Herman's World of Sporting Goods

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Herman's World of Sporting Goods
HeadquartersCarteret, New Jersey
ProductsSporting goods

Herman’s World of Sporting Goods was a sporting goods retailer in the United States. It was founded by Herman Steinlauf in 1916 as a music store.[1] Founded in 1916 by Herman and Eddie Steinlauf as a music store in lower Manhattan. The first store was at 110 Nassau Street, in Lower Manhattan. Later, the chain expanded to East 42nd Street and East 34th Street, then to Paramus, New Jersey. The chain kept growing as time went on, in the New York metropolitan area and later other areas. Herman's later became a sporting goods outlet and was sold as a four-store group in 1970 to W. R. Grace and Company Eddie Steinlauf's son Leonard expanded into a fourth store in Paramus, creating the first sporting goods superstore. This drew the attention of conglomerate W.R. Grace, who made a play for the company. Leonard Steinlauf fought the sale, citing his vision of creating a national chain of sporting goods superstores. He believed that Herman's should stay a family company. Herman Steinlauf and Leonard Steinlauf's sister pressured Leonard into selling his 25% of the company, a decision he would later regret. Leonard Steinlauf became Herman's CEO but lasted less than ten years under a strained relationship with W.R. Grace.

In 1985, the Dee Corporation of the United Kingdom, unable to expand in the UK due to its extensive holdings, purchased Herman's. To expand the chain, the next year, Dee moved west with the acquisition of Salt Lake City-based M&H Sporting Goods, which operated 41 units under the Sunset Sports Centers and Wolfe's names in western states.[2] By 1992, Herman's had 259 stores in 35 states.[3]

In 1993, the company was sold to a group of investors, including the Taggert/Fasola Group, a New Jersey-based management company.[4] Citing its excessive debt load from acquisitions, Taggert/Fasola immediately applied for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and announced it would concentrate on its Northeast region,[5][6] closing or selling all of its stores west of Pennsylvania and south of Virginia.[7] This came even though the company had profitable locations in other regions of the country, notably Minneapolis–Saint Paul and Chicago.[8] Some units were sold to other retailers: a consortium of Gart Brothers, MC Sports, and Big 5 Sporting Goods purchased a package of 21 locations in Arizona, Washington, Idaho, Utah, and Illinois for integration into their own chains.[9] Later, Herman's exited several ancillary markets in the Northeast, notably Buffalo and Pittsburgh.[10] While in Chapter 11 reorganization, the financial health of the chain improved, including the acquisition of the 17-unit Gold Medal chain in the Philadelphia area; 12 stores were retained in the Herman's system.[11] It emerged from Chapter 11 in September 1994 with 103 units along the Northeast Corridor.[12]

However, the revitalized chain soon found itself in financial difficulty again. 1995 was an "extremely difficult" year for the company as competition intensified, causing a cash shortage that led to vendors being slow to deliver product to the firm's stores.[13] On April 26, 1996, it filed for Chapter 11 again.[14] An analyst cited a crowded market, including such "category killers" as Sports Authority, as well as a harsh winter and recent strikes and lockouts in baseball and hockey for diminishing sales.[15] It then proceeded to liquidate its stores.[16][17] Regional competitor Modell's Sporting Goods acquired 16 stores in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.[18]

Herman's main executive offices and warehouse were co-located in Carteret, New Jersey, at 2 Germak Drive.[19] This building is now used by P.C. Richard & Son.


  1. ^ Janofsky, Michael (February 10, 1993). "COMPANY NEWS; New Owners For Herman's Sports Chain". The New York Times. Retrieved November 16, 2007.
  2. ^ Oberbeck, Steven (July 17, 1986). "United Kingdom Food Retailer To Buy Wolfe's, Sunset Sports". The Salt Lake Tribune. Salt Lake City, Utah. p. B9. Retrieved November 17, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  3. ^ "HERMAN'S SPORTING GOODS LOSING MONEY, PUT ON MARKET". Sun-Sentinel. March 23, 1992. Archived from the original on May 30, 2020. Retrieved October 29, 2020.
  4. ^ "U.S. investor group to purchase Herman's Sporting Goods". UPI.com. February 9, 1993. Retrieved October 29, 2020.
  5. ^ "COMPANY NEWS; Bankruptcy Protection Is Sought for Herman's". The New York Times. March 16, 1993. Retrieved November 16, 2007.
  6. ^ "Herman's files bankruptcy, may close or sell stores". The Courier-News. March 16, 1993. p. B-4. Retrieved November 17, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  7. ^ Peterson, Susan E. (March 31, 1993). "Herman's seeks approval for closing 132 stores". Star Tribune. Minneapolis, Minnesota. p. 3D. Retrieved November 17, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  8. ^ "Herman's owners seek Chapter 11 protection". Star Tribune. Minneapolis, Minnesota. Bloomberg News Service. March 16, 1993. p. 3D. Retrieved November 17, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  9. ^ France, Kym (June 24, 1993). "4 Arizona Herman's stores to be sold". Arizona Republic. Phoenix, Arizona. p. C1. Retrieved November 17, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  10. ^ "Herman's new muscle". The Central New Jersey Home News. January 3, 1994. p. C1, C2. Retrieved November 17, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  11. ^ Turner, David L. (July 25, 1994). "New leadership gives Herman's a sporting chance". The Philadelphia Inquirer. p. D1, D12. Retrieved November 17, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  12. ^ Schlegel, Jeff (September 30, 1994). "Herman's leaving Chapter 11". The Central New Jersey Home News. p. C9. Retrieved November 17, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  13. ^ Geller, Adam (May 3, 1996). "Strike three for Herman's: Retailer confirms liquidation plans". The Record. p. B-1, B-5. Retrieved November 17, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  14. ^ "Herman's Sporting Goods files for Chapter 11 a second time". Daily Record. Associated Press. April 27, 1996. p. A6. Retrieved November 17, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  15. ^ Conroy, William (April 27, 1996). "Asking for time: Herman's seeks Chapter 11 protection again". Asbury Park Press. p. A10. Retrieved November 17, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  16. ^ Galler, Adam (May 1, 1996). "Prospects bleak for retailer — Grim and grimmer: Liquidation looms for Herman's". The Record. p. B-1, B-3. Retrieved November 17, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  17. ^ "Herman's Sporting Goods calling it quits". The Courier-News. May 3, 1996. p. A10. Retrieved November 17, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  18. ^ "Modell's buying 16 ex-Herman's stores". The Central New Jersey Home News. June 28, 1996. p. B9. Retrieved November 17, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  19. ^ "P.C. Richard & Son Doubles Size of Its New Jersey Warehouse and Distribution Facility (Press Release)". Studley.com. Archived from the original on February 27, 2012.