On this day in 1915, Sam Silverman was born.
Sam's father, Herman, operated a men's clothing store in downtown Grand Forks. Sam worked at the family store while attending Central high school, and later on while attending the University of North Dakota for his bachelor's degree and a degree in law.
However, despite his degree, law was not the path that Sam chose in life. He joined the Army during World War II, serving under General George S. Patton's 3rd Army, earning the rank of Captain. After V.E. Day in Paris, Captain Silverman was sent to Germany, where he photographed the transport of the entire captured German High Command. The event was especially significant to Sam, as he and his family were Jewish.
After the war ended, Sam returned to Grand Forks and his father's clothing store. Due to the illness of Herman Silverman, Sam took over the family business. With a keen eye and excellent customer service, the clothing store expanded and business grew.
During the 1960s, Sam and other businessmen created a large sale in Grand Forks called ‘Crazy Days.' The first ‘Crazy Days' started with a promotion: Sam and other local businessmen were driven 30 miles from Grand Forks and dropped off at the edge of the highway. Clad only in wooden barrels, they competed in a hitch-hiking race. Sam and the other businessmen flagged down motorists and hitched rides with the hopes of the quickest return to Grand Forks.
‘Silverman's Gives Service' was the long-time motto for Sam's store. Whether it was a young man buying his very first inexpensive suit for a job interview, or a seasoned customer buying an extensive new wardrobe, Sam knew his customers. Just by one glance, Sam guessed the style, the size and the right suit for every man who walked through his doors.
Local newsman Terry Dullam said this about Sam, "I'd be in Silverman's ‘just looking.' Sam would spot me from across the store and yell, ‘Dullum, hold on. I've got the perfect suit for you. But, it's in the basement.'" A couple of minutes later he'd emerge with a suit which was perfect for me. I didn't know I needed a suit, but Sam did."
Regardless of income level, status in life, or budget, Sam treated each and every customer with respect, giving above and beyond customer service.
Sam Silverman passed away on January 19, 2007. And the retail world of Grand Forks was never the same again.
Dakota Datebook written by Jill Whitcomb
Sources: The Dullum File- http://www.areavoices.com/dullumfiles/?archive=2007-01
North Dakota Supreme Court News-Sam Silverman 1915-2007-http://www.ndcourts.com/court/news/silverman.htm