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Rich's:: A Southern Institution (Landmarks) Paperback – August 7, 2012


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Product Details

  • Series: Landmarks
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: The History Press (August 7, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1609491912
  • ISBN-13: 978-1609491918
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.9 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #171,303 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Fantastic book!" - Steve Goss, "One On One" With Steve Goss, WABE, NPR

"[An] absorbing new book. ... One of the book's more fascinating sections concerns the reluctant role Rich's played in the civil rights movement in 1960, when black students from the Atlanta University Center [along with MLK, Jr.] tried to obtain service in the store's legendary Magnolia Room." - Jill Vejnoska, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

"Clemmons provides the nuts and bolts of the colorful department store's history--presenting a rather complete treatment of the Atlanta Sit Ins when students from the Atlanta University complex sought to fully integrate the store in the early 1960s." - Maria Saporta, SaportaReport
 
"...a decade after its brand vanished from the marketplace, a first-time author has written a book that preserves the history of a store that for 138 years was part of a city's soul. "Rich's: A Southern Institution" [however] is more than the story of a retail giant." - Richard Hyatt, The Ledger-Enquirer

From the Back Cover

In 1867, less than three years after the Civil War left the city in ruins, Hungarian Jewish immigrant Morris Rich opened a small dry goods store on what is now Peachtree Street in downtown Atlanta. Over time, his brothers Emanuel and Daniel joined the business; within a century, it became a retailing dynasty. Join historian Jeff Clemmons as he traces Rich's 137-year history. For the first time, learn the true stories behind Penelope Penn, Fashionata, The Great Tree, the Pink Pig, Rich's famous coconut cake and much more, including how events at the downtown Atlanta store helped John F. Kennedy become America's thirty-fifth president. With an eye for accuracy and exacting detail, Clemmons recounts the complete history of this treasured southern institution.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
5 star
89%
4 star
6%
3 star
6%
2 star
0%
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See all 35 customer reviews
Jeff Clemmons has written a rather remarkable book, touching really.
Amazon Customer
There will never be a store as wonderful and customer oriented again!
Dcb1968
If you're an native of Atlanta, you will love this history of Rich's.
Doc student

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on March 21, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Jeff Clemmons has written a rather remarkable book, touching really. I notice that many reviewers have fond memories of Richs from years having lived in Atlanta and enjoying that great store. My experiences were a little different in that I joined them at the beginning of my career, and probably didn't know back then just how important a job it was.

This book brings it all back to me. I relived it all on a 6 hour flight and it was a powerful read. Jeff mentions the stores, the actual locations in which I worked, Shannon Mall, Cumberland, and Perimeter. He reminded me when Birmingham opened, and I was part of the team loading merchandise into that store.

No way--I didn't know that eating in the top floor Magnolia Room, as I worked in Richs downtown headquarters, that Dr King held sit ins and didn't get such great service in that restaurant many years before I ever worked for them.

I'd often strolled through the Finale on Five clearance floor, and the main floor in the store for fashion, often struggling with those heavy doors to the street. You'd leave one world and enter the world of Richs.

I remember the cooking school and Natalie, back when I was a lowly Richs cookware buyer. Going up to the roof to inspect the Pink Pig during the daytime when no customers were there.

I've never encountered anything quite like Richs--working for them. I remember Richs giving me a chance when others would not and I owe many great experiences in my career to them. All of this, all the essence of Richs, I give the author tremendous credit for quality of research and living Richs, even though he didn't actually. Really well done.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By PTC Mom on November 11, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I purchased "Rich's: A Southern Institution" for my mother. She worked for Rich's for over 20 years and then made the transition with them to Macy's. She has throughly enjoyed reading the book. I can't wait for her to finish so I can read it too. She keeps telling me about things she read like the nursery downtown (I remember being dropped off there), the lighting of the big tree, the Pink Pig on the ceiling of the toy department (rode it as part of my birthday celebration), and the bakery. The memories go on and on. If you grew up in Atlanta, you'll love this book!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Michelle Harlow on October 5, 2012
Format: Paperback
The attention to detail in this book is astounding, revealing Clemmons' commitment to historical accuracy and to the retail institution that shaped Atlanta, Rich's. If you are interested in the financial development, the social events, or the cultural impact of Rich's in Atlanta and in the South, then this book is invaluable. Each chapter reveals factual gems that most people do not know, such as the civil rights protests during the 60s and MLK's arrest at the Magnolia Room, where regular customers dined in a white-only environment. If you are a native Atlantan who grew up shopping at Rich's, riding the Pink Pig at Christmas, or if you are simply someone interested in history, architecture, or culture, there is something for you in this book. Personally, I was impressed with the specific details in every chapter and the amount of work that Jeff Clemmons must have done to gather these details, from the exact size of paintings on walls to the number of bulbs on the "The Great Tree." For some, these details may be overwhelming, but for those who admire facts and the history behind them, it's a rare find. I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in Atlanta, business, history and the events that shaped a growing southern city.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By cowboy on October 25, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Thus far I have read Filene's, Lazarus, and just finished Rich's. I remember the first time I visited Rich's at Lenox Square was April of 1993, In May of 1999, I would go back to Atlanta, open a Rich's charge account, and buy my first suit, and meet a wonderful sales associate named Lillian Romero, who not only sold me the suit but took me around Atlanta and back to the airport. This book not only captures the true history and essence of Rich's but concisely covers the Civil Rights Era as it pertained to Rich's. This book was well in-depth but not overbearing. This is definitely, A MUST READ! If you either grew up shopping at Rich's, are concerned with the Civil Rights Era, or are fascinated with Department Stores. You will not go wrong and will only leave with a bit more knowledge that you had before. I had my colleague in the history department at the school I teach read the section regarding the sit-ins and an advertisement about the Magnolia Room. He was very much impressed. So go now and buy this book! It is definitely money well spent!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Gdot on November 1, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
As one reviewer said: "Did you think that department stores are just businesses? Did you think that all department stores are alike? Jeff Clemmons has written a masterful explanation of how Atlanta's beloved Rich's Department Store was delightfully different - you'll enjoy learning why this store was so much-loved!

And it's not just about the store named Rich's either - history buffs will appreciate learning about other stores in Atlanta and about the beginnings of the High Museum, even a bit about the Civil Rights Movement in Atlanta!

Don't miss this well-researched glimpse into a major city's past and a department store chain's life, and how the two are irrevocably intertwined."
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More About the Author

Jeff Clemmons lives in suburban Atlanta. He has a degree in business administration from Reinhardt University and a degree in creative writing and theater from Georgia State University. He created and leads walking tours of the Midtown and SoNo districts of Atlanta for the Atlanta Preservation Center, and serves on the board of the APC's auxiliary group, CIRCA, which offers its members private tours of some of metropolitan Atlanta's most interesting historical structures.

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Rich's:: A Southern Institution (Landmarks)
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