If you asked Canadian men to name the place they’d think of first to buy high-end men’s clothing, chances are the first name you’d hear would be “Harry Rosen.’
After working in a clothing factory and a quality menswear store, Harry and his brother Lou put down $500 and opened a small, made-to-measure menswear store in 1954 on Parliament Street in Toronto’s Cabbagetown neighbourhood. In 1961, they relocated the store to Richmond Street West to be closer to their business clientele. In 1968, they opened a second store in Toronto’s Yorkdale Mall.
In 1969, Harry sold the company to the Dylex organization, and became General Manager of Dylex’s Tip Top Tailors division and Harry Rosen. Harry returned full time to Harry Rosen in 1975, repurchasing 49% of the company. In 1994, when Dylex had financial difficulties, Harry bought back the remaining 51%.
In 1989, Harry Rosen’s expanded into the highly competitive U.S. market with a store in Buffalo, and in 1998 opened the first of nine U.S. Hugo Boss stores. Unfortunately, due to the untimely death of Harry’s partner and minor shareholder Bob Humphrey, the stores were sold back to Hugo Boss.
Some of the secrets to the marketing success of Harry Rosen are its selection of prestigious, top-quality brand names together with a line of more affordable house brands; carefully trained sales associates who take a personal and proactive interest in their customers; a semi-annual customer magazine that speaks to the lifestyle of the store’s customer base and highlights new trends; and operating attractively designed stores in high-traffic locations.
The year 2004 marked the 50th anniversary of Harry Rosen Inc. with 16 stores in major centres across Canada. Never one to rest on his laurels, Harry continues to work the floor of the store every Saturday.
Harry has served as a member of the Board of Governors of the University of Western Ontario and sat on the Advisory Board of the Ivey School of Business. He is currently on the Retail Management Advisory Board of Ryerson University.
As a businessperson, Harry Rosen has received various awards and recognition, including ‘Retail Marketer of the Year’ and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Retail Council of Canada, and an honorary degree from Ryerson University in 2003. In 2003, he was inducted as a member of the Order of Canada, in part as a result of his active involvement with fundraising initiatives for the Canadian Cancer Society, United Jewish Appeal, Canadian Special Olympics, Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care.