HOW WE BEGAN
RG Barry has grown and changed many times since its founding in 1947.
Our Company's beginnings can be traced to Columbus. OH, housewife and inventor Florence Zacks Melton and the detachable shoulder pads she developed for women's military-style fashions of the time.
Mrs. Melton was visiting the Firestone Tire and Rubber Co. in Akron, OH, in 1947 seeking innovative materials to improve the durability of her shoulder pads. During that visit, she was introduced to foam latex, a material that had been developed during World War II and for which Firestone was seeking commercial uses. While returning home from Akron, Mrs. Melton decided that the best use for foam latex wasn't shoulder pads, it was to walk on. So, using a sample of this soft, cushioned material, she fashioned the world's first foam-soled, soft, washable slipper. In a very short time, demand for her comfortable slippers eclipsed that of shoulder pads making foam-cushioned slippers RG Barry's primary business.
Today, we are a leading developer and marketer developer of accessory lifestyle brands and products that are functional and fashionable. We offer products in three distinct segments of the accessory category – footwear, handbags and comfort inserts.
Our products are sold through national chains, mass merchants, warehouse clubs, better and mid-tier department stores, non-promotional independent and specialty retailers, boutiques, catalogs, home shopping networks, online retailers and our own Websites.
HISTORICAL TIME LINE
Click links below:
1940's | 1950's | 1960's | 1970's | 1980's | 1990's | 2000's
Florence Zacks Melton creates a detachable shoulder pad for women's garments.
Partners Harry Streim, Florence and Aaron Zacks form RG Barry. The Company name is derived from the first names of the co-founders' sons: Richard, Gordon and Barry.
RG Barry introduces the world's first foam-cushioned, washable slipper. It is an immediate hit in the notions area of department stores.
Dearfoams® moves slippers from notions departments to first floor hosiery departments, launching what will evolve into the accessory footwear category.
RG Barry becomes a public company.
The Company initiates the use of data processing to enhance business performance.
The Company purchases "boudoir slipper" maker Dot & Peg Productions.
Madye's Inc., a producer of boudoir slippers, purchased.
RG Barry, working in conjunction with the University of Michigan, implements a pioneering human resources accounting system. The project runs through 1973. The Company opens a manufacturing plant and distribution center in Goldsboro, NC.
RG Barry launches a line of slippers in "discount stores"; and acquires Bernardo® sandals, which it operates until 1985. Barry of San Angelo manufacturing plant/distribution center opens.
The Company's first Mexican manufacturing facility opens at Nuevo Laredo. Before exiting all manufacturing in 2004, the Company will expand its Mexican operations to employ several thousand workers at plants in Nuevo Laredo, Ciudad Acuna, Ciudad Juarez and Zacatecas.
Mushrooms® shoes are launched using major market television advertising, a footwear industry first. The pioneering women's comfort footwear brand was sold to U.S. Shoe Corporation in 1982. The Company opens a manufacturing plant in Laredo, Texas.
RG Barry relocates from its downtown Columbus office and manufacturing facility to a new corporate headquarters in suburban Pickerington.
Net sales top $100 million mark for the first time.
Dearfoams® Warm-Up Boots become one of the top-selling holiday gift items in U.S. department store history.
Barry de Acuna manufacturing plant opens in Ciudad Acuna, Mexico.
The Company enters the licensed character products arena with Cabbage Patch Kids® and Care Bear® slippers.
RG Barry begins network television advertising for its Dearfoams® brand. Ensuing holiday campaigns will feature characters including Hollywood legend Zsa Zsa Gabor, British Royal Family lookalikes and dancing store mannequins.
The Company opens a Southwest Manufacturing Headquarters in San Antonio.
Barry de Zacatecas opens in Zacatecas, Mexico.
Thermal products maker Vesture Corporation of Asheboro, N.C., is purchased. The Company operates Vesture until its sale in 2003.
RG Barry moves from the American Stock Exchange to the New York Stock Exchange where its common shares will be listed until 2004.
The Company launches Barry Europe.
RG Barry celebrates its 50th anniversary and is named Wal-Mart Stores International Soft Lines Vendor of the Year.
The Company's Vesture Corporation subsidiary is awarded patent for its innovative pizza/hot food delivery system.
RG Barry buys French footwear maker Fargeot et Compagnie SA of Thiviers, France. The Company operates Fargeot until its sale in 2007.
The Company opens its first representative sourcing office in Hong Kong.
The Company implements a new business model, which includes exiting all manufacturing and under-performing businesses and implementing a flexible sourcing model. As a result, the international Turnaround Management Association recognizes RG Barry as its mid-sized turnaround of the year.
Newly-named President and Chief Executive Officer Greg Tunney leads development of long-range strategic growth plans and institutes an ongoing program of cultural development and enrichment.
The Company launches its proprietary Terrasoles® brand.
Walmart U.S. names the Company its principal supplier of replenishment slippers. Additional customer accolades include: Target Corporation's "Vendor of the Year in Men's Essentials"; Kohl's Corporation "Best in Class-Accessories"; Sears Holding Corporation's coveted "Partners in Progress" award; and Sam's Club "Accessory Vendor of the Quarter." The Company moves its stock listing to the NASDAQ Global Market.
RG Barry's Board of Directors adopts a dividend policy and declares a cash dividend for the first time since 1981.
The Company licenses the Dearfoams® brand to Olivet International, one of the world's leading accessory apparel resources, to develop and market a variety of sleepwear, active wear and accessory products bearing the Dearfoams® name.
RG Barry purchases the assets of Foot Petals, LLC, a privately-owned Long Beach, California-based developer and marketer of premium insoles; and baggallini, Inc,, the suburban Portland, OR, based developer and marketer of incredibly organized, fashionable handbaggs, tote baggs and travel accessories.
The Company exits its leased San Angelo, Texas footwear distribution center, the final legacy of its manufacturing heritage. Footwear distribution is consolidated to a third-party logistics provider in Long Beach, CA.
The Company finalizes the acquisitions of niche outdoor and travel bag brand KIVA and handbag developer Mosey.
Back To Top
The Company consolidates handbag distribution from Portland into its a third-party logistics provider in Long Beach, CA. Shareholders approve the sale of the Company to a Greenwich, CT-based private equity firm on September 3, 2014, and RG Barry Brands becomes a wholly-owned affiliate of Mill Road Capital.