As seen on FB, I was shopping for a blazer the other week. I ended up buying one from J. Peterman on l-a's advice. I was just reading their company history, and it's mildly amusing.


The J. Peterman Company was founded in 1987 by John Peterman, an entrepreneur who was, among things, formerly a minor league baseball player. It took up the travel and safari theme originated by Banana Republic that was abandoned by them in 1989. The J. Peterman Company's first product was an original horseman’s duster, promoted with a small ad in The New Yorker. The company grew by offering distinctive lifestyle merchandise (including reproductions of antique clothing and clothing worn in specific films)

From 1995 to 1998, the most popular television series at the time, Seinfeld, parodied the owner and the company with Elaine Benes working at the catalog under eccentric businessman and world traveler J. Peterman, played by John O'Hurley.

In 1997, the company raised private equity to expand. The company opened up 10 retail stores in several markets, including New York, Detroit, and San Francisco. The stores were moderately successful but the growth was too fast for the company’s small operations. Despite $75 million in sales at its peak, the company was forced into bankruptcy in January 1999.

The company was purchased by Paul Harris Stores in 1999, without the future participation of Peterman. Paul Harris Stores went bankrupt in 2000. In 2001, Peterman repurchased the name and restarted The J. Peterman Company, with O'Hurley as an investor. Tim Peterman, one of the founder’s sons, left E. W. Scripps in 2008 to become president of the company. John Peterman became Chairman.