The Quality Shops celebrates 100 years in business

by | Nov 20, 2017 | Other News

Founded as a hat store in Portsmouth in 1917 by Morris H. Rapoport, The Quality Shops is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year as a family owned and operated business. And, let’s face it, in today’s retail climate, that is a major accomplishment.

Specializing in men’s clothing and sportswear, The Quality Shops is now owned and run by the founder’s grandsons, Reid and Steve Rapoport.

The original store opened in the 300 block of High Street in Portsmouth. A second location was added in 1963 in Downtown Norfolk, and then a third in Virginia Beach in 1993. Today, two locations provide high quality men’s clothing: one in the Ghent section of Norfolk at the Palace Shops, and another in the Hilltop East shopping center in Virginia Beach.

“My dad, Herman Rapoport, went to Duke, then served as a lieutenant in the Navy during WWII . After the war, he joined his father in the business,” says Steve Rapoport.

It was really no surprise, then, that Reid and Steve would eventually follow suit.

“I joined the business full time in 1971 when I finished college at Randolph Macon,” says Reid Rapoport. “I grew up with the business—helping in the store during summers and holidays—and talking about it around the dinner table.”

Not long after graduating from the University of Miami, Steve says, “The business drew me in. I had always been in the store as a child and teen, so it wasn’t strange for me go into it.”

The Rapoport brothers attribute their business success to a lifetime of business teachings based on personal service and a tradition of quality, distinctive merchandise.

And, fortunately for them, they are compatible partners. Reid handles most of the “back office” business details, while Steve does the buying, traveling primarily to New York to visit the showrooms.

“Steve is very talented. He has a good grasp on the market and what the customers like,” says Reid. “He has a good eye.”

“The retail business has seen a lot of changes over the years,” says Steve. “Dress is a lot more casual and there’s a lot more competition from the Internet and from discounters.”

And so, The Quality Shop has “transformed our mix and inventory,” notes Steve. “You’ve got to change with the times.”

While they still sell a lot of suits and sports coats, the men take a great deal of time when selecting merchandise to discover unique lines.

“Our objective is to be as diverse as possible,” says Steve. “We offer the whole package: great quality merchandise at appropriate price points, tailoring, and personal service.”

For example, the store keeps records of clients’ purchases—which come in handy when buying gifts or repeat items.

Not only is The Quality Shop marking this major milestone in business, the stores continue to dress Tidewater men with style and distinction.

Jewish News Staff