Die-hard “Seinfeld” fans, this news is going to totally make your day.
At a time when many retailers are closing brick-and-mortar stores in favor of selling their products online, catalog retailer J. Peterman is opening a brand new store later this month.
If you recognize the name J. Peterman, it’s probably because you heard it on “Seinfeld,” the hit NBC comedy series that dominated the airwaves in the 1990s.
The creators of the show turned J. Peterman, a parody of the real John Peterman played by actor John O’Hurley, into a recurring character. Elaine Benes, the main female character on “Seinfeld” played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, worked at the catalog for much of the show.
The real-life J. Peterman store is set to open in Blue Ash, Ohio, on May 13. Instead of a retail store, shoppers will visit a dressed up version of the company’s warehouse.
“This will be a very uncommon shopping experience since it’s our actual warehouse, not a glossy retail store,” CEO John Peterman said in a statement, according to USA Today. “We’ve swept the floors and dressed it up a bit; you can even have a little espresso or coffee to keep you going. It’s a place to come and peruse at your own pace with minimal interference and more savings. It’s unusual but that’s why we like it.”
Yes, there was a J. Peterman company before Seinfeld, but the show definitely gave the company some free advertising. In “Seinfeld,” the catalog was best known for its wordy and eccentric product descriptions. The character J. Peterman was best known for telling long-winded stories about his travels around the world, which provide inspiration for the products he designs.
The real J. Peterman company went through some financial struggles and was sold shortly after the show ended. But the real Peterman eventually bought it back and decided to use a bit of the “Seinfeld” magic to his advantage. He called O’Hurley, the actor who played Peterman on the show, and asked if he’d help the company get back on its feet.
If the new Ohio store is any indication, the company is alive and well. Walk, don’t run, so you can buy your very own urban sombrero.