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By JAMES W. WADE III
Forman Mills Clothing Factory Warehouse has arrived in Cleveland to help shoppers “Stretch their bills.” The mid-Atlantic based discount department store will unveil its first Ohio store on Friday, March 30 at 9 a.m., with an official ribbon cutting held Saturday, March 31 at 10 a.m. The store is at 11905 Superior Avenue at E. 120th Street and inhabits the space vacated by Tops Friendly Market in December 2006.
The retailer will celebrate its grand opening with a weekend of entertainment. Customers will be able to enjoy music, balloon artists, face painters, live radio broadcasts and plenty of prizes and giveaways.
Forman Mills is one of the fastest-growing major retailers in the off-price apparel and home goods sectors with nearly 30 stores across the country. More than 200 new jobs are to be created as a result of the Cleveland store opening, with an estimated $1 million expected to be invested annually in the area’s employee payroll.
The new Cleveland Forman Mills includes 50,000 square feet of designer fashions, accessories, and home goods sold at significant discounts on high-profile brand names for every member of the family, including a wide assortment of men’s, women’s and children’s everyday and special occasion apparel, as well as school uniforms, shoes and home fashions.
The discounter also plans to become one of the area’s leading sources of authorized sports apparel from major sports teams, including the Cleveland Cavaliers, Indians and Browns.
“Cleveland has a huge demand for quality products at affordable prices and we’re eager to help residents stretch their hard-earned dollars that much further,” said Richard Forman, the company’s founder and CEO.
“Forman Mills delivers fashions people are seeking without breaking the bank. We build stores in communities where people actually live and work. Cleveland and Forman Mills are a perfect match and we look forward to being part of the community.”
“Cleveland has invested in this new business adventure and I am pleased they chose my ward to launch their first store,” said Cleveland City Councilman Kevin Conwell. “Resident’s in the area was happy to see something in the property that stayed vacant for some long. Taking over for a vacant store is nothing new to Forman Mills and Richard Forman.”
Forman’s overall strategy is reopening store properties in mostly underserved urban areas. Non-traditional and off-price, Forman Mills seeks opportunistic store sites and highlights the exterior in their trademark bright yellow and red company colors.
With this formula, the company has grown from a single location in South Philadelphia in 1985 to a chain of nearly 30 such stores, serving communities in areas such as Illinois, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Delaware, Maryland, Michigan, Washington, DC and now Ohio.
At the young age of 17, Forman launched his retail career in 1977 with an $80 loan from his father. He aggressively grew the business, personally overseeing and participating in every aspect. He began to specialize, selling three printed T-shirts for $5, a promotion for which Forman Mills would become renowned.
In October 1981, Forman opened the first Forman Mills clothing store, then known as Forman Knitting Mills, in an alleyway on Frankford Avenue in Philadelphia. The store combined an outdoor flea market with an indoor showroom.
Through hard work, fair prices and quality merchandise, the first Forman Mills quickly became a major success, and in 1985, the first Forman Mills Factory Clothing Warehouse superstore opened in an old warehouse in South Philadelphia.
What began as Forman’s simple flea market venture has grown into a nationally respected brand. Today, Forman Mills thrives in areas that other retailers have often failed to explore. The company continues to be successful, delivering affordable, quality merchandise to eager consumers in underserved, urban areas through its unique and enthusiastic marketing tactics.
The Forman Mills “shout,” heard on television and in radio spots across the country, has become the battle cry of the exceptional-value category shopper.
“We wanted to create something special inside with our stores. We want people to stay within their budget and yet be able to buy bags and bags of top quality brand name clothes.”
In addition to the Cleveland store, the company is researching additional expansion opportunities across the Midwest and western portions of the United States.
Hours of operation of Forman Mills in Cleveland are Monday – Saturday 9 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.