F. A. Patrick & Co. (through 1922)

F. A. Patrick. (Image: Duluth Public Library)

F. A. Patrick & Co., Duluth’s big wholesale dry goods house, was organized and began business in 1900. The company started out with the deliberate intention of doing a big business, and its expectations were realized from the beginning. Seven years ago the company moved into a building that was built for its use and it was thought that sufficient room had been provided to take care of any increase in business that might come in ten years. Three years later that building was doubled in capacity by the erection of its twin close up beside it. The big structure, eight stories high and 125×150 feet, is filled from cellar to roof with that sort of dry goods-finished or in the making-that the trade is looking for, apparently. The success of the house may be fairly said to have been phenomenal, but it was attained by the mere application of the most modern methods to the conduct of the business and by taking full advantage of the opportunities 551  that are presented by the location of the house for the handling and production of wares for the dry goods trade.

Duluth is peculiarly well adapted to the wholesale dry goods business. Practically all the goods for the trade come out of the East. Coming up the lakes, the freight bills on the goods are much lower than the charges which a house situated at an inland center is made to pay. With the best facilities for the handling of these goods, such as entirely modern equipment and speed in handling, the Duluth house must have an advantage in selling these heavy goods to the trade. F. A. Patrick & Co. took advantage of the natural conditions and made the most of the possibilities for building up a trade. They did not build for today or tomorrow, but with a view to the future, and the business that has been turned to this point through the activities of this house amounts already to a very large sum yearly.

The house carries all the dry goods staples in large lines, and speed in delivery has been one of the factors in its success. It has. put before the trade and created a great demand for its own special brand of manufactured goods, which are made under the best factory conditions and in such attractive form and at such prices as to command attention. In every store in the Northwest the Northland brand of goods is known, and the output of shirts, overalls and mackinaw clothing has so far grown that in the factory some hundreds of employes are constantly at work in the manufacture of these goods. The road business of the firm employs fifty traveling men and the territory covered includes northern Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota and Montana, the Pacific coast being covered by men who take care of the trade in Washington, Oregon, the Puget sound country generally and Idaho.

The house of F. A. Patrick & Co. is one that appeals particularly to the pride of the people of Duluth, for it is handsomely quartered in a building that is built up to the very minute and its business has demonstrated the possibilities of the dry goods trade at the head of the lakes.

The company was organized in 1900 with F. A. Patrick as president, George C. Stone vice-president, W. B. Cross treasurer, P. B. Neff secretary, and these are the present officers of the company.


  • Van Brunt, Walter, ed. Duluth and St. Louis County, Minnesota Vols. 1 – 3. The American Historical Society. Chicago: 1922.
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