Welcome to the SOUTHWARK DECORATING COMPANY info page. The company is owned by Bruce H. Cahan and Andrew S. Kahn, therefore a page about the company has been included within the BruceandAndy.com website.
The following information is provided as an overview of this third-generation family business started in 1918 on South 4th Street at the southern tip of Philadelphia's Fabric Row. Now in our 100th year, we continue to offer the reliable and professional service for which we have become famous. Southwark Decorating Company is a true Philadelphia institution. Feel free to contact us anytime for more information about our products and services.
Started in 1918 by Abraham Kahn as Southwark Paint Company, the business was passed on to his son Kenneth Kahn and then was purchased by Kenneth's son Andrew S. Kahn and his partner, Bruce H. Cahan. Originally serving the Queen Village and Society Hill areas of downtown Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Southwark Paint Company developed a reputation for providing quality paints and painters' supplies from its location on the southwestcorner of 4th and Catharine Streets. This area of the city served as a hub for merchants in the textile and clothing trade during the early 20th century, primarily operating in authentic family-business orientation. Many of the shopkeepers lived in the buildings above the storefronts, raising their familes within the same envronment where the family income was derived. Kenneth Kahn was raised in the building where Southwark operated from 1920 to 2010. The family-business histories of this famous neighborhood are legendary. The paint shelves and counter areas remained for 92 years. They were constructed personally by Abraham Kahn following the business' relocation from 4th and Christian Streets to the corner of 4th and Catharine Streets, just two blocks north of the company's first location, where its first paint sales began in 1918.
Beginning in 1985, Southwark Paint Company added a new dimension by adding Window Treatments to its products and services offered. This immediately caught on and soon accounted for 50% of the company's sales. It started with an association with Levolor, a relationship that continues today and now includes product lines such as HunterDouglas, Graber and Sheer Weave.
The company was renamed Southwark Decorating Company as a result of its enhanced products and services. Not long after making headway in this new direction, the company naturally expanded further into Interior Design. Using Bruce's inherent knack for color coordination, developed over his years in the fashion industry, and Andy's knowledge and abilities with technical specifications, this team of designers soon found itself in demand. Consulting for residential and commercial projects became part of the natural daily operations at the company and it continues today as an integral part of the business.
Articles about Southwark Decorating Company have been written for the Philadelphia Inquirer, The Jewish Exponent, Main Line Life, Arts and Business News. The design team of Bruce H. Cahan and Andrew S. Kahn was featured in a special edition of "Design Basics," a weekly broadcast about decorating, televised on the HGTV network. Their episode was about "Eclectic Design," and it remains that style of decorating for which Bruce and Andy have become well-known along the east coast of the United States.
Notable clients of Southwark Decorating Company:
PALM RESTAURANTS (nationwide)
E. I DuPONT
PHILADELPHIA NAVAL SHIPYARD
CITY OF PHILADELPHIA
OCTAVIA HILL ASSOCIATION
LEROY KEAN COMPANY
SOCIETY HILL TOWERS
BEHRINGER HARVARD HOLDINGS
HUNTTING INN - EAST HAMPTON
TEN PENN CENTER
2601 PENNSYLVANIA AVE
WATERMARK RETIREMENT COMMUNITIES
RESIDENCE INN HOTELS
THE CURTIS CENTER
for more info contact:
SOUTHWARK DECORATING COMPANY PO BOX 2456 PHILADELPHIA, PA 19147-0456