Joseph’s, the highly-respected men’s clothing store in the Old Port, will become the oldest retail business in the area next month. That’s when The Paper Patch, the current record holder in the Old Port,is closing its doors after 51 years in business. Furthermore, for its forty-seven years in business, founder Joseph Redman, is the only owner the high quality men’s clothing store has ever known. Move over Paper Patch!
When Joe graduated from Bowdoin College, he went to work in the trust department of Canal Bank. But he soon found it boring. “I needed to move on,” he said this afternoon at Joseph’s. So, he enrolled at Babson College where he earned his MBA. The question posed to him and his classmates for their Thesis was: “What does your hometown need?” Joe’s response came easily. Portland needs a high-quality men’s clothing store. So, like any good entrepreneur, he used his Thesis as an application for his bank loan to start his business. His former employer, Canal Bank, lent him the $25,000. he needed to get started.
Today’s space, 410 Fore Street, is the same space he leased back in 1974. It had been newly rehabbed at the time he was looking for space. Once it had been a warehouse for teas and spices that ships from Europe and South America imported to Portland. This warehouse was the distribution center for those precious products for the entire northeast. Back then Wharf Street was where the docks were situated and the place that those ships from overseas docked. The space, 410 Fore Street, was built in 1809. The site escaped the Great Fire of 1866, although Munjoy Hill wasn’t as fortunate.
“As Portland has become a destination, more and more people from out-of-state are becoming our customers,” said Julian. “People from all over the northeast are our customers these days. That includes Boston and other major cities in the northeast.”
Today’s historical tour of Joseph’s and the area ended suddenly when it filled with customers coming off the crowded streets of the Old Port. But there can be no doubt that this iconic business will be around for many more years to come.
Please visit post herein dated July 16, 2020 for more information on The Paper Patch closing.