A Century of Style
When in business for more than a century, a store and its owners experience countless events and trends over the lifetime – including fashion.
Since it first opened its doors in September 1905, E.R. Fisher has witnessed every fashion avenue, often cycling throughout the generations. From top hats to double-breasted suits to bow ties and skinny jeans, clothing has changed over the years, but one thing has not: E. R. Fisher’s region-wide reputation for offering personalized service and fine men’s clothing and accessories.
E. R. Fisher’s history is brimful, as it’s evolved into a family story that dates back four generations that has watched the nation’s capital mature into a beautiful, dynamic city filled with its own captivating history and style.
Beginning with a HandshakeE. R. Fisher’s story begins with an agreement settled by a handshake. Founder Emerson Ralph Fisher was offered the opportunity to open his own store in Ottawa by his employer in St. Catharines, who gave Fisher a generous $30,000 loan to start up the operation. He opened his first dry-goods store on Sparks Street in downtown Ottawa, where he always traded in good quality men’s clothing. As such, he built a loyal clientele, many of whom worked at the nearby Parliament Hill, and he paid off the loan in a few short years.
E.R. Fisher lived until 1938. At that point, his son, who bore the same name but was uniformly known as “Bud”, was a recent Queen’s University Commerce graduate and joined the business just before the outbreak of the Second World War, when he went to serve in the Navy. He was stationed in Halifax while long-time employees – a good core group of men who had been with the business for many years – helped run the business. Continuing family tradition, Bud’s three sons, Richard, Tony and Peter then took the reins, each taking a turn operating the store following Bud’s retirement.
Throughout the decades, men have associated E. R. Fisher as their go-to shop to receive quality service and merchandise. But they weren’t the only customers. Women often frequented the store, ensuring their loved ones walked out the door looking their best. So when Peter’s daughter, Sonia, purchased the family business in 2008, her fresh approach and perspective was a welcomed addition.
Today, Sonia, Peter select the clothing styles and fabrics that best suit their customers needs. They discuss and review upcoming trends they’d like to incorporate into the store with the sales team and continue the Fisher tradition that ensures Ottawa remains well-dressed and in style.
Team CommitmentAlong with the familial ties and personalized, catered service, there is a third consistency that remains with the shop: its employees. Over the years, E. R. Fisher has been fortunate to staff so many dedicated employees. The four generations of Fishers to run the business have all witnessed employees come and stay for their entire careers.
Walking into the store today, customers will see employees who have worked at E. R. Fisher since the early 1970s, including Head Tailor Ezio Timpano and Accounts Manager Susan Garnham. New additions Nigel Bryan, Wayne Scrim, Meghan Bray and Nick Savard along with George Haddad bring a wealth of clothing knowledge to the team. The staff commitment has a contagious effect on the shop’s clients, who remain repeat customers because they know that when they walk into the shop, they will be treated like family.
Community Outreach As one of Ottawa’s longest-standing, family-operated businesses, it’s no surprise E.R. Fisher remains active within the community.
The company’s owners and employees are community-minded and have consistently donated to the United Way, local charities and churches. Peter Fisher has been a member of the West Ottawa Rotary Club for more than 40 years, while Sonia is a member of the Canadian Association of Family Enterprise (CAFE), an organization supportive of Canadian Family Business causes and issues and the Westboro BIA. For more than 30 years, senior staff member Dom Herrick was an active member in the Ottawa Executive Association organization, which encompasses a group of senior decision-makers in the community who meet to do business and strengthen the small business networks in the city. Lastly, E. R. Fisher has consistently received an A++ rating with The Better Business Bureau, of which they were founding members.
Following a century of operations on Sparks Street, as well as having a presence inside some of Ottawa’s most popular shopping centres, E.R. Fisher moved to the burgeoning Westboro Village in 2001 at 199 Richmond Rd. The move demonstrated their customers’ loyalty as they understand they’ll get experienced, specialized service from a team passionate about a professional wardrobe. Fulfilling its approach to provide great investment clothing and superior customer care, E.R. Fisher remains Ottawa’s destination shop for quality men’s wear.