Held Projansky Furs
Jean Douglass remembers well when fur shops could be found all over the Rochester area. One of them was her father’s shop on Clifford Avenue, near Portland.
Douglass took over the family business, Clifford Fur Co., back in 1959. Now, she’s the longtime owner of Held Projansky, a furrier on Monroe Avenue in Brighton.
“I was born into the fur business,” Douglass said. She and her husband, David, bought Held Projansky in 1990 when that business was going through difficult times. Douglass closed her father’s business at the same time, figuring Held Projansky was “a good way to get into better and bigger business.”
Anthony Sepe, Douglass’ father, had opened Clifford Fur Co. in 1939. Douglass started working there as a kid during summers.
He was one of many in the local industry, she said. “There were many more all over the city and downtown.”
The company started about 1925 by Bernard Held, Douglass said. The “Projansky” part came with a merger about 1979. The business was on Euclid Street when the Douglasses bought it. They later moved to Pittsford Plaza for a decade or so, and then to Brighton, where the shop has been for 10 years.
A lot of the business involves storage. Customers include some from California and Texas and as far away as Nepal.
“We’re talking the Himalayas,” Douglass said. “He stores his jackets with us. They had lived here before .… We see (customers) for storage twice a year. They drop them off in spring and pick them up in November. We store thousands of them.”
Held Projansky, of course, also sells fur garments such as coats, jackets, hats and capes, as well as does maintenance. The business has many longtime customers, Douglass said, and many longtime employees. One, a 96-year-old woman, still comes in once weekly to do all the hand-sewing work.