Chesaning, Michigan --- Quality. Service. Dependability.
Those three words have driven Ed Rehmann and Sons of Chesaning into Michigan history and come 2019 they will be celebrating a century as a Great Lake State mainstay.
“Our grandfather came here with $20 in his pocket,” said now co-owner Richard “Ric” Rehmann. “He pressed upon us that you must have quality products; you must deliver one-of-a-kind service; and you must be dependable. You need to treat each customer like they are family.”
The Little Store with a Big Heart began before Ric was born. In fact, it predates the inaugurations of U.S. presidents ranging from Woodrow Wilson to Donald Trump. It has endured each American economic boom and bust since early part of the 20th Century — that includes everything from the Roaring Twenties to the tech craze and from the Great Depression to the Great Recession. Ric’s grandfather, Ed, and grandmother, Eva, founded the store in 1919 before selling it to their sons in the 1950s.
“At times we have struggled, but we have struggled and succeeded just like everyone else,” said Albert Rehmann, the only living son of Ed and Eva Rehmann. “We have just tried to keep this dream alive and follow in the footsteps of those who came before us.”
In the mid-1980s, Albert, along with his late brothers Donald “Don” and Richard “Rich” sold the store to Ric, who became a third-generation co-owner, along with his younger brother Robert “Rob” and Rob’s wife Nancy. During the last ten decades, they have sold millions of pieces of clothing, including Carhartt, a Michigan based clothing company.
They also are leading Michigan sellers in Redwing shoes and boots, a family-owned company since 1905, and apparel from Stormy Kromer, an Upper Peninsula based company that specializes in hats, coats and vests for those harsh Michigan winters. The Rehmann family takes pride in selling these products, especially Red Wing and Carhartt, which produce more American made clothing and boots than any other American manufacturers. And despite a generational shift in owners, many of the shoppers continue to experience the same customer service that first started 99 years ago. The store’s building, which was built in the late 1800s, takes shoppers back to a previous era - before the Internet, before there were credit cards and even before the average American had a TV or telephone.
“We have adapted with times, but we believe we offer something that big box stores can’t compete with,” Rob Rehmann said. “When you walk into our store you aren’t just buying clothes, you’re taking part in history. People from all over Michigan drive to our hometown because they value that, and you know what, we very much value them.”
Each member of the Rehmann family is quick to point out that their hometown of Chesaning has been the backbone of their success, which has motivated them to always give back. Ed and Eva donated property to the community in the 1950s to start the Rehmann Health Center, which promoted healthcare to underserved members of the community. After spending time in the military, Don, Rich and Al led various community posts, including serving on the city council and as fire chief for their town of 2,200 residents. Most recently, Ric, Rob and Nancy have all served on the community’s volunteer Chamber of Commerce and Chesaning Showboat festival boards and were instrumental in having the Saginaw County Fair move to their hometown in the early 2000s.
“When you own a small business in a small community, you have to understand that your doors are always open,” Nancy Rehmann said. “That means if you want to make progress in your town, you have to give back in the evenings and the weekends. We’re fortunate enough to have a community that shares that vision.”
We are located in downtown Chesaning, Michigan.
Days we have been open.
Years we have been open.
Rehmann Generations Serving