Herman's World of Sporting Goods

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Herman's World of Sporting Goods
TypeDefunct
IndustryRetail
Founded1916
Defunct1996
FateLiquidation
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] At one time, there was a gentleman's agreement with west coast competitor Oshman's Sporting Goods, that the Herman's chain would stay east of the Mississippi, while Oshman's would be dominant on the west coast. Later on, Herman's did expand west with the acquisition of Salt Lake City-based Sunset Sports Centers, although this was short-lived. By 1992, Herman's had 259 stores in 35 states.[2] The company entered bankruptcy in 1993, first closing the stores out of the New York metropolitan area, then the New York City stores.[3] Herman's could not overcome the debt incurred by the Dee Corporation, a British supermarket company that purchased it. The idea that it could not compete with warehouse stores like Dick's Sporting Goods and Sports Authority was a fallacy that came later. Even at the end, Herman's was attracting traffic to its stores; it simply could no longer purchase the merchandise needed to satisfy that traffic.

Herman's main executive offices and warehouse were co-located in Carteret, New Jersey, at 2 Germak Drive.[4] This building is now used by P.C. Richard & Son.

Herman's was purchased by W. R. Grace and Company in 1970, as part of Grace's retail division, which sold it to British holding company the Dee Corporation, in 1986, which later changed its name to Gateway.[1] In 1993, the company was sold to a group of investors, including the Taggert/Fasola Group, a New Jersey-based management company.[5] Herman's closed all its remaining stores in 1996.[6]

Some of the slogans the company used included "Herman's.. We Are Sports.". One of the most popular locations was in Valley Stream, NY, serving the boroughs of Queens and Nassau county. Herman's was one of Manhattan's—and later most of the U.S.-- most visible retail stores. While Herman's was a large sporting goods retailer, about half of the floor space of any store was soft goods, including ski jackets, and other apparel. Herman's had their own label, made by other vendors.

On several occasions, Herman's sponsored a Free Ski Day in Central Park, providing cross country skis and poles and other winter sports activities for free, where people could ski on the great lawn or go downhill on an artificial hill.[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Janofsky, Michael. "COMPANY NEWS; New Owners For Herman's Sports Chain", The New York Times, February 10, 1993. Accessed November 16, 2007. "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 & Company. Eddie Steinlauf's son Leonard expanded into a fourth store in Paramus, NJ, 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, siting 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. Fully expanded by 1986, the chain was sold to the Dee Corporation in Britain; Dee later changed its name to Gateway."
  2. ^ "HERMAN'S SPORTING GOODS LOSING MONEY, PUT ON MARKET". Sun-Sentinel. March 23, 1992. Archived from the original on 2020-05-30. Retrieved 2020-10-29.
  3. ^ " COMPANY NEWS; Bankruptcy Protection Is Sought for Herman's", The New York Times, March 16, 1993. Accessed November 16, 2007.
  4. ^ "P.C. Richard & Son Doubles Size of Its New Jersey Warehouse and Distribution Facility (Press Release)". Studley.com. Archived from the original on 2012-02-27.
  5. ^ "U.S. investor group to purchase Herman's Sporting Goods". UPI.com. February 9, 1993. Retrieved 2020-10-29.
  6. ^ "Modell's blitzes Baltimore". Baltimore Sun. August 12, 2004. Retrieved 2010-10-29.
  7. ^ Leimbach, Dulcie. "For Children", The New York Times, February 7, 1992. Accessed November 16, 2007.