Woolrich is now one of the most popular outdoor wear shops in the United States, but a couple of decades ago they were close to going bust when they were sued by a rival company for copying a patented jacket style. Woolrich were adamant that it was not a copy, but the judge did not see it like that and ordered the company to pay $5 million in damages. They were only saved by some extreme luck, which you can read about below.
Is $5 Million That Much for a Company Such as Woolrich?
You might be sitting there thinking that $5 million is nothing to a company like Woolrich, but you have got to remember that we are talking about something that happened over twenty years ago. Back in the 90s, $5 million was a lot more money than it is nowadays.
That $5 million fine was going to set the company back a lot and was going to cost hundreds of members of staff their jobs. Most of these would have been people who relied on their jobs in order to survive. It would have been a catastrophe for hundreds of people.
Woolrich contested the fine, but they lost once again, which meant that they had to pay another $500k on top of the $5 million that they already owed. They told everyone involved with the company that they had done what they could, but it was over, Woolrich would now cease to exist.
Roswell Brayton Junior’s Gambling Obsession Saved the Day
Roswell Brayton Junior, who has since passed away, was the president and CEO of Woolrich at the time. None of his close friends or family members knew that he was partial to a bit of gambling every now and then. In fact, had his family members known they would have done their utmost to get him to stop because gambling was something that was severely looked down upon by his family.
The reason for this was because they had a family member who lost an awful lot of money while paying poker. This put him and his wife under a lot of stress and their relationship broke down, and his two children had to go and live with their grandparents while their parents sorted out the problems that came about from his gambling problem. They eventually sorted everything out, but gambling became a huge taboo for the whole family.
However, Brayton Junior did not seem to get the memo because he loved nothing more than to frequent land-based casinos during his spare time. He used to go to the casino at least two times a week. The things that he loved to play the most at casinos were slot games.
Brayton Junior’s Big Win
The week after they had lost the court case, Brayton Junior headed over to the closest casino, despite the fact that he would probably have been disowned by his entire family if they had found out that he was gambling at a time when they had a $5.5 million fine to pay. However, Brayton Junior reasoned it out as follows – “What is another hundred dollars or so when we have such a big fine to pay?”
He entered the casino and headed straight over to a progressive jackpot slot that had a jackpot that stood at $8 million. He looked at the prize with awe as he knew that this type of money would solve all of the issues that Woolrich was currently facing.
He sat down and started playing, but after an hour of playing he had lost three-quarters of his bankroll. He was just about to give up, when he told himself that he would spend $10 more and then call it a day. He soon had $2 left, so he stuck it in and hoped for the best. Ten seconds later, he could not believe what he was seeing – he had just won the progressive jackpot of $8 million.
His Family Were Angry and Happy
When he finally plucked up the courage to inform his family of his massive win, he got the exact reaction that he was expecting. At first, they berated him for continuing to gamble behind their back, but once they had got that off their chests, they were extremely happy for him as it meant that Woolrich could remain open. To add to this, there was more than $2 million remaining, and they were all given a tidy sum, which was something that was always going to help soften the blow of finding out that someone in the family had continued to gamble.
They made Brayton Junior promise to never gamble again and it was a promise that he kept right up until the day that he passed away. However, if he never went against his family’s wishes, it is safe to say that Woolrich would not be around to this very day.