In a ’32 Chevy bound for California, Dan Gordman left his job at Bloomingdale’s in New York in 1936 for a career of his own making. Armed with little more than a head full of innovative plans and a lot of gumption, Dan headed west to seek his fortune. As luck would have it, he only made it as far as Omaha. His fated stop for car repairs led Dan to a lasting romance with Esther Richman and a lifelong business relationship with her father Sam.
Russian immigrant Sam Richman had owned and operated his small Omaha retail clothing store since 1915. With the addition of Dan Gordman to the family, Sam gained not only a new son-in-law, but a new business partner as well. Inventive and sharp, Dan quickly energized the small company. Out of this relationship, Richman Gordman was born.
Richman Gordman prospered, leading to progressively faster expansion. Over several decades, the Company added additional stores in Omaha and Lincoln, and eventually, elsewhere in Nebraska along with communities in Iowa and Kansas. Centralized checkouts, shopping carts, and self-service shoes were all introduced to the Midwest by Dan and his growing retail chain. In 1975, a second group of retail stores, Half Price Stores, was launched. By 1990, the Company had grown to 16 Richman Gordman stores and 16 Half Price Stores.
Jeff Gordman, whose great grandfather founded the predecessor company nearly 100 years ago, joined the Company in 1990, and was president and CEO from 1996 until he retired in March 2014 to pursue outside interests. At the beginning of his tenure as president and CEO, the Company in 1996 operated 32 stores generating annual sales of just over $200 million. Jeff Gordman led a complete repositioning of the business, overhauling the merchandising, marketing and stores strategy, developing a store prototype growth vehicle and changing the store trade name from Half Price Store to Gordmans, which was completed in fiscal 2000. Jeff Gordman sold the Company to Sun Capital Partners, one of the largest private equity firms in the country, in September 2008, continuing on with the Company as president and CEO. He led a successful initial public offering of common stock for Gordmans in 2010 as well as a secondary public offering in 2012.
Over the last three years, Gordmans has expanded its store base by nearly 40%, and today employs over 5,000 associates. For fiscal year 2013, Gordmans revenues were $620 million. In 2014, Gordmans will open seven new stores and a 545,000-square-foot distribution center in Indianapolis, which will enable Gordmans to service more than 200 stores.
In 2012, Forbes magazine ranked Gordmans No. 29 on its 2012 list of America’s 100 best small-cap companies based on sales and earnings growth. Apparel magazine ranked Gordmans No. 42 on its 2013 list of the Top 50 leading apparel retailers, recognizing Gordmans for profitability, product innovation and marketing excellence.
Gordmans believes in giving back to the communities in which it operates. Since 2000, Gordmans has supported Partners in Education and has contributed more than $1 million to public school systems in markets where Gordmans has stores.
Under the mission statement, “To delight our guests with big savings, big selection, and fun, friendly associates,” Gordmans has grown to an impressive 95 stores in a total of 20 states, to date.