CINCINNATI - WCPO is pleased to introduce a new Monday feature. "Staying Power" will focus on local businesses, most of them family-owned, that have what it takes to survive and thrive for 25 years or more. Our first company fits the bill, and then some!
The Richter & Phillips Co.
What: Family-owned diamond and jewelry store
Where: 202 E. Sixth Street, Cincinnati
Number of employees: 15
Known for: fine diamonds (loose and set); fine Swiss watches; bridal jewelry lines; watch and jewelry repair (most done on site)
It was the near the close of the 19th Century when C. Edward Richter and three brothers named Phillips opened a store in downtown Cincinnati. The shop offered many different items to its initial customers, with the emphasis on jewelry.
Traveling salesmen fanned out all over the country with large trunks full of jewelry, selling to other companies. The storeroom displayed jewelry, diamonds, and gifts. Richter & Phillips also offered catalog shopping. Customers around the country to order jewelry, gifts, luggage, purses, trophies, plaques, clocks, electrical appliances, sporting goods, musical instruments, dolls and toys.
Under the leadership of its founders, the store, catalog business and traveling salesmen network thrived for the first 40 years. In 1930, however, suffering from the Great Depression, the company was forced to file for bankruptcy.
Frederick W. Fehr, a traveling diamond salesman working for a different company, took his loose diamonds to the 2nd National bank, where he got a loan to buy the store and keep it open. Over the next few years Fehr (pictured below, photo courtesy of The Richter & Phillips Co.) bought out all remaining stockholders.