Editor's note: This is the 72nd in a series of articles recalling vanished Huntington landmarks.
HUNTINGTON - In 1946, Nathan Corbin, a Russian immigrant, and his sons Lee and Howard founded a clothing manufacturing company in Brooklyn, New York.
But they grew tired of the seemingly constant strife with their Brooklyn workforce, so in 1957 they packed everything up and headed to Huntington, where Corbin Ltd., opened a small plant with 40 workers.
Corbin was making the right product at the right time. It introduced flat-front men's trousers that were a far cry from the voluminous pleated pants other manufacturers had long been making. Many men eagerly ditched their old pleated pants in favor of Corbin's trim-fitting version, marketed across the country at top-of-the-line retailers.
The clothing company grew rapidly. Soon it added suits and sport coats for men and a stylish line of women's clothing. By 1988 Corbin's annual revenues had grown to $50 million, with more than 1,000 workers at its plants in Huntington and Ashland.
Bargain-conscious shoppers flocked to the company's outlet stores in downtown Huntington, at the Huntington Mall and in Charleston.
But in 2003, facing rising production costs and increasingly costly employee benefits, Corbin management decided to change its business model; from that of primarily a manufacturer to that of primarily a wholesaler of specialty menswear. It closed its plants in Huntington and Ashland and laid off its few remaining workers.
In April 2003, Corbin filed for bankruptcy protection. Shortly thereafter, the Individualized Apparel Group (IAG) purchased Corbin's assets. The Huntington and Ashland plants were not part of the IAG deal.
To read more articles from this series, go to www.herald-dispatch.com. Click on "News" then "Lost Huntington" series.