This tragic episode occurred on my way to interview Steve Rich, the owner of Leonard Adler & Co. As I entered the office, with a frantic-I-spilled-my-coffee look on my face, Steve returned it with a calm, “I just brewed a whole pot.“ Thank God.
For the next hour, Steve and I sipped our coffees and talked about the history of Leonard Adler, the economy’s effect on the local apparel industry, and building a community (you knew I would throw that one in there, right?)
In the meantime, Leonard Adler had decided to sell his family business. Steve took over Leonard Adler & Co in January of 1985, he kept the Adler name because they had been in business since 1903 and had reached a wide customer base.
Through 50 years of being an independent business owner, Steve has sought opportunity and adapted his business for the current market. His first location selling as Leonard Adler was next door to Columbia College, which had a blossoming fashion design program. At that point, Steve started selling supplies to students and is now the preferred supplier for all the local design programs.
And let’s face it; the fashion map of Chicago has had its ups and downs. Steve admits that he has lost a lot of the bigger clients to overseas sourcing and manufacturing; Marshall Fields, Carson Pirie Scott, and Bloomingdales. But the recent economy has resulted in an influx of young designers. And he strives to create a supply shop that caters to the small designer.
Emerging designers, fashion students, and the at-home creatives all must visit Leonard Adler. The variety of supplies available is truly the highest quality for any/all garment construction. And let’s say you are having, “one of those mornings”. Only this time, you are in the middle of production on a Men’s trouser, the factory calls to ask why you did not drop off the zippers for the fly. But you did drop off the zippers. No, there are no zippers at the factory. Then its time to race up Western Ave. and grab some last minute zippers from Leonard Adler & Co.
Leonard Adler & Co is as passionate about building the local fashion community as we are! Stop in there anytime and Steve will counsel you on what to buy and where to go in this city to get your project complete.
Join us in building an apparel-minded community in Chicago.