Kosins Celebrates 61 Years
In 1922, Max Kosins immi-
grated to this country from
Poland and settled in Detroit,
Michigan. In the old country,
Max had been a master tailor,
handy with chalk and tape
measure, and his dream was to
open a tailor shop where he
could nurture his talents and
present to an anxious, clothes-
conscious public, the handsome
fruits of his labors.
Seeking his great adventure,
Max explored every avenue that
would lead him to fulfill his
dream. And in 1926, in a small
back room of a store on
Griswold Street, Max opened a
tailoring and pressing shop
which soon became 'a small
men's clothing store and the
original Kosins Clothes location
The Kosins' reputation for
quality merchandise, personal
service, wonderful value, and, of
course, great fit grew and con-
tinued to flourish until soon the
little shop, the very first Back
Room, was the grand and fitting
fraternal meeting place for
clergymen, city elders, judges,
politicians, sports figures and
show business people.
MAX and his wife, Helen,
struggled fruitfully in their
happy little store and soon
Benny, their eldest son, and
Harry, the younger, were big
enough to help out, running
errands, making deliveries and
serving customers after school
and on weekends.
When the Great Depression
hit in 1929, it was a dreary,
debilitating time. On its darkest
day, Black Tuesday, more than
30 billion dollars were blown
away in a panic surge of selling.
Overnight, more than 12 million
people were unemployed.
THOUGH times were not
easy, the Kosins family weather-
ed those early years.
Harry Kosins exchanged his
gray pinstripe for solid khaki
when he suited up for the Army.
Harry returned from his tour of
duty in 1945, bearing the Silver
Star service medal he had been
awarded for his participation in
the Battle of the Bulge.
Helen and Ben in the mean-
time had been fighting their own
battles on the homefront: Max's
lingering illness and subsequent
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FRIDAY, OCT. 30, 1987
"Where Fit Is Foremost"
Max Kosins opened his original store on Griswold in 1926.
death in 1946; difficulty obtain-
ing the quality and quantity of
goods for their tailoring business
and a decrease in sales of non-
It was decided then that
Kosins Clothes had to have
more significance — had to
stand for something other than
just another men's clothing
"We had to find an identity,"
Harry explains. "At that time
fashion just didn't exist in men's
Kosins was going to set
In 1952, they introduced the
100 percent silk suit to the
American market. Two thou-
sand of them were sold in the
first year. In 1954, gabardine
suits in 11 colors were offered by
Kosins. Light blue, silver gray,
taupe, burgundy and toast were
the popular shades. In 1959,
when most styles were double-
breasted, they reintroduced
single-breasted suits and their
By 1966, buSiness was so good
at the original Kosins on Gris-
wold that the family broke
down three walls and enlarged
the now famous Back Room.
"It was a store within a store,"
Harry comments. "Bankers, auto
show people and all the athletes
In 1976-77, the downtown
Kosins store was at its peak in
sales — doing more business
than the traffic could bear. It
was during that time, following
the popular trend toward busi-
ness expansion, that Ben and
Harry decided to extend their
operation, and subsequently
moved into a 2,000-square-foot
suburban store in Lathrup
DURING the following years,
1978-79, with sales still booming,
the decision was made to move
into a larger, 9,000-square-foot,
store in the same area. That
move, of course, left a vacant
store. But not for long.
Ben and Harry hit on the idea
of opening a store completely
devoted to big and tall men with
apparel especially for larger and
taller sizes — big, tall and portly
clothes with fashion appeal.
"I realized that big and tall
men couldn't buy anything but
dumb clothes," Harry explains.
"At that time, manufacturers of
big and tall menswear didn't
make anything but dumb clothes.
So I dealt with my average-size
clothing manufacturers, suggest-
ing they also make garments to
our larger size specifications or I
wouldn't do business with them,"
Harry continues, "I wanted to
give big and tall men something
they couldn't get off the racks
then — like quality and fashion."
They acknowledge that there
is nothing magical about their
success, but they do believe a lot
of hard work, quality merchan-
dise (" . . . we never substitute
quality for anything," Harry
adds), good value and personal
service — plus that terrific
Kosins' fit — are the key factors
to Kosins' meteoric rise to fame.
_ "Ben is the financial genius.
I'm the fashion consultant,"
Harry said. "Ben never treads on
fashion. I never tread on
finance. And before her death,
our mom — bless her soul —
was the best referee we could
IN 1987, 61 years after Max
Kosins opened his little tailor
shop in a back room on
Griswold, the two Kosins' mens-
wear stores in Lathrup Village
are recognized as world-wide
leaders in men's fashion.