Kuhlman is preparing for a relaunch.
This story first appeared in the August 25, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Formerly known as Kuhlman Co. Inc., the men’s wear firm was founded by Scott and Susan Kuhlman in 2002 as a men’s shirt manufacturer. By 2003, the Kuhlmans opened their first store and over the next 18 months built the business to 30 units. The company went public through a reverse merger in 2005 and brought some high-profile, big-box retail executives on board to help it grow even further. The strategy was unsuccessful and, by 2006, Kuhlman was out of money and the business wound down.
The assets were purchased in 2007 by private equity partners Louis Silverman and Jason Behfarin. Under its new ownership, the company is planning to strategically reopen stores in cities around the U.S. The first will be in Manhattan.
Now known as S. Kuhlman, the firm has subleased 2,300 square feet of retail space at 989 Third Avenue on the corner of 59th Street, according to the retailer’s real estate adviser, The Lansco Corp. S. Kuhlman will remain in the space until February 2010, at which point it will have the opportunity to work directly with the building’s landlord to remain. Although the asking rent for the three-level retail space is $25,000 a month, Lansco was able to negotiate a substantially lower base rent with a percentage based on sales, the company said. The sublessor was a Belgian fabric company named Arte.
Another two to three stores are expected to follow in cities including Boston and Los Angeles.
S. Kuhlman is known for its European-inspired men’s wear, which is a hybrid between sportswear and dresswear.