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A Brief History of Stout
Stout Brothers Co., Inc. is founded by Charles and his brother Harry (Stober Sr.), in Philadelphia, PA. The business started off selling everything from fabrics to drapery rods to cabinet hardware and even upholstery tools.
In the mid 1950’s the 2nd Generation entered the business. Stober Stout Jr. and Jack Greenawalt, Stober Sr.’s son-in-law, started their journey of expanding Stout’s customer base outside of Philadelphia and their regional expansion began.
By 1957 Jack and Stober Jr. were running the family business and realized there was a shortage of upholstery apprenticeships in the area. They concluded that Stout needed to change their product offering into decorative fabrics with an emphasis on draperies in order to stay relevant. During this time interior decorating was rapidly on the rise and decorative fabrics were becoming more popular, especially around the windows.
During the 1960’s and 1970’s Stout would again move locations three more times in order to accommodate their expanding inventory of decorative fabrics. Each move would double capacity allowing Stout to vastly expand their fabric offerings.
In the 1970’s the 3rd generation began entering the business and it was at this time that Stout began their national expansion towards the west coast.
Stout moved out Philadelphia and into the suburbs where land was available to once again expand their warehouse. Upholstery supplies were becoming less popular and Stout decided to focus on filling their new shelves with textiles instead.
Stout acquires S.J. Battler, a fabric competitor from Cleveland, OH. The strategic purchase allowed servicing of central and western states more effectively by lower shipping costs and faster delivery.
In the early 1990’s the 3rd generation recognized the higher-end designer was on the rise and therefore Stout needed to ‘scale-up’ its look again in order to follow these trends. A major product shift started to happen and exclusive fabrics and trimmings were the fastest growing category over the next decade.
In the late 1990’s and early 2000’s the 4th generation began entering the family business. Stout continued their efforts in exclusive product development and began expanding into foreign markets and national showrooms.
Stout introduced a new division of very high-end fabrics with the launch of Marcus William. Five years later Marcus William began distributing for KAI, a decorative UK based textile company.
Stout once again saw the need for new products and launched their first drapery hardware line since the mid 1950’s.
Stout acquires Bassett McNab, a high-end distributor of classically designed fabrics and wall coverings founded in 1894.
Stout continues to adapt to the ever-evolving landscape of interior design by coming out with new and beautiful products every season. The 3rd and 4th generations are very much involved with the business and continue to build on the legacy that was started 94 years ago as one of the industry’s oldest run family companies.