Thursday, April 26, 2018

F. B. Silverwood and Our State Song (Part 8)

Frank B. "Daddy" Silverwood, circa 1920.
 [Continued from Part 7]

By the early 1920s, Francis B. Silverwood’s menswear chain had five stores throughout Los Angeles County, and it would continue to grow. Every Monday he set out letters (a.k.a. “wise talks from the office boy”) to his sales staff, sharing his thoughts on how business should be conducted, professional self-help tips, and how customers should be treated.

“I want the man in overalls to receive the same polite attention as the man in the silk hat and frock coat," he wrote in 1915. "I want the looker to be accorded the same attention as the buyer: A looker to-day is a buyer to-morrow. What is needed most in business to-day is more kindness. I want you to do unto others as tho you were the others. I want you to love your work and cultivate a happy disposition: happiness is a habit and I want every Silverwood employee to get the habit.”
Silverwood's store at 6th St. & Broadway, Los Angeles. (Photo courtesy
In another such letter he promised, "If your heart is in your work you won't have to proclaim your progress: you'll be so conspicuous I'll discover it long before you do. If you outgrow your job I'll make a bigger one for you. Don't think because you don't see me every hour of every day that I'm not keeping a line on you..."

In 1920, Silverwood opened a large new flagship store on the northeast corner of 6th St. and Broadway in downtown Los Angeles, replacing a smaller one at the same intersection.  The new store was said to be the largest retail clothing store in the United States.
Silverwood's at 6th St. & Broadway, circa 1905. Note sign reading, "Home of Silverwood's Office Boy." (Photo courtesy L.A. Public Library)
Next time: Departures

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