by Stephen Garner

On February 4, 1954, a 22-year-old Harry Rosen, together with his younger brother Lou, opened a 500-square-foot store on Parliament Street in Toronto’s unfashionable Cabbagetown neighborhood. Starting with nothing more than a $500 loan from a relative and a youthful entrepreneurial determination, they built their made-to-measure menswear business one customer at a time, learning about each client and keeping detailed records.

By 1961, Harry had moved the business to a much larger location on Richmond Street, and he opened additional Toronto stores in the late sixties and seventies. The 1980s saw expansion across the country into the seven major Canadian retail markets. Today, Harry Rosen is Canada’s largest quality menswear retail operation with 18 stores, strong online business and over 1000 employees.

CEO Larry Rosen, Harry’s son, who joined the business in 1985 after a brief legal career, reflects on the milestone. “Today we pride ourselves on being a professionally managed company, but our business is still based upon Harry’s original vision. His love of top-quality tailoring and his passion for understanding his clients and providing exceptional personal service continue to guide our culture and lie at the heart of everything we do.”

“Harry’s story is all about the Canadian entrepreneurial spirit,” adds Larry, “and in this era of corporate takeovers and mergers, we’re proud to remain a privately-owned Canadian family business. Last year, a third generation of our family joined the company when my son Ian Rosen became a vice president. “

As for Harry himself, he is currently a healthy 87 years old and, although retired for some years, he still keeps an office at the corporate head office and focuses primarily on his personal charity work.