Time Out New York Ranks Henry Cowit among the Best Tailors in NYC
Time Out New York has named the best tailors in NYC and Henry Cowit made the list. As one of the largest full service furriers in the country, Henry Cowit is certainly among the best places in New York to “get snipped, clipped and expertly fitted.” Henry Cowit was noted as being one of the best in Midtown West as Time Out New York chose only the top, expert tailors in each neighborhood of New York’s five boroughs.
“Brothers and third-generation furriers Steve and Larry took over their father’s business a quarter century ago; now they’re experts in their field, specializing in fur alteration, repairs and storage. Prices are fair: A minor tear can be fixed for around $25; cleaning runs around $50. They also stress fur’s recyclable nature and can suggest creative ways to alter your current pieces (a floor-length fur coat can be transformed into a jacket, with excess material used for a hood or hat). The shop also sells new and used furs, including coats, hats, shawls and blankets. 151 W 29th St between Sixth and Seventh Aves (212-594-5744, cowitfurs.com). Mon-Fri 8am-4:30pm, Sat 10am-3pm
Take the advice of Time Out New York and go to Henry Cowit for all your fur needs
2009 USCA Best of Local Business Award Presented to Cowit Furs
Cowit Furs Wins Best of Local Business Award in New York
In 2009, the USCA Best of Local Business award in the Furriers category was bestowed upon Cowit Furs as a result of their service to their customers and community, which in turn helped to enhance the positive image of local New York business. The U.S. Commerce Association selects outstanding local businesses throughout the entire country and honors them with the Best of Local Business award. Cowit Furs was selected to receive the 2009 USCA Best of Local Business award in New York for the Furriers category.
Today, more than ever, local businesses are facing challenges in an increasingly competitive local environment. Local communities all over the United States are feeling the effects of increased competition, but in New York this is especially true. For that reason, being presented with the USCA Best of Local Business award in New York is quite an achievement for Cowit Furs.
The U.S. Commerce Association works with local companies to help promote local business activity through public relations, marketing and advertising. Cowit Furs was selected for the 2009 USCA Best of Local Business award for Cowit’s successful marketing efforts within the New York market. Selections are based on information gathered by the USCA and by third parties.
The basis of the USCA local business award is a belief in the importance of encouraging local business, but also supporting quality promotional efforts, not simply quantity. To be presented with the USCA Best of Local Business award means that a local company has focused their marketing activities to serve the local community. Cowit Furs has been active within New York City for over 70 years and the USCA Best of Local Business award is a wonderful way to commemorate these years of quality service to the local New York community.
The U.S. Commerce Association works with local businesses, trade organizations, professional associations and chambers of commerce and is based in Washington D.C. You may learn more about the USCA Best of Local Business award by visiting their website.
THIS ARTICLE WAS WRITTEN IN THE LOS ANGELES TIMES AND WAS REPRINTED IN PAPERS ALL OVER THE COUNTRY
By Geraldine Baum
Special to The Morning Call
NEW YORK | Martha Stewart may be a felon, but in what’s left of this city’s long-suffering Fur District, she is a hero. Furrier Larry Cowit has heard from not one but two customers who ”had to have” that luxe scarf Stewart was wearing after she got the bad news.
Was that chinchilla or rex rabbit framing Martha’s sober mug splashed all over television?
“There’s a silver lining in every bit of bad news,” said Cowit, chuckling.
Martha’s lining, it turns out, was dyed chinchilla, and the silver will be going to Cowit and his brother, Steve, the third generation to run Henry Cowit Inc.
After two dreadful decades — years of watching their friends go bust or retire to Florida — the furriers in Manhattan are happy to revel in a few good turns of events: Finally, last year, national retail sales in fur bounced back to 1984′s $1.8 billion high. Finally, winter back East is bitter again. Finally, the paint throwers with ethical objections to wearing anything that once had a mother are widening their scope to target animal-research labs, taking heat off furriers.
And most important, finally, the fur is, yes, flying again on the runways. From Paris to New York this spring, designers who could barely afford to put on shows were trimming their fall suits to sports clothes in dyed everything — rabbit, lamb, pony and, of course, chinchilla.
So guys like Larry and Steve Cowit can maybe take it easier this summer. And play a little golf. ”You always gotta worry because we may be looking at 60-degree Januarys again or the economy could go south,” says Steve, 48. He’s the older brother, the expert ”matcher” who spends his days in the shop wearing a blue apron and combing clear liquids (peroxide, but don’t tell) on a new pelt to age it to repair a sleeve on an old coat.
Larry is the salesman. He’s the charmer who tours customers through the un-chic retail showroom, crammed with 2,000 new and used — rather ”pre-owned” — coats. Larry is the more buoyant brother, but even Steve can’t suppress a smile these days: ”We’re not as reliant as we used to be on the weather or just one type of customer,” Steve says. ”Fur is everywhere, and the business is totally changed.”
“Every building, every loft, every office along here was about fur,” says Larry, describing the district at its height from 26th to 30th streets between Sixth and Ninth avenues. And everyone specialized. There were manufacturers, retailers, wholesalers, skin traders, designers, guys who knew only fox or lamb, or how to make scarves or lengthen minis to maxis. The Cowits competed with no fewer than 60 ”matchers” remodeling and repairing.
Now, Steve is about the only fur matcher in Manhattan, and the businesses, mostly retailers, that remain are as Greek as they once were Jewish.
Manufacturers either went out of business when competition with Hong Kong became too stiff or closed their factories and opened retail shops downstairs in their buildings’ moving storefronts. From 1979 to 1989, the city’s manufacturers fell from 800 to 300. Now the Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn’t keep that statistic. But the worst were the wounds inflicted on furriers by the animal-rights group PETA, or People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which managed for at least a decade to inhibit some shoppers’ tastes.
Supermodels began declaring they’d rather go naked than wear fur, and a long list of nervous designers dropped their fur licensing agreements.
A decade of activism made many women embarrassed to wear fur. But more recently, PETA has kind of petered out in New York. This fall’s protest involved only a handful of people flinging bloody carcasses of skinned foxes at opera-going fur wearers, compared with the 3,000 activists who annually marched through Manhattan in the mid-1990s.
The Cowits have borrowed 100 chinchilla pelts in ”tobacco” tones, just like Martha’s scarf, from a skin dealer in the neighborhood.
Their customer, a wealthy lady who owns several sables, was coming in to pick out the pelts for a chinchilla ”Martha” of her own and buy several more to sell to friends.
Larry estimated he’d charge less than $2,000 a scarf — not cheap but about half of what it would cost at a fancy Fifth Avenue shop. At those prices, if Kmart knocks off Martha’s neckwear, it’ll have to be fake.
Geraldine Baum is a writer for the Los Angeles Times, a Tribune Publishing newspaper.
THIS ARTICLE WAS WRITTEN IN NEWYORK.COM’S “FABULOUS FITY” TOP 10 LISTS!
A good furrier is a place where you will find a complete line of fine furs including mink coats, vests, and jackets, blue fox coats, lambskin leather jackets, mink swing strollers, fox collars & cuffs, cashmere capes and more! In New York you will see exciting, unique and colorful fur designs now more than ever before. In fact, demand for fur has never been greater or more popular. The best-kept secret is that New York is the center of the universe as far as finding fur bargains. As you know, nothing can compare to the luxury, eleganceand warmth of fur. Fur is always in fashion, made by nearly every internationaldesigner and shown by every major trendsetter. With the publishing of fur retail reports they show that fur sales are having the desired effect: sales have increased on all types of merchandise.
Fur in no longer just for warmth on the coldest days, fur has moved into the hot “must have” fashion category and is worn from day to night and across all seasons. US sales among traditional fur retailers hit a record $1.8 billion in the 2003 season, a 7.5 percent increase over the previous year, according to the Fur Information Council of America. Ten years ago, fur sales were about $1.1 billion.
A company that specializes in buying and selling used furs of the more ‘vintage’ category is Henry Cowit, Inc you can also rent furs at this location. They are more ‘downtown’ in every way as well as their 29th street location so if you love authentic thrift shopping, this place might be for you.
With the New York as the epic fashion center of the world you will never run out of places to shop for a fur. New York ranks right up there with Paris for diversity and when it comes to places to look for a good quality fur with the style that you want. New York City is still the best place to come and treasure hunt. Chances are you come across a real fur find that suddenly just pops up. Shopping for a new fur is not only fun but also is quite addictive. Happy shopping!
Here is our “Top 10 Furriers” List from the NEWYORK.COM ‘Fabulous Fifty’!:
1) Cowit Henry Inc. - One of the largest selections of designer furs, preowned and new. Cowit Henry, Inc. has the largest selections of designer furs, new and preowned. They have been in the fur business for over 60 years. Specializing in rental of Furs, remodel furs and fur repair. Anything you want or need in fur is here. 151 W 29th St. New York, NY 10001 (212) 594-5744
Watch the WPIX Story about Cowit Furs: Everything Old Is New Again, And That Includes Your Grandma’s Fur
1/9/13… check out this NY Magazine article about Fur remodeling… remodeling done by Madison Ave Furs: http://nymag.com/thecut/2013/01/closet-case-study-the-fur-coat-revamp.html
10/10/13..check out this online article from Ruth Katz and Promenade Magazine:
12/16/13.. Crain’s Business: Cold Snap Heats Up Sales:
Article includes interview with Larry Cowit:
The frigid weather in the Northeast is warming up holiday sales for some local retailers. Cold temperatures are prompting shoppers to spend on all manner of winter garb, from hats and gloves to hip-length minks.
“If it’s cold, we sell coats,” said Robert Manus, owner of Clifford Michael, a Third Avenue shop specializing in shearlings, furs and couture garments, noting that sales this year are already up a robust near-40% compared with last year’s tepid numbers. “And it certainly looks like a cold December and January ahead, so that’s the good news.”
Of course, selling cold-weather apparel during November and December is nothing new—retailers regularly plan their inventories according to the season, stocking coats and scarves for the winter months. However, the past two winters saw unseasonably warm temperatures. Last year, for example, most people did not even start buying such stock until February, complained one area retailer, after the items had been repeatedly marked down.
But this season, with the first snowstorm in the rearview mirror, retail chains such as Modell’s Sporting Goods and C. Wonder are already reporting gains. Faced with a holiday shopping period in which analysts predict, at best, a small 3% uptick in sales, those who dabble in winter gear are experiencing some Christmas cheer.
Caught off guard
“In the past, we’ve had these big warming trends,” said Michael Londrigan, dean of academic affairs for LIM College. “Now that we have this cold snap—and it’s in a good part of the Northeast and middle states—that’s going to drive folks to the stores to buy up some outerwear.”
That is, if they can find it on the shelves. The chill has caught many retailers off guard, with some having ordered fewer coats and cold-weather accessories to avoid the end-of-year deep discounting that has nipped at margins in the recent past. Mr. Londrigan noted that stores that followed this strategy might be understocked and unprepared.
Expecting yet another balmy winter, Mitchell Modell, chief executive of Modell’s, cut back his orders of outerwear this year by about 40%. Instead, he ordered excess amounts of fleece hoodies and jackets, which can be sold as either layering pieces or light coats. The sherpa-lined items are flying off the shelves as consumers feel the chill and wear them under outerwear, Mr. Modell enthused.
“Last year, we were hung with inventory because December was warm,” he said. “We took dollars and real estate and put it into fleece, and now people are calling us Fleece R Us.” The 150-unit chain, which Crain’s estimates to have $698 million in revenue, is also banking on one-piece union suits—called “mansies”—for the chilly temps. Mr. Modell said November same-store sales were up 19%.
Meanwhile, other chains are already selling out. Shoppers recently have been hard-pressed to find down-filled puffer coats from brands such as Mackage at Nordstrom Rack in Union Square, though the items filled the shelves in recent weeks. At C. Wonder, the 24-store retailer founded by J. Christopher Burch, stocks of some novelty hats and gloves have been depleted.
“When the weather got cold a lot earlier, we saw a huge spike,” said Scott Link, vice president of retail, pointing to best-sellers such as technology-friendly gloves and hats with a ski-goggle pattern.
Furriers are seeing an upswing, too, and not only because their wares are warm. Despite complaints from animal-rights organizations, fashion designers continue to incorporate fur into runway looks, giving the industry a trendy feel. Styles from designers such as Marc Jacobs and Joseph Altuzarra have recently sported fur as trim, lining or accessories.
Sales of new coats at Henry Cowit Inc., an 85-year-old fur seller on West 29th St, jumped 10% this month compared with last year. Alterations, in which customers bring in older garments to have them modernized, are up 25%.
“It’s a weather-driven business, but it’s also a fashion-driven business,” said Larry Cowit, a partner at the store, where alterations range in price from $300 to $2,000. “The remodeling especially has really flourished.”
1/15/14: Check out this amazing blog about
from “5th Ave & Flea Market’s” amazing blog