Rick Hindin on meeting Ralph Lauren in 1967 when he was selling ties made by a company called Beau Brummell ~
“He had one table, about a 200-square-foot room, and we walked in and we looked at his ties and they were incredible but they were expensive. So, I told Ralph, “Your ties are too expensive.” He said, “Well then you’re not the customer for my ties. . . we bought his ties and the rest is history. At one point in time, Britches was the third largest user of Ralph Lauren products in the country.”
Andy Ockershausen: This is Andy Ockershausen and this is Our Town. I am so really personally delighted to have the opportunity to spend at least the next half hour with one of my dearest, oldest friends. The man is absolutely a legend in Washington and Our Town, and, he started in Our Town. He’s born in Baltimore but he’s Our Town guy. He’s done so much for Our Town, but most of all what he did was bring a new enlightenment when he opened Britches. So welcome Rick Hindin. You’re much bigger than Britches to me.
Rick Hindin: Hi, Andy, how are you?
Andy Ockershausen: Do you realize …
Rick Hindin: Good to see you again.
Andy Ockershausen: Well, you know, I went to Brotman’s90th birthday yesterday.
Rick Hindin: Oh really?
Andy Ockershausen: Yeah. He’s got me by a year. I’m gonna do it next year though. You’ll be there, right?
Rick Hindin: I’ll be there.
Andy Ockershausen: Rick, I go back with you to the early ’60s. I thought it was with Larrabee, a local advertising agency of some importance at the time.
Rick Hindin: Right.
Andy Ockershausen: But, you say it isn’t.
Lewis & Dobrow – Advertising Agency
Rick Hindin: Well, Larrabee was owned by Larry Dobrow and I joined the firm after they merged with Allan Jack Lewis.
Andy Ockershausen: What was it called? I don’t recall.
Rick Hindin: Lewis and Dobrow.
Andy Ockershausen: That’s right, Lewis … and you had some automobile accounts as I recall.
Rick Hindin: We had a few. Ourisman Chevrolet was my biggest account.
Andy Ockershausen: You get your way with Ourisman Chevrolet. That yours?
Rick Hindin: Donor did that.
Andy Ockershausen: Oh, I got it.
Rick Hindin: Out of Baltimore.
Andy Ockershausen: Did you have the helicopter?
Rick Hindin: Ours was more exciting. Our slogan was, “Cars cost less at Ourisman Chevrolet.”
Andy Ockershausen: Yeah, that’s unheard of. Why do we have all this advertising now and nobody says that?
Rick Hindin: We were very creative in those days. Allan Jack Lewis, he went right to the jugular.
Andy Ockershausen: Well, and he was an advertising genius. He was also a writer of some importance.
Rick Hindin: Yeah, Allan . . . Jack wrote a play that was produced on Broadway.
Andy Ockershausen: Right. I remember you went up to New York for that.
Rick Hindin: I did. I did.
Andy Ockershausen: See, I know so much about you, Rick, being on the sidelines because at that time, WMAL was very important in this community and you were very important because you were growing. Everybody knew you were gonna go places. The next thing I know, you’re talking to me. You’ve got a slack shop on Wisconsin Avenue in Georgetown. I said, “Rick, what are you doing in the retail business?”
Rick Hindin: Georgetown Slack Shop opened in 1966.
Andy Ockershausen: And then you’ve got an idea to open a men’s clothing chain.
Georgetown Slack Shop and Britches of Georgetowne
Rick Hindin: We were so lucky. We did not know what we were doing, David Pensky and I. We were so . . . lucky. We opened the doors, we didn’t … we built the store ourselves. We didn’t even have enough merchandise to get through the day our first day. But, with the help of a lot of good friends, Stanley Smith, he was a dear friend of mine, and we opened. We did a lot of business.
Andy Ockershausen: You opened across the street from the Slack Shop, correct?
Rick Hindin: Then one year later, we opened up Britches.
Andy Ockershausen: Is that when? With all the …
Rick Hindin: Yeah.
Andy Ockershausen: I recall that opening and meeting a man, you said “This man is selling neckties but now he’s in the clothing business.” I said, “What a delightful”, and I had a chance to chat with him, and now, what is he, the world class maker of Americana?
Rick Hindin: You were talking about Ralph Lauren, yeah.
Andy Ockershausen: The Ralph Lauren.
On Meeting Ralph Lauren – Britches Brings Ralph Lauren to its Customers
Rick Hindin: Yeah, we met Ralph in 1967. He had a small office in the Empire State Building. He was selling ties made by a company called Beau Brummell. You remember that?
Andy Ockershausen: Yeah, absolutely, selling neckties.
Rick Hindin: He had one table, about a 200-square-foot room, and we walked in and we looked at his ties and they were incredible but they were expensive. So, I told Ralph, “Your ties are too expensive.” He said, “Well then you’re not the customer for my ties.”
Andy Ockershausen: He was way out in front wasn’t he?
Rick Hindin: Anyhow, we bought his ties and the rest is history. At one point in time, Britches was the third largest user of Ralph Lauren products in the country.
Andy Ockershausen: Ralph, but you know, Ralph became such an icon then, but when he was at Britches, he was just a sales guy for the most part, correct? With your relationship.
Rick Hindin: Well, no, no, Ralph … yeah, we were just carrying his ties.
Andy Ockershausen: That’s what I mean. He didn’t sell for you.
Rick Hindin: No, he didn’t sell for us.
Andy Ockershausen: But the name Britches sold and then this town got on fire and I was in that age group that really was looking for something special. You mention Lewis & Thomas Saltz and a Peldman and all that stuff. But, Britches brought the future to me, to Americana, to Georgetown.
Rick Hindin: Well, we had a good time. We were a bunch of young kids. We grew up together. We learned the business together. Everybody thought David and I knew what we were doing and we didn’t. But we were …
Andy Ockershausen: But your customers loved it.
Rick Hindin: We had a lot of great people that worked there, Danny Latham …
Andy Ockershausen: Danny Latham, right.
Rick Hindin: Who’s still my dear friend. I miss seeing him every day.
Andy Ockershausen: Wonderful guy.
Rick Hindin: But there were a hundred people; Jack Dubank.
Andy Ockershausen: I mean your customer base was who’s who in Washington at one time, correct?
Rick Hindin: Right.
Andy Ockershausen: And everybody felt so warm at Britches because the people were so great, like Saul, the tailor. He was part of Britches, you know? And then Ruth the seamstress. All of these people I knew personally from being in and out of the store, but they made the store so special.
Britches Great Outdoors and Britches for Women
Rick Hindin: It was like a family. That phrase may be over used but we literally all grew up together. We went through tsuris together. We got happy together. It was just …
Andy Ockershausen: Your warehouses and your movement, I went through all that with you. Alexandria and all the good years. Britches just kept growing and Britches … then the next thing, you’re in to women’s clothing.
Rick Hindin: Right. Right.
Andy Ockershausen: In Georgetown, right?
Rick Hindin: I loved women’s clothing, yeah. I think it’s so much more fun than men’s clothing. It’s just more interesting. But, we stayed in the women’s business for about five years and it was not doing as well as our other divisions. Great outdoors, Britches Great Outdoors.
Andy Ockershausen: Oh, that was something else. I loved that.
Rick Hindin: That was a big volume component of our business.
Andy Ockershausen: Well, the women that you were doing line was in that new shopping area that …
Rick Hindin: Georgetown.
Andy Ockershausen: … Miller building, right?
Rick Hindin: Georgetown Park.
Andy Ockershausen: Georgetown Park. That was strictly women’s clothing over there.
Rick Hindin: Correct. Right.
Andy Ockershausen: But the great, great rise of Britches led to other big things in Our Town. It led to you then becoming more or less national with your brand, is that not correct? Britches expanded.
Britches Market Expansion
Rick Hindin: We were in about nine or ten markets. We were in … Atlanta was our first market, then we moved to Dallas, then filled in with Richmond, Baltimore, Chicago, Boston.
Andy Ockershausen: It was THE thing. Britches was so important to the lives of Our Town and to the people in my generation, which was older than yours and David’s.
Rick Hindin: Right.
Andy Ockershausen: But, we all enjoyed so much the great feeling that Britches gave. The clothing was so special. I remember one time you use to brag about we never did any double knits. Was that an advertising campaign you did?
Rick Hindin: You have an amazing memory. Here was the …
Andy Ockershausen: I do.
Britches “Empty Hanger” Print Ad in the Washington Post – No Double Knits at Britches
Rick Hindin: Here was the headline. It was a full-page ad in the Washington Post with an empty hanger and the headline was, “Every knit suit at Britches must meet our uncompromising standards of quality.” And under the empty hanger it said, “That’s why we don’t have any.”
Andy Ockershausen: Again, this is one of the great advertising of all. It was a negative that proved a positive. It was really so well done it just set the market on fire.
Rick Hindin: Well, Larry Dobrow was a genius, was a creative genius. I worked for him for about six years.
Andy Ockershausen: In your early days of your advertising?
Rick Hindin: Before we opened the Slack Shop. Right. Yeah.
Andy Ockershausen: But the whole idea, I thought there was no double knits, always impressed me to the end because remember the … I remember the double knit craze and the collars and the nehru suits. You never got in to that.
Rick Hindin: No. Never any of that. The knit suit was reported to be the biggest change in menswear history in our lifetime. It just was a shitty product. If you got a cigarette ash on it, it burned up. Or, if you caught it on a door, it just pulled the whole … it was just … men liked it because it was comfortable. You didn’t have to iron it.
Andy Ockershausen: Correct, yeah, but in the summertime it was just terrible, double knit. It didn’t breathe. It was a mess, Rick. You all never got in to it. But, some of the things you did get in to, I remember you were the clothier to the Redskin’s hierarchy with some of the … some of what we went through with George Allen and his jackets. I looked at your jacket and it reminded me, remember the jackets you had for the guys?
Clothing For Life
Rick Hindin: I went to see George Allen. I called him up and I said, “Coach Allen, can I come see you?” He said, “Sure. What do you want?” I said, “I want to design the quintessential coaching coat and I want your help and I’ll give you and your coaching staff all the coats for free. I only want one thing in return. I want a picture of you wearing the coat in inclement weather.” Our advertising byline was clothing for life.
Andy Ockershausen: Absolutely.
Rick Hindin: And so, it started fine clothiers since 1967 in 1967.
Andy Ockershausen: I remember that vividly. That’s what it went over, another negative that proved a positive.
Rick Hindin: That wasn’t a negative.
Andy Ockershausen: And it was.
Rick Hindin: That was a positive.
Andy Ockershausen: We’re not very old. It said to me you’re new.
Rick Hindin: Now, everybody laughed at me when I put that slogan out on our brass plaque sign. But, what I told our employees, we were putting the stake in the ground. We were gonna be fine clothiers since the day we opened. That’s really what it meant but people laughed at it because it was …
Andy Ockershausen: But I loved it.
Rick Hindin: … 1967.
Andy Ockershausen: It was in the label. I remember it was inside of my coat.
Custom Coaching Coats for Washington Redskins’ Coach George Allen and Staff
Rick Hindin: But anyhow, I go out to the Marriott Hotel where the airport is out in Dulles and George is watching cartoons on the TV.
Andy Ockershausen: Nothing surprises me.
Rick Hindin: And so I go in and I explain to him, “We’re gonna make the coat. We’re going to give it to you. We’re going to give it to your coaches. It’s got clipboards, place for the wires.”
Andy Ockershausen: Oh, it was amazing.
Rick Hindin: Hoods and linings and pockets. It was a great coat. Well, he wore the coat the first … the first time he wore the coat was on Monday Night Football.
Andy Ockershausen: Wow!
Rick Hindin: Against St. Louis Cardinals, they were in St. Louis.
Andy Ockershausen: Oh yeah.
Rick Hindin: And, they lost the game on national TV. He refused to wear the coat ever again after that.
Andy Ockershausen: He was very superstitious.
Rick Hindin: So I said to him, I said, “George, look.” He said, “What else can I do for you?” I said, “I don’t want anything else. I just want my picture.” He said, “I cannot wear that coat.” Remember Etty?
Andy Ockershausen: Etty, his wife, absolutely.
Rick Hindin: Sure. So, out of that negative, as you like to say, became a positive. We established a relationship of trust. Truth is, I was one of the few people in town George trusted because I didn’t want anything from him.
Andy Ockershausen: Right, that’s unusual.
Rick Hindin and Coach Allen Bond
Rick Hindin: That was over. He wanted a lot from us.
Andy Ockershausen: No, he always had his hand out.
Rick Hindin: Oh, he was great. He was brilliant. He was great.
Andy Ockershausen: Those were the great years too of the Redskins and Our Town was on fire with football, with George and what was going on.
Rick Hindin: George was an amazing coach. I remember whenever Edward Bennett Williams fired him. What happened was George agreed publicly to the contract, but he never signed it.
Andy Ockershausen: That’s typical.
Rick Hindin: Yeah, so he waited and waited. He exceeded every bit of Williams’ largest unlimited contract, George exceeded it. Remember that?
Andy Ockershausen: Yeah, exactly. He spent more money than he ever should have.
Rick Hindin: Right, traded away draft choices he didn’t have. He was the greatest. He was the greatest.
Andy Ockershausen: Well, Rick, you know so much about it, it was all a big part in Our Town but something you did for Our Town, a lot of people probably don’t remember, you’re fortunate you’ve got me because I remember these things, and I’ll be right back. We’re gonna talk about, excuse me, The America’s Cup. This Andy Ockershausen. This is Our Town.
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Announcer: Our Town with Andy Ockershausen.
Andy Ockershausen: This is Our Town. This is Andy Ockershausen. Having a great conversation with Rick Hindin, who’s made such an imprint on Our Town, but more than that, he made an imprint with the Washington Redskin’s head coach. Before we get to the America’s Cup, you and George had a unique relationship. I know that.
More Coach Allen Stories
Rick Hindin: Right. I remember one time he came out to the office to have lunch with me and we brought in about 12 of the management and executive team. He was giving one of his classic, “You lose, you die. You win, you live” kind of speeches. Then, he picks … he always wanted a grapefruit. So, he picked up this grapefruit half and he squeezed it in his hand and let the juice go into a cup and he said, “This is what I’m gonna do to Dallas. I’m gonna squeeze ’em and get all the juice out of ’em.” True story.
Andy Ockershausen: No, but that’s him, though, right? He used it to beat Dallas and everything that he did, he was always uptight and ready to go with it and with Etty and I knew the kids, and then of course George and now Bruce, but they were kids with the old man. George always had his hand out as you know.
Rick Hindin: Right. Right.
Andy Ockershausen: But, he did it in such a fine style. He did repay you too. He took good care of WMAL. We had a great relationship. We had a guy that worked for us, you’ll remember, named Ken Beatrice, and he would talk to George, but he wouldn’t let George off the hook. So, George said, “I’m not talking to him anymore because he’s different.”
But Rick, how many people in Washington remember the fact that you were the clothier for the America’s Cup?
Rick Hindin: Well, probably nobody.
Andy Ockershausen: Yes, we do. I’ll never forget it. I thought that was so great for Our Town.
Rick Hindin: Well, those were the days when you didn’t have to pay big fees to participate.
Andy Ockershausen: Right.
Britches, Ted Turner and the America’s Cup
Rick Hindin: So, we contacted the America’s Cup and bottom line was we outfitted the crew and Ted Turner of the America’s Cup. That was the year they won.
Andy Ockershausen: That was Ted Turner’s big year, wasn’t it?
Rick Hindin: That was Ted Turner’s big year. He was a crazy …
Andy Ockershausen: A unique individual, right?
Rick Hindin: Well, anyhow, the great story about that was in return for giving them all the clothing and the gear for the men sailing the boat, we again requested photography, clothing for life shots with the guys in the boat. Ted Turner, he wouldn’t show up. He didn’t show up. So, my partner, David Pensky, calls him up on the phone and says, “We’re shooting pictures in five minutes. If you’re not here, we’re shooting without you.” And don’t you know, the … I’m trying to think of the right word, I know what word I want to use, but he comes walking down the hill and said, “Don’t take those pictures without me”, and he was drunk all the time.
Andy Ockershausen: Yeah, you told me that.
Rick Hindin: He was drunk all the time. It was incredible.
Andy Ockershausen: But a successful man.
Rick Hindin: But we used all the pictures … oh, he is brilliant and he’s beyond belief brilliant.
Andy Ockershausen: But that was brilliant of you and David to do this with the America’s Cup, which you don’t … well, you don’t have a way to promote it anymore. There’s no more Britches store but I think that’ll live forever. America won the America’s Cup with Ted Turner drunk most of the time, but they won, and he fell in the water when he fell of the boat drinking champagne and all that. But, so what led you back, and so successful, really the leading clothier in these major cities, what led you back to go into advertising?
Rick Hindin: Well, I started in advertising.
Andy Ockershausen: Who don’t know that?
Conglomerate CML Buys Britches
Rick Hindin: And, then after Britches was sold, we sold the company in 1983.
Andy Ockershausen: To a Boston company, correct?
Rick Hindin: To a New York Stock Exchange guy, a conglomerate company called CML. They were rolling up companies, but they weren’t rolling up like kind companies. They were rolling up different … companies that sold different products but sold to the same target market. So, it was Boston Whaler, NordicTrack, Carol Reed, Nature Company.
Andy Ockershausen: All labels.
Rick Hindin: Smith and Hawkins. They rolled all these companies up and went public. They needed our sales and earnings to actually go public. We were their final deal. So, we had about 28 stores when we sold. Five years later when the agreement ended, we had 110 stores.
Andy Ockershausen: Wow!
Rick Hindin: Yeah, yeah. And …
Andy Ockershausen: You just grew too big, that sounds like a familiar theme, doesn’t it?
Rick Hindin: No, we were great. Our bottom line profits were …
Andy Ockershausen: Well, that’s why you made all the money. They bought you for a lot of money, correct?
Rick Hindin: They did.
Andy Ockershausen: And the company eventually … the name and the stores …
It’s All About the Training, Stupid – The Decline of Britches
Rick Hindin: Actually what happened was I left the company. I’d signed up to run the company for another five years, but they decided to change the way we were doing things to become more profitable. So, the first thing they did was cut out our training program.
Andy Ockershausen: And that was something universal. That was … the way you made these people sell. I lived through it with you.
Rick Hindin: They wanted to sell. They loved to sell.
Andy Ockershausen: Absolutely.
Rick Hindin: The training was in their enlightened self interest. So here’s what happened. We were doing 110 million dollars and we were spending a million two on training. They cut it to 200,000. Now, we promoted a 100 percent from within for management, for store management.
Andy Ockershausen: You grew your managers.
Rick Hindin: Right. And I signed another contract to take the company to 250 million but they cut the program that would make that possible. So, I left and the rest is history. The company actually went …
Andy Ockershausen: The company wobbled and then quit.
Rick Hindin: They sold the company for a third of what they paid us two years later and then they went ahead … the company went out of business two years after that.
Andy Ockershausen: So Britches was such a big, big, big thing in Our Town and so important to so many people and so forth. It was really sad to see the demise of Britches, but I was happy to see the emergence of Rick Hindin as an advertising man at something called Adworks. I don’t know what it was.
Mark Greenspun and Adworks – Growing a New Business
Rick Hindin: Well, I had met a great creative guy along the way called Mark Greenspun. Mark was a genius, I mean in every sense of the word. He wrote music, he flew a plane. He was a systems program …
Andy Ockershausen: Very, very, very, very competent man. I knew that. Mark was great guy.
Rick Hindin: Systems programmer for IBM, a stringer for Reuters I think. Mark was an amazing guy.
Andy Ockershausen: And unique.
Rick Hindin: Very, and he had a small creative boutique.
Andy Ockershausen: In Georgetown.
Rick Hindin: In Georgetown. You have some memory.
Andy Ockershausen: Oh, because Georgetown is such a big part of your life.
Rick Hindin: And …
Andy Ockershausen: And mine.
Rick Hindin: You’re right.
Andy Ockershausen: And Our Town.
Rick Hindin: So, long story short, Mark gave me 25 percent of the business to help him grow it and I said, “Okay, I’ll take 25. I’ll help you grow it, but I’ll always want the option to buy another 25 if I decide to come in to the business.” Well, when I left Britches, I called him up, I said, “Mark …
Andy Ockershausen: I’m ready.
Rick Hindin: … you doing anything tomorrow because I’m moving in?” The boutique was doing about three million in billing. It was a small agency. We grew that business to 80 million dollars …
Andy Ockershausen: That was incredible.
Rick Hindin: … in about four years. Yeah.
Andy Ockershausen: And the first time I met you as a partnership, you all had a boat trip or something on the river and you invited me and a lot of advertising people to go. I said, “Rick, your partner is a little nutsy isn’t he?”
Rick Hindin: Yeah. Mark had a huge Bertram. He had this big boat and I think it was 80 feet, 90 feet long.
Andy Ockershausen: Yeah, a very expensive boat, a Bertram.
Rick Hindin: Oh yeah.
Andy Ockershausen: Custom boat.
Rick Hindin: And so we use to take clients out on the boat. We liked to do it on 4th of July so they could see the fireworks.
Andy Ockershausen: Those are the heydays of Georgetown, and then they opened Charley’s and they opened the things … you know one of the persons that we’re talking to, is going to be a guest on the show is a man who now owns Blues Alley, because Blues … it was Georgetown and Britches and Blues Alley.
Rick Hindin: Who’s that?
Andy Ockershausen: I can’t remember his name. Do you remember his name?
Janice Iacona Ockershausen: I think it was Kipinger.
Andy Ockershausen: Cleavenger?
Janice Iacona Ockershausen: I think it’s Kipinger.
Rick Hindin: Because I think Sam L’Hommedieu use to own that.
Andy Ockershausen: Sammy did, right.
Rick Hindin: Yeah.
Andy Ockershausen: He also owned the place across the street, L’Hommedieu. He died. I knew Sammy very well. But Rick, in all this years in ad … is it called Adworks?
Rick Hindin: Adworks.
Andy Ockershausen: And it grew and grew and grew and you moved to several places I’ve visited you, but it was always a successful business.
Rick Hindin: Right.
Andy Ockershausen: But then you got out of the advertising. You built that big mansion up on Heights, overlooking the river.
Rick Hindin: It wasn’t a big mansion.
Andy Ockershausen: Yes it was.
House on the Hill – Chainbridge Road – Andy Warner
Rick Hindin: It started out small. We just kept adding to it. It was on Chainbridge Road on the river.
Andy Ockershausen: I can recall. And Janice knows that because we’ve talked about it. Andy Warner did a lot of work for you up there.
Rick Hindin: Oh, I loved Andy Warner. She’s a sweetheart.
Andy Ockershausen: She’s a wonderful girl. We’re in touch with her a lot. She’s . . .
Rick Hindin: Tell her I said hi.
Andy Ockershausen: I will Rick. But, you touched so many people’s lives in Our Town. It was great. You know, in your advertising world, you touched so many people. Now, didn’t you do a … who did the advertising for Clyde’s? You had something with Clyde’s Beer I remember you were doing a commercial at one time.
The Latham Brothers and Clyde’s
Rick Hindin: We did ads together, Clyde’s and I because Danny Latham was our first employee.
Andy Ockershausen: Right, he’s . . .
Rick Hindin: John Latham, who started out as a bartender, part-time bartender at Clyde’s, he ended up … first thing he did was create the Atrium. Do you remember the Atrium at Clyde’s?
Andy Ockershausen: Oh yeah. Oh yeah.
Rick Hindin: He sort of revolutionized the restaurant business in this town.
Andy Ockershausen: He sure did, Rick.
Rick Hindin: He’s an outright genius.
Andy Ockershausen: Now he’s not well, and that’s very sad.
Rick Hindin: He’s doing okay.
Andy Ockershausen: Oh, I’m so glad to hear that. I saw him at Christmas time and the Latham brothers were … and Danny Latham was a very dear friend through you and through the business. He did so much for me and for my people. Remember Alex Shaftel? All of us growing up together. Those were the days, Rick Hi.
Rick Hindin: I remember you and Alex coming to the agency and a guy name Art Lamb was there. Do you remember Art?
Andy Ockershausen: Oh I remember him so well.
Rick Hindin: And you guys just made a wreck of the whole agency. You guys walked through, it was fun.
Andy Ockershausen: And it was fun and Art Lamb was one of the originals in television in Our Town.
Rick Hindin: That’s right. That’s right.
Andy Ockershausen: He was Our Town. But we’re gonna be right back and keep talking. We’re gonna take a break here, Rick, to pay for this. I don’t know how we’re gonna do it but we’ll think of something. This is Our Town with Andy Ockershausen with Rick Hindin.
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Announcer: You’re listening to Our Town with Andy Ockershausen, brought to you by Best Mark Communications.
Andy Ockershausen: This is Our Town, Andy Ockershausen. We’re chatting with Rick Hindin who I know so much about. He’s been such a big part of my life and I’ve been a part of his life, whether he knows it or not, because I was there for so many things that he did, and his warehouses and his people. They were all so important to Our Town. Thinking about your son, Lee. I remember him when he was a baby, when he was born. I know all about your marriages and I know all about you.
But Rick, I mean this is Our Town. It’s what happens to us and it’s what we lived through and to hear you talk about the things you have accomplished there is amazing. And then, you went in to the food business, which everybody said that’ll fail. It can’t work, and everybody was wrong. It worked, Rick.
Chicken Out Rotisserie
Rick Hindin: It worked for a while. It was good. We ran the company until we sold it. It expanded too rapidly and …
Andy Ockershausen: That’s Chicken Out that grew too fast. That’s possible. It grew fast. I think the same thing happened with the guy that’s Elon Musk with his business. He growing so fast he’s too big.
Rick Hindin: Yeah, but I’m not gonna worry about Elon Musk.
Andy Ockershausen: You’re bigger to me than Elon Musk.
Rick Hindin: Oh sure.
Andy Ockershausen: Well you are to me. Building that big house up on the river and when you moved to Shady Grove Road, when you moved I said, “I can’t believe a downtown Georgetown guy is in Rockville on Shady Grove Road.” That’s not you, Rick.
Rick Hindin: Well, you have to go where the business was. But anyhow.
Andy Ockershausen: Downstairs too.
Rick Hindin: Right.
Andy Ockershausen: But that was not you in Georgetown, I mean in Shady Grove. You are a Georgetown guy. You’re that Washington advertising guy. You’re Pennsylvania Avenue. You’re right back downtown. That’s where you should never have left but that’s me.
Rick Hindin: Okay. But we did.
Andy Ockershausen: And it was …
Rick Hindin: You’re obviously right.
Andy Ockershausen: Well, it was a wonderful, wonderful experience Chicken Out. I have never seen better quality and better food. Your competitor was Boston Chicken and they went bottoms up, didn’t they?
Rick Hindin: No, they moved from … whenever we went in to an area, they moved. That part’s true.
Andy Ockershausen: Your product was so much better.
Rick Hindin: Right.
Andy Ockershausen: It was quality, Rick. It’s the same thing you did in the clothing business. And then, here again, I hear about Rick Hindin and talk to you and see you and people that know you and love you over the years like Bill Regardie, I don’t know whether he ever wore …
Rick Hindin: I see Bill from time to time.
Andy Ockershausen: He always looked bad so it wasn’t your clothing, but all that generation of people were Britches fans and Rick Hindin fans, and rightly so.
Rick Hindin: Thank you.
Andy Ockershausen: What would propel you then to go back in to the clothing business?
Britches Bespoke Custom Clothing New York
Rick Hindin: Well, a year and a half ago, I purchased the trademarks and intellectual property from the folks for Britches of Georgetowne and Britches Great Outdoors from the folks who took the company bankrupt. We are in the midst of launching Britches Bespoke in New York, which will be custom tailoring. The operation is gonna be run by Mark Rykken. Do you remember Mark Rykken?
Andy Ockershausen: I remember the name.
Rick Hindin: Oh, he was one of our key salesmen. Mark Rykken left to open the Paul Stuart store in Chicago after I left. Then, he was partners with Alan Flusser. Alan Flusser did the clothing. He’s a clothing industry icon.
Andy Ockershausen: I know Flusser.
Rick Hindin: He did the clothing for Wall Street with Michael Douglas. That was all Alan Flusser’s clothing. Then, Mark went back to Paul Stuart and headed up their custom clothing department. Then, Mark left Paul Stuart because he wants to open up Britches Bespoke in New York. So, we’re in the process of doing that.
Andy Ockershausen: Will it be a retail business in New York?
Rick Hindin: It will be all custom clothing. Andy Ockershausen: I got you.
Rick Hindin: Custom and made to measure clothing, shirts and ties, outerwear, belts, everything where a gentleman needs a custom made product or wants one, Mark will make for them.
Andy Ockershausen: And it’ll be a Georgetown Britches product?
Rick Hindin: It’ll be Britches Bespoke.
Andy Ockershausen: No Georgetown name, huh?
Rick Hindin: Well, not initially.
Andy Ockershausen: You know what I mean?
Rick Hindin: Yeah.
Andy Ockershausen: To me, that was an important part of your success, was Georgetown, of course. And, this is gonna be expanded? Obviously you can’t live in just New York.
Rick Hindin: No, we’re gonna open in Washington six months later and then we have interest from Atlanta and Dallas.
Andy Ockershausen: Right.
Rick Hindin: So we’re gonna go in to markets where we had our brand identity in the first place.
Andy Ockershausen: And you had success in those markets?
Rick Hindin: And we had success in all those markets.
Andy Ockershausen: You got too big. That’s what happened.
Rick Hindin: Britches never got too big.
Andy Ockershausen: It didn’t?
Rick Hindin: No. No, Britches was … we were a Harvard case study on retail.
Andy Ockershausen: I remember that.
Britches Unique Training Program – Lester S. “Casey” Willson
Rick Hindin: I mean we were … until the company was sold, it was moving forward on all cylinders, doing great.
Andy Ockershausen: Well, your training and your program that you did was unique at that time to that size store, right? You were a boutique store.
Rick Hindin: Well, what we did was we hired a gentleman named Casey Willson, that was Marc Willson’s brother. Marc Willson was a regional manager. Casey was a professor at James Madison University and he knew all about the clothing business and I encouraged him to join us, which he did. He wrote the curriculum for the Britches training program, way ahead of its time when we did it. I mean everybody had some degree of training but nobody … and the training program went to every level of the company, from the guy who did stock work to the guy who …
Andy Ockershausen: The stacker.
Rick Hindin: … ran … the guy who ran merchandise. So, everybody was receiving the same message. When CML chopped the head off that program, the company changed.
Andy Ockershausen: It’s all about money. They were saving money.
Rick Hindin: Yeah, they were going for next quarter earnings.
Andy Ockershausen: That happens to a lot of businesses, Rick, not just yours.
Rick Hindin: Right.
Andy Ockershausen: But of all the things you’re doing now, you’re not designing the clothing. You’re gonna have designers work for you, right?
Britches, Britches Bepoke and Britches Online – “Wait for it. . .”
Rick Hindin: We have a full team assembled who … because Britches Bespoke, which is our first phase of bringing the product back, bringing the brand back, we hope what will follow that is Britches Online a year later. We have a novel approach to going online.
Andy Ockershausen: I’m sure. And what is it … do you have any relationship left? One of the times in the early days of Britches, I met a guy in your store that was part of your team, but he went on and opened … he was a decorator, a window decorator or something.
Rick Hindin: You talking about Paul Hinton? Oh, Stephen Brady.
Andy Ockershausen: I met him and I also met the other guy that opened his own business in New York now, he’s so famous.
Janice Iacona Ockershausen: Tommy Hilfiger?
Andy Ockershausen: Hilfiger.
Rick Hindin: No, no. I never did much with …
Andy Ockershausen: He was a decorator.
Rick Hindin: No, no, you’re talking … I think you’re talking about Stephen Boyd Brady.
Andy Ockershausen: Right.
Savant Stephen Boyd Brady
Rick Hindin: Stephen Boyd Brady was 17 years old when I met him. I walked in to the Tyson’s Cornerstone and someone had rearranged all of the colognes behind the counter, so I said, “Who did that”, and this shy little guy raised his hand and said, “I did. Am I in trouble?” I said, “No”, I said … long story short, I asked him to go do all the other stores the same way. Then, he asked if he could do the windows and I don’t know if you remember …
Andy Ockershausen: That’s it.
Rick Hindin: … our windows, but they were …
Andy Ockershausen: Special. Absolutely.
Rick Hindin: Because of him. Today’s … then Stephen Brady went to Bloomingdale’s. Marvin Traub stole him away from me. He didn’t like that. He came back to us. Then Ralph stole him, Ralph Lauren. And, Stephen Brady and Ralph Lauren did the mansion on Madison Avenue.
Andy Ockershausen: That’s the one. Yeah, that’s the guy you’re talking about. I met him at your store when he was just a little guy.
Rick Hindin: Well, Stephen Brady is now an Executive Vice President with the Gap Corporation. He’s like in the top ten executives, and he does the flagship stores for Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, and Authentica.
Andy Ockershausen: And it all started in your store in the suburbs redoing a countertop, huh?
Rick Hindin: Yep.
Andy Ockershausen: A window. Well, Rick, that’s a great story, but he got something out of Britches and he carries it still.
Rick Hindin: No, he gave stuff to Britches. He was a savant.
Andy Ockershausen: Right.
Rick Hindin: He was just … no training. I mean the things he’s done, the houses he’s decorated, he’s just … and Stephen is back involved with Britches and Britches Bespoke.
Andy Ockershausen: Okay, great.
Rick Hindin: And Britches Online.
Andy Ockershausen: Well, I would assume when that name and that word gets out, a lot of the old people are gonna start gathering around, saying, “What can we do to help” or whatever. Several of the things I remember your Christmas parties. It’s the first time I was ever in a Clyde’s was one of your big parties. You had them from after the years when you grew to the point.
Britches Clothier of Presidents
Rick Hindin: Yeah.
Andy Ockershausen: And Saul, the tailor, who was President Clinton’s buddy, I know that.
Rick Hindin: He was. And Gerald Ford.
Andy Ockershausen: And Gerald Ford. I mean that’s unique. Here’s a local Georgetown clothing store where the President of the United States sends his clothes to get altered.
Rick Hindin: Well, they bought stuff from us.
Andy Ockershausen: I know they did. He was a customer, both of ’em.
Rick Hindin: Right.
Andy Ockershausen: Well, Rick, all of these memories have been so great. I mean there’s so many more things I can think about about you that are unique and you’re a unique man. You’re going strong now.
Hindin on Life Being Different
Rick Hindin: You know, life is different. You go through your ups and downs. You reach a point in life where you know what you know.
Andy Ockershausen: Absolutely.
Rick Hindin: You’ve learned what you’ve learned and so you just … it’s a period where you can enjoy life more even though it’s not as good as you’d like it, if you know what I mean.
Andy Ockershausen: Yeah, but Rick, you’ve got your health.
Rick Hindin: I do. I do.
Andy Ockershausen: I mean you’re looking great and feeling good obviously. You’re still a fighter. You’re still a sparker. I don’t see you around town as much but I guess I don’t get around town as much as I use to. The old days of Dukes are …
Rick Hindin: Well, you’re not coming unless I’m buying. That’s the way that works.
Andy Ockershausen: Well, you got that. And also, nobody’s taking care of me like you did. I had more due bills with Britches than I did with myself. It was just so great because it was important, but I gave something to the store and it was me and that helped. I use to … every chance I’d get I would promote Britches, not for you but for me. It meant so much to me to see this thing become a success.
Rick Hindin: That’s very nice.
Andy Ockershausen: I lived through it with you and with David.
Rick Hindin: Yeah, it was a great time.
Andy Ockershausen: And your partnership was unique. The operation was unique. Those days are gone but maybe we’ll bring ’em back. Look at me, I thought I was a dead duck, WMAL was a dead duck. Janice saved my life. She reinvented me and reinvented me as an opportunity to do Our Town.
Our Town Interviews
Rick Hindin: I think it’s fabulous. I think it’s great.
Andy Ockershausen: Well, we saved …
Rick Hindin: Good job.
Janice Iacona Ockershausen: Thank you.
Andy Ockershausen: With 150 people …
Rick Hindin: Look how good he’s doing. Look how good he’s doing.
Janice Iacona Ockershausen: Yeah.
Andy Ockershausen: I haven’t started yet, Rick. I mean to have these people come back that … like Mark Russell, we brought … and he was so happy to have this opportunity to talk.
Rick Hindin: He is the best.
Andy Ockershausen: What fun we have with people. You know, we always … I . . . is still not alive, but he’s not. But, so many people that you know and I … who’s our lawyer friend that’s on WMAL in the morning? I think he was a Britches customer.
Ken Hunter: Mike.
Janice Iacona Ockershausen: Mike Collins?
Andy Ockershausen: No, no, the …
Janice Iacona Ockershausen: Rick Edelman
Andy Ockershausen: No. I tell you, they weren’t good enough for Britches, but Georgetown was alive then with the Redskins, with what was going on in Our Town. I don’t think it can ever come back, Rick. I don’t know.
Rick Hindin: Georgetown?
Andy Ockershausen: Oh Georgetown’s back.
Rick Hindin: Georgetown’s doing great. This gal that runs the Georgetowner, Sonya Bernhardt, have you had her on?
Janice Iacona Ockershausen: No, but we know Sonya.
Rick Hindin: Sonya is …
Andy Ockershausen: Janice done some work ..
Rick Hindin: … fabulous.
Andy Ockershausen: She is something else. You’re right.
Rick Hindin: She’s doing amazing things. And of course Ginger Latham did so much for Georgetown over the years.
Andy Ockershausen: What a sweetheart. I see Ginger.
Rick Hindin: She was incredible.
Andy Ockershausen: She’s still a great gal and all those people are.
Rick Hindin: And Paul Cohen, have you had Paul on?
Andy Ockershausen: You know, we were with him and his wife at a wedding with John Kennedy, how about that?
Janice Iacona Ockershausen: Yeah, and that was in …
Andy Ockershausen: Martha’s Vineyard.
Janice Iacona Ockershausen: Martha’s Vineyard.
Andy Ockershausen: If only the first Jew ever to get married at the Edgartown Yacht Club. It was unique and we were there. And, she was there … or he was there, Paul was, his wife was a doctor.
Rick Hindin: All those people were so instrumental in building Georgetown. I mean they were just great. Ginger Latham, the things she did. All those flowers up and down the street you see, and the lights at Christmastime, that’s all the effort of Ginger Latham.
Andy Ockershausen: How about Sherrie Sandy, what did she have to do with it?
Rick Hindin: Sherrie was a director of the Georgetown Business Association, which I started.
Andy Ockershausen: I know you did. And Nate did … I remember the decorating. They did barrels one year. We still get a Christmas card from her. Do you?
Rick Hindin: Yeah, sure.
Andy Ockershausen: From Sherrie. She never forgets. And, those kids have grown up before our very eyes. But, those people made … who were the clothing guys that had the name … his two sons were the name of the clothing. Was it Richard Sam or Sam Richard? He had the clothing business. He’s had two boys and that was the name of his store. Anyway, you see what happened to that Latham Hotel?
Rick Hindin: Yeah.
Andy Ockershausen: It’s all a gut now. They gutted it and tearing it down, Janny. Janice is in Georgetown. She’s got her office 29th and M with the old bank. It’s a PNC bank know, isn’t it Janny?
Janice Iacona Ockershausen: No, Wells Fargo.
Andy Ockershausen: Is it Wells Fargo? Bud Dogit’s place.
Rick Hindin: Oh yeah, there was a character.
Andy Ockershausen: Oh, the best. He did so much for Georgetown.
Rick Hindin: He did a lot for it. He was amazing. He was just …
Andy Ockershausen: And you know, he was a …
Rick Hindin: Jim Weaver.
Andy Ockershausen: Oh, Jim Weaver, the hardware man.
Rick Hindin: Yeah, we could go on forever. His sons still run the business.
Andy Ockershausen: Is that right? Well, you know, he is close to Willard Scott.
Rick Hindin: I know.
Andy Ockershausen: And so was his wife. I understand that Willard’s health is not very good now.
Rick Hindin: Oh, I’m sorry to hear that.
Andy Ockershausen: The last time we saw him, it wasn’t good, but anyway, Rick, there’s so much … we could keep talking here for another hour about things that you probably don’t want to talk about but I’ll go through ’em with you. It’s so great to visit and to talk to you. These thoughts come to mind of so many of the great things that were important to you and to me and to Georgetown and to Britches and Our Town will never be the same. But, it will be because you’re coming back.
Rick Hindin: Well, we’re giving it a whirl.
Andy Ockershausen: I’m giving it a … I’m making a comeback. I don’t know what I’m coming back as but I’m coming back. I have no plan to leave. This has been Our Town and the conversation with Rick Hindin brings up so many memories. Rick, you look great and keep that spirit up, baby. Go back in to business and do it again. You’ve done it twice now that I know. You did it with Britches, you did it with Chicken Out. No reason you can’t do it a third time.
Rick Hindin: Yeah, and Adworks. Adworks.
Janice Iacona Ockershausen: And Ad Works.
Andy Ockershausen: Adworks, but Adworks was Mark … that was your partner. He was the genius in the deal.
Rick Hindin: Well, he was. He was.
Andy Ockershausen: I mean you advertised a can of beer.
Rick Hindin: See, that’s how you do it.
Andy Ockershausen: You advertised beer, remember that?
Clyde’s Chili Six-Pack – A Big Hit Back in the Day
Rick Hindin: Oh sure. Remember, we had Clyde’s Chili in a six-pack …
Andy Ockershausen: Yes, you did.
Rick Hindin: … cans of Clyde’s Chili? One year, we sold 300,000 cans of that chili over the catalog. It was amazing.
Andy Ockershausen: Really, in a can of Clyde’s Chili.
Rick Hindin: Sold ’em in a six-pack.
Andy Ockershausen: It was great, Rick. Well, what was the Latham’s partner’s name that started …
Rick Hindin: Stuart Davidson.
Andy Ockershausen: Stuart Davidson went to college with the president of ABC Radio, my friend, so he put me together with Stuart and we knew each other over the years. And, Stuart was one of the more unique characters I ever met. But, I think he said the best food he ever had in his life was a truck stop somewhere around Orlando where he had breakfast, was the best food he ever had in his life.
Rick Hindin: Yeah, Stuart was eccentric. That’s what we called it.
Andy Ockershausen: But his family had dough.
Rick Hindin: They were from the National Cash Register family.
Andy Ockershausen: But he was just a plain guy. I mean he just was a good guy.
Rick Hindin: Well, he went to Harvard. He was very bright.
Andy Ockershausen: That’s where he and my friend, Bob . . .
Rick Hindin: He just …
Andy Ockershausen: A Harvard guy.
Rick Hindin: He was wired differently than anybody else you ever met in your life. He just was a different kind of guy.
Andy Ockershausen: Some of your employees, I remember the President of ABC Television was a waiter at Britches when he went to Georgetown, Tony Thomopoulos. That name is lost now but he worked at … he worked at Clyde’s.
Rick Hindin: Well, there was a million guys at Clyde’s. They were just great.
Andy Ockershausen: They took care of their people and they grew.
Rick Hindin: Oh, they were the best. They were the best.
Andy Ockershausen: But, you’re the best. Well, this has been a wonderful conversation, Rick Hindin, and we certainly look forward to all of the things you’re gonna do. If you’ll keep us informed, we have a platform now that we never had before, that Janice has invented.
Rick Hindin: Thank God for Janice.
Andy Ockershausen: I thank … I say it every morning of my life, thank God for Janice and thank God for life because it sure has been great, hasn’t it, Rick?
Rick Hindin: How’s your son?
Andy Ockershausen: Oh boy, remember my son was clothed by Britches as a young guy. He had the best looking clothes in school at St. … he had to wear a coat and tie every day. We started at The Slack Shop and he’s now married of course, they live in Arizona and he has grandson’s married. His son is a genius. We’ve just been so fortunate.
Rick Hindin: What’s he doing?
Andy Ockershausen: He retired. He had the motorcycle business, made enough money to sell the business.
Rick Hindin: How old is he? He’s got to be like 50, 48, 50?
Andy Ockershausen: How about 59?
Rick Hindin: . . .
Andy Ockershausen: The baby. You remember him as a baby.
Rick Hindin: I can’t believe that. That is … that blows me away.
Andy Ockershausen: It happens, baby. It happened. We’re gonna see him next week. We’re going to Arizona to a wedding.
Rick Hindin: Well, tell him I said hi. He was such a handsome kid.
Andy Ockershausen: He was really a handsome kid. Remember his clothing was always great.
Rick Hindin: And such a nice kid. He really was.
Andy Ockershausen: Britches Outdoors …
Rick Hindin: Remember at the beach in Ocean City? You guys …
Andy Ockershausen: Absolutely. We used your place.
Rick Hindin: Yeah.
Andy Ockershausen: He could play checkers. His son can play checkers too because they could play checkers together, Kurt. Do you believe that? Kurt was a little guy.
Rick Hindin: That’s amazing.
Andy Ockershausen: Rick, what a memory you have.
Rick Hindin: What a memory you have.
Andy Ockershausen: We both have. We’re lucky, aren’t we?
Rick Hindin: Yeah, we are.
Andy Ockershausen: We’re still here, baby. So, congratulations to you, Rick, and I hope your business is a huge success. Our Town is for you. We’ll give you free advertising. You send me some commercials, we’ll run ’em.
Rick Hindin: Okay.
Andy Ockershausen: We’ll do anything. Rick Hindin, I love you.
Rick Hindin: It’s a pleasure to see you, my man.
Andy Ockershausen: It was great.
Rick Hindin: And Janice, always a pleasure.
Andy Ockershausen: This has been Our Town, Andy Ockershausen with Rick Hindin, and we look forward to a lot of success from Rick.
Announcer: You’ve been listening to Our Town, season three, presented by GEICO, our hometown favorite, with your host Andy Ockershausen. New Our Town episodes are released each Tuesday and Thursday. Drop us a line with your comments or suggestions. See us on Facebook, or visit our website at OurtownDC.com. Our special thanks to Ken Hunter, our technical director, and WMAL radio in Washington DC for hosting our podcast, and thanks to GEICO. 15 minutes can save you 15% or more on car insurance.
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