Since 1892

John Ritzenthaler Company (JRC) is proud to be a family-owned and operated business. Through the generations, we’ve always maintained a small, friendly company culture that adheres to our motto, “Makes Lasting Friends®.” Many employees have stayed with us for decades and have contributed greatly to our success and culture – like our Regional Sales Manager, Bill Drew, who just celebrated 50 years of contribution with the RITZ family!

Read more to learn about our full history.

1892

1892

The company was founded by Mr. John Ritzenthaler, a young and ambitious immigrant, pursuing the American Dream in New York City. JRC started out as an importer of fine cleaning cloths from Belgium. JRC only sold the highest quality products and only sold to the better department stores and fine specialty retailers. John Ritzenthaler branded his products “RITZ” and it did not take long for that brand to become synonymous with high quality household textiles.

Early to Mid-1900's

Early to Mid-1900's

In an effort to expand his product line and manufacture quality textiles in the USA, John Ritzenthaler bought a small manufacturing mill in Pemberton, NJ and began to manufacture fine home linens. Love for the RITZ brand proliferated due to its reputation for high quality. Fine specialty stores and department stores across the country were now selling the RITZ brand.

"Quality is a passion with us. Price is never a selling point - it is quality," John Ritzenthaler would say, and "dignity and mutual respect are our watchwords."

 

1961

1961

Howard Steidle bought Shen Manufacturing Company, a very small Philadelphia-based manufacturer that produced value priced dish and scrub cloths, which were sold primarily to discounters, supermarkets and drug stores.

1968

1968

Shen Manufacturing Company, Inc. acquired John Ritzenthaler Company (JRC). Howard Steidle and John Ritzenthaler first met at the International Housewares Show in Chicago and became friends. Once John Ritzenthaler was ready to retire, he contacted Howard Steidle to buy his company and an acquisition was quickly completed. The JRC name then became the face of the combined company and continues to this day. Howard Steidle remained President and CEO of JRC until his death in May 2001.

1970

1970

Howard Steidle built a new office and distribution facility in West Conshohocken, PA and relocated all JRC and Shen office/distribution functions there. At first, the building was mostly used for distribution and had very little office space, but this changed over the years. Today, the building has been completely converted for needed office space to operate the business. Warehousing and shipping is now conducted in two distribution facilities in northeastern Pennsylvania. 

1980

1980

JRC closed the outdated Pemberton, NJ production facility and opened a new weaving, quilting, cutting and sewing facility in Montrose, PA. The Pemberton facility produced about 35 - 40% of RITZ products sold and the new Montrose facility now increased production to about 90% of RITZ products sold.

Early 1980's

Early 1980's

An article written about the RITZ brand in “The Seidman News Bulletin” column in the Home Furnishings Network declared, "its red diamond symbol is to the home textile industry what Coca-Cola is to the soft drink industry" (Seidman, Seymour. "The Seidman News Bulletin." HFN). Retailer stores wanted quality brands that they could stand behind for their customers, and this article attested to the recognition of the RITZ brand.

1980's

1980's

During this decade, JRC slowly expanded its customer base beyond the "better department store and fine specialty retailer". The retail market was undergoing dramatic change and JRC needed to change along with it. Recognizing the changing market, by the mid-1980’s, JRC started to sell across all channels of distribution. The company began expanding their sales base and offering new products to meet these needs. JRC was the first of its kind to stock and offer a full kitchen textile program available in 13 colors. It was a huge success that greatly expanded sales.

"We had to stay ahead on quality, service, design and change." – Howard Steidle

Late 1980's - 2000's

Late 1980's - 2000's

With the opening of Trade relations with China, the U.S. saw a shift from domestic manufacturing to oversees purchasing. JRC, faced with the onslaught of foreign manufactured competition, began the journey to develop, source and import from oversees in order to remain competitive and carry on the proud company traditions that were established during the prior 100 years in business. This transition from domestic producer to foreign producer was done slowly to make sure that JRC’s customers stayed with them and that the quality of RITZ products would remain the same.

1997

1997

By 1997, the transition from manufacturing to importing is complete and the Montrose, PA manufacturing facility becomes fully utilized for distribution.

2000

2000

JRC acquired Standard Terry Mills, a primary competitor on woven textiles that were at the better end of the retail market.

2005

2005

JRC acquired the kitchen textile division of Charles Craft, a primary woven kitchen textile competitor at the supermarket level of retail and hospitality segment of institutional distribution.

2008

2008

JRC acquired the TesArden division of Arden Company, a primary competitor at the supermarket and mass merchant level of retail.

2009

2009

The RITZ Wonder Towel is featured in the movie Julie & Julia starring Meryl Streep.

2011

2011

JRC acquired the foodservice textile division of Arden Company, providing JRC’s entry into foodservice segment of the institutional channel of distribution. This acquisition greatly complemented our existing hospitality business in this channel of distribution. 

2018

2018

JRC acquired from Dexter-Russell, Inc. the Chef Revival textile division, a primary competitor for chef apparel in the food service textiles segment.