several years, finally settling at 54-56 Whitehall Street in 1882.  The store would remain at this location for the next 42 years. In 1877 Morris’ brother Emanuel entered the business and the name of the store was changed to M. Rich and Brother, followed by Daniel in 1884, when the store was again renamed as M. Rich and Brothers.  Due to aggressive marketing and fairness to customers, the store continued to thrive while so many of their competitors failed. On January 12, 1901, a charter for incorporation was granted, and the firm became M. Rich and Brothers Company.  Morris Rich was elected president at a meeting of stockholders on January 18, 1901.  Daniel Rich was named vice-president and treasurer, and a young accountant named David H. Strauss was made secretary.  William Rich was elected to the Board of Directors. In 1907, Rich’s expanded the quarters on Whitehall Street into what the Atlanta Journal called “a paradise for shoppers.”  At this time, Rich’s boasted five floors, an annex and two elevators.  Sales volume was now a million dollars annually. In 1924, fifty-seven years after the store’s founding, Rich’s moved to a new $1,500,000 building on Broad and Alabama with 180,000 square feet of floor space.  This was over 100 times the size of the original store.  The Atlanta Journal described it as the “South’s Greatest Department Store,” and the public referred to it as “Rich’s Palace of Commerce.” In 1943, the Rich Foundation was formed to distribute a large share of the store’s profits to the Atlanta community.  First among the recipients of continuing contributions was the School of Business Administration at Emory University. Throughout the 1950s, the fame of Rich’s spread throughout the country.  National magazine articles paid tribute to Rich’s policies that had won such customer loyalty:  liberal credit, wide assortments, lowest price for comparable quality, and an understanding attitude about returns. The late ‘50s and early ‘60s brought sweeping changes in the shopping habits of America.  Rich’s welcomed the development as an opportunity for further expansion and added suburban stores in Lenox Square, Belvedere, Cobb County, North DeKalb and Greenbriar shopping centers. In 1961, Richard H. Rich became chairman of the board and Harold Brockey became president. Under his leadership, Rich’s annual sales volume climbed to $148,000,000.  In 1976, Rich’s Inc. merged with Federated Department Stores, Inc.

Scope and Content Researchers studying the Rich’s Inc. (Atlanta, Ga.) Records will gain insight into one of the largest Jewish-owned department stores to exist in the United States. The records are arranged in alphabetical order by subject and chronologically within each folder.

Collection Inventory

Box File Description Date
1 1 Annual reports 1962, 1964-1967
2 Annual reports 1968-1973
3 Annual reports (Beginning of Federated Department Stores) 1974-1977
4 Annual reports 1978-1982
5 Annual reports 1983-1986
6 Financial records – comparative sales 1938-1949
2 1 Financial records – comparative sales 1949-1954
2 Financial records – comparative sales 1956-1963
3 Financial records – comparative sales 1959-1968
4 Financial records – comparative sales 1965-1974
5 Financial records – comparative sales 1971-1975
6 Financial records – comparative sales 1975-1980
7 Financial records – comparative sales by department 1929-1970
8 Financial records – comparative sales by department 1929-1970
3 1 Financial records – comparative sales by department 1929-1970
2 Financial records – comparative sales by department 1929-1970
3 Financial records – comparative sales by department 1929-1970
4 Financial records – daily retail sales – period 1 1958-1973
5 Financial records – daily retail sales – period 2 1958-1973
6 Financial records – daily retail sales – period 3 1958-1973
7 Financial records – daily retail sales – period 4 1958-1973
8 Financial records – daily retail sales – period 5 1958-1973
9 Financial records – daily retail sales – period 6 1958-1973
10 Financial records – daily retail sales – period 7 1958-1973
11 Financial records – daily retail sales – period 8 1958-1973
12 Financial records – daily retail sales – period 9 1958-1973
13 Financial records – daily retail sales – period 10 1958-1973
4 1 Financial records – daily retail sales – period 11 1958-1973
2 Financial records – daily retail sales – period 12 1958-1973
3 Financial records – flash plan audited sales 1960-1965
4 Financial records – flash plan audited sales 1966-1968
5 Financial records – flash plan audited sales 1969-1970
6 Financial records – total sales 1923 - 1925
7 Financial records – total store net sales 1900-1964
8 Merchandise Budgeting and Control 1963

 

Posted in: Finding aids

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