Expert Insight Law

Going strong

A partnership that stands the test of time

Richlu Manufacturing and its Tough Duck brand were built on the foundation of doing what it takes to get the job done, making high-quality apparel for both work and play. Abraham Rich, a fifth-generation clothier, and immigrant from Eastern Europe, founded the business more than 80 years ago. The key value he instilled in his employees was the expectation they work as hard as the people who would wear their company’s clothes.

Benjamin Hecht

While working as a fabric cutter for a local sewing company, Abraham had a strong desire to create quality garments while being paid a fair wage. When the workday ended, he would go home and, feeling underpaid, would create pant designs and samples. After asking for a $1 per hour raise, he was handed a pink slip when he picked up his next paycheque. This gave him the push to start his own clothing business. Abraham borrowed $400 from a friend and formed Winnipeg Pants and Manufacturing Ltd, which has evolved into today’s globally recognized Tough Duck brand.

Tough Duck’s head office remains in downtown Winnipeg along with three distribution centres that total over 400,000 square feet of space. The company also has ground staff in Asia that work closely with their suppliers and factories. They made a point not to cancel any of their production during the COVID-19 pandemic and kept production lines moving for all three divisions of their business—safety and high visibility clothing, workwear and lifestyle, and private label apparel. With no interruption to their supply chain, Tough Duck was able to get their products to customers when their competitors could not, which allowed them to gain market share in key areas. They also were able to keep people employed during the pandemic, which was a significant accomplishment.

Tough Duck leans on Pitblado Law for its most important, strategic initiatives. Whether it’s legal and business support in human resources, corporate governance, expansion into international markets, or new branding, Pitblado Law lays the foundation for successful relationships and initiatives.

Regarding corporate governance, Pitblado Law worked with the brand’s family advisor to put into place a Universal Shareholder Agreement for an 85-year-old, third-generation family business to ensure future success. As they continue to grow, Pitblado Law has helped their human resources and employee culture, keeping them informed of HR trends and best practices to improve culture and performance. The firm has also assisted with trademark law and provided sound advice for global expansion.

“When a crisis does inevitably strike, Benjamin has been a calm and steady force to help us through several challenging situations over the past few years, and always with positive results for our business,” says Gavin Rich, president of Richlu Manufacturing.

2500 – 360 Main Street, Winnipeg, MB


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