Rhomberg’s was founded in 1907 by Frank M. Rhomberg as the Dubuque Tanning and Robe Company in Dubuque, Iowa. During the ‘horse and buggy’ era the focus was on tanning and the manufacture of coats and fur blankets. In 1917, a move was made to the Dubuques location’s current building and the name changed to Rhomberg Fur Company.
The enclosed automobile and emphasis on fashion led Karl Rhomberg to open Rockford’s Rhomberg location in 1929 on West Jefferson Street and North Main Streets and then the Davenport location in 1937. During that time, a good fur coat was $59 and annual cold storage was $2.
During World War II, Rhomberg’s brought furs and fur services to 150 franchised stores in nine Midwest states, employing several full time territory salesmen.
In 1948, the Dubuque store built a second modern cold storage vault which allowed space for the storage of an additional 10,000 furs. An interesting fact from the 1950’s is that a ranch bred mink coat retailed for $5,000…about the same price as a new Cadillac. Currently a ranch bred mink coat still retails for around $5,000, however, the Cadillac is another matter.
Third generation, Roger Rhomberg joined the firm in 1949 and saw the increased popularity of fur fashions during the 1970’s and 1980’s. Frequent trips were made to trade shows in Paris, Frankfurt, New York, Montreal and Hong Kong in search of unique patterns and superior merchandise that could earn the Rhomberg label. Roger’s emphasis on customer service brought generations of customers to recognize Rhomberg’s as the Midwest’s premier provider of furs and fur services including cleaning & reconditioning.
Current president and fourth generation, James S. Rhomberg joined the firm in 1981 and has expanded the current selections to include mens, womens and childrens fashions in not only fur but leathers, cashmeres, shearlings and world renowned designer collections.