Who We Are

In 1920, Leonard M. Heinen along with John H. Conley conceived the idea of creating a buying group. Shortly thereafter, five additional men’s stores agreed to support the group and NW Buyers was created Mr. Heinen served as the first Secretary-Treasurer of NW Buyers, a position he held until 1941. Untitled-1

Leonard M. Heinen 


The first market was held on January 9, 1921 at the Ryan Hotel in St. Paul, MN. With 41 stores and 31 affiliated resources in attendance. To the right is the first market directory. #2 First Market Directory

First Market Directory

The markets continued to attract a greater number of stores as evidenced by the 1928 convention.In addition, when increased office space was needed to service the growth, a five story building was purchased in St. Paul, MN. #3 - 1928 Convention

1928 Convention

In 1928 NW Buyers entered the manufacturing business to supply a more stable source for work clothing.This was the beginning of Allied Manufacturing and the Allied Label in work wear. The manufacturing facility continued till 1946 when it was sold to Mo-Neb Manufacturing Company. of New York. Untitled-7

Cutting Room Allied Mfg. Company

The NW Buyers membership has been continuously served by administrative offices in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area.Its early history included a sizable “Jobbing or Central Bill Dept” that made special purchases and redistributed to member stores. A large staff would display a large assortment of merchandise and assist buyers with their purchases. 5

Office Picture and Sample Room

NW Buyers has experienced tremendous growth during its long history and the focus today continues to be service to over 300 independent men’s specialty stores.Our member only markets, attended by over 190 resources, provide the independent retailers a competitive edge over the competition.