By Cammie Jones
Gently swinging in the breeze along Ellis Street is a dark green shingle sign and on it is the image of a guard. It reads “Richards Furriers — We Guard Your Garments.” A red brick sidewalk leads to the front door of a hidden gem in downtown Augusta. The only local furrier between Atlanta and Savannah, Richards Furriers offers a trusted place to store, repair and clean your furs. Owner Lillian Magruder bought the store in 2020 and has made a one-of-a-kind small business.
Richards Furriers has been offering fur storage, cleaning and repair since 1962 with legendary clients including James Brown who stored all his coats and fur pieces at Richards until he died in 2006. The furrier started as a division of Cullum’s Department Store by James Cullum, master furrier, in downtown Augusta. Bryce Newman, who had ties to Richards Furniture, then purchased the store and named it Richards Furriers. Hammy Kuhlke bought the furrier in 1990 and 30 years later, the Kuhlke family sold it to Lillian Magruder.
The longevity of the ladies who worked at the shop is equally impressive. Carolyn DeHart and Susan Robbins, recently retired, worked there for many years under the Kuhlke family and Dorothy Rotan has worked there since Mr. Kuhlke passed away in 2017.
Magruder decided to purchase the furrier after a successful career as a nurse and then a pharmaceutical sales representative, saying she was ready for something new. She also had a story close to her heart that clinched the deal. “I think I decided to buy the business because I had my own personal fur tragedy for not taking proper care of my mother’s fur,” she said. “I also believe there is a general need for cold fur storage in Augusta since the [next]closest one is in Atlanta.”
Magruder grew interested in how to properly care for furs to help others avoid personal tragedies or mishaps from incorrect fur storage. There are a few basic guidelines to ensure the health of your fur.
Furs need to be stored in a 34 to 55-degree Fahrenheit, climate-controlled room.
They should not be stored in a bag and need to be on a broad-shouldered hanger — not wire ones — with an appropriate amount of space between coats.
As for cleaning, Richards Furrier has an in-house steel drum washing machine and uses a special sawdust-based detergent to launder them.
Furs should not go to a dry cleaner unless the dry cleaner knows how to properly wash the fur.
To read the full story, pick up a copy of the November/December 2022 issue. For more info, go to richardsfurriers.com or @richardsfurriers on Instagram and Facebook.
Appears in the November/December 2022 issue of Augusta Magazine.