RICH, U.S. department store owners. The Rich family came from Kaschau (Hungary), from where Morris Rich (1847–1928) and his brother William moved to the United States in 1860; they became peddlers in Cleveland (Ohio). In 1865 Morris moved to Atlanta (Georgia) where in 1867 he opened a retail store which was the first of a leading chain of department stores in the South. His brothers Emanuel (1849–1897) and Daniel (1843–1920) who had come to the United States in 1862, and later Walter Henry (1880–1947), joined him in his successful business. Rich's of Atlanta was the first major retail store in the area to introduce liberal credit terms and homespun ways of merchandising, which popularized the store among the large black population. The firm's credit policy was a major factor in its rehabilitation after a disastrous fire swept Atlanta in 1917. The company also simplified internal administration and became famous for its excellent labor relations. Its owners and senior officers were prominent in many local and national civic organizations and charities which included the Rich Foundation, a major endower of Emory University's School of Business Administration.
H.G. Baker, Rich's of Atlanta: the Story of a Store Since 1867 (1953).
[Joachim O. Ronall]
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.