Browns Shoes

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Browns Shoes Inc.
IndustryRetail Manufacturing Shoes
Founded1940 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada
FounderBenjamin Brownstein
HeadquartersSaint-Laurent, Quebec, Canada
Number of locations
Number of employees

Browns Shoes Inc. is a Montreal-based fashion footwear retailer that owns and operates 67 stores across Canada under a variety of footwear brands.


Browns Shoes was founded in Montreal in 1940 by Benjamin Brownstein, who immigrated to Montreal at the age of 15 from Romania. The original Browns Shoes location, on St. Catherine Street in downtown Montreal, burned down in 1954. After the fire, Benjamin's son, Morton Brownstein, took over the family business.[2] Morton Brownstein was born on January 12, 1928 to Benjamin and Minnie Brownstein. Upon graduating from high school, Morton worked at his father's department store on Montreal's St. Lawrence Boulevard. Morton married Bernice Greenfield, whom he met at the age of 13 at the Strathcona Academy in Outremont. Together, they had three children –Michael, Janis and Cheryl. After taking over the family business in 1954, Morton decided to take Browns into a different direction toward exclusive designer and fashion footwear. In 1959, he became the first North American retailer to bring Italian-made shoes to Canada.[3] Today, Browns Shoes is a nationwide shoe retailer, with 57 stores across Canada. Morton Brownstein remained the company's president until 1999, when he ceded the presidency of the company to his son, Michael. On May 23, 2013, Morton Brownstein died at the age of 86[4] in his Westmount home in Montreal.[5]

Business operation[edit]

Browns Shoes is a fashion retailer that operates over 65 stores across Canada under the Browns, B2 and Browns OUTLET banners.[6][7][8] The company was founded in Montreal in 1940 by Benjamin Brownstein.[9] Today, a third generation leads the business which employs close to 1000 employees nationwide.[10] Browns' shoes have been seen on prominent Canadian celebrities and personalities such as model Coco Rocha, Montreal Canadien Mike Cammalleri, as well as Ben Mulroney and Tanya Kim from E-TALK Canada, for which Browns is the official footwear supplier. The latest Fall / Winter 2013 Campaign featured Canadian model Coco Rocha, Czech model Petra Nemcova, and Brazilian model Marlon Teixeira.[11]

Community role[edit]

Morton Brownstein was especially known for his philanthropy, his generosity, and his charity work, receiving several honors such as Entrepreneur of the Year in 1995 and the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Award in 2002, and in July 2004, Morton Brownstein was appointed to the Order of Canada.[12] In 1984, Morton Brownstein raised $20 million for the Montreal Jewish General Hospital's emergency department, which was eventually named after him and his wife, Bernice. In 2003, he raised his largest contribution of $200 million. In 2009, he received the hospital's lifetime achievement award and in 2012 was named director emeritus. Today, Browns Shoes carries on the charitable work of its past president Morton Brownstein. The company continues to donate 10% of its pretax profits to various Montreal charities, such as the Club de Petits Dejeuners in Montreal, an organization that provides breakfast for students at schools in underprivileged areas.

Products and brands[edit]

Browns specializes in footwear for women, men and children.[13] In addition to carrying a large selection of brands such as Michael Kors, Stuart Weitzman and Giuseppe Zanotti, Browns also carries a range of exclusive collections, namely: Mimosa, Browns Couture, The Wishbone Collection, Luca Del Forte, Intensi and B2. In 1998, Michael became the first retailer outside of Italy to win the MICAM Award[14] in Bologna, an award given to footwear buyers who showcase products made in Italy.


  1. ^ "About Browns Shoes Inc". LinkedIn. Retrieved 25 November 2013.
  2. ^ "Browns: Canada's designer shoe mecca".
  3. ^ "Obituary: Browns Shoes' Morton Brownstein". June 26, 2013
  4. ^ "JGH leader Morton Brownstein dies". May 24, 2013
  5. ^ "Jewish General Hospital deeply saddened by the loss of Morton Brownstein|publisher=Jewish General Hospital". May 24, 2013
  6. ^ "About Browns
  7. ^ "Montreal-Based Browns Shoes Finds the Perfect Fit with Demandware." March 26, 2012
  8. ^ "Montreal-based Browns Shoes Inc. Cites Enhanced Customer Experience as Main Reason for choosing OrderMotion's Order Management Platform for Its Online Shoe Boutique." March 7, 2012
  9. ^ "Philanthropist, father of Browns Shoes, dies at 85." May 24, 2013
  10. ^ "Morton Brownstein, 85: shoe-store magnate, philanthropist, challenger of Quebec language laws." June 03, 2013
  11. ^ "Browns Shoes Continues Canadian Expansion & Rings in the Spring." April 25, 2013
  12. ^ "Order of Canada"
  13. ^ "Northern Exposure". January, 2010
  14. ^ "Micam Award Archived 2013-12-02 at the Wayback Machine". July 11, 2012

External links[edit]