In 1916, after Jacob “Jack” Bricker had escaped Russia, where Jews faced bigotry and discrimination, and settled in Detroit, he opened the doors of Bricker Furs. Now, 100 years later, his son, Arthur, 77, carries on the proud family tradition.
“I’ve met so many wonderful people over the years, including numerous Motown stars, Hollywood actors and actresses, professional athletes, elected officials and professionals from every walk of life,” Bricker says. “I feel blessed to work in a business that I love, and I appreciate the support from customers that has allowed our business to grow and prosper.”
Bricker recalls growing up in a multifamily flat near Waverly and LaSalle and attending Tyler Shul on Saturday mornings. His mother kept a kosher home and the family held firm to their Jewish faith. Bricker started out in the family business at age 14 as the janitor. His dad slowly groomed him to take over the business, which he did in 1960, soon teaming up with partner George Tunis. In 1971, he moved the business, now Bricker-Tunis Furs, to West Bloomfield.
The Fur Experts
Bricker realizes that trends and styles in the fur industry are constantly changing, and he and his staff work hard to keep up with this constant evolution.
“In our business, we realize that the changing social agenda has made it necessary to incorporate new looks in fur fashions at price points that reach out to the average buyer.”
Today’s fur fashions lean toward shorter coats, jackets, ponchos and capes. Leather and fur combinations are also popular. Fur purses, scarves and accessories add a touch of glamour to a woman’s everyday wardrobe, he adds
The company’s stylists and fitters are dedicated to assisting clients in the selection of the right fur for any lifestyle or budget. Average retail prices for coats are $1,500 to $3,500 — a far cry from the $10,000-$20,000 price tags in years past!
Bricker and his staff also pride themselves on offering several unique services aimed to help their customers get the most out of their furs. “Proper care is key to protecting and extending the life of a fur,” he says. “Cold storage and professional cleaning during the off-season is an essential service we provide.”
Fur restyling and repair are two other important services he offers. “If you have an older fur coat in good condition but no longer fits or is outdated, our experts can turn it into a beautiful new design,” Bricker says “What used to be your grandmother’s prized fur can be transformed into something new and contemporary.”
Bricker-Tunis Furs also offers a trade-in and consignment policy for used furs. “You can apply the value of your current fur to the cost of a new fur, saving hundreds, even thousands of dollars,” Bricker says. “Or you can make some extra cash by allowing us to sell it at our consignment boutique.”
Each item in the company’s pre-owned fur selection is inspected by an experienced team to ensure that customers have access to the best products. Additionally, all garments are professionally cleaned, conditioned and glazed prior to purchase.
“We are passionate about furs, and we believe no piece should go to waste,” Bricker says. “We also offer appraisals for clients seeking to insure a fur against loss, theft or damage.”
Bricker-Tunis Furs has close relationships with a variety of organizations and charities. “We believe giving back to the community and supporting local charities are essential to being a good neighbor,” Bricker says.
The company supports the Ronald McDonald House of Metropolitan Detroit, Friendship Circle, the Metropolitan Business Alliance, Come Play Detroit, the Women’s Informal Network, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and AugMe Foundation.
“We have done numerous fur fashion shows at local churches, golf outings and other activities,” Bricker adds.
Bricker says he has no plans for retirement. “What would I do?” he asks. “My life has revolved around the fur industry. That’s what I do. It’s what I love.”
By Matt Totsky, Special to the Jewish News
For further information about this article or more in depth information, please see the Michigan Jewish Historical Society’s volume 56 fall of 2016 issue for an in-depth article.