5604 Germantown Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19144 | thebentleyrobecompany.com
Bentley Robe Company is situated in the Germantown section of Philadelphia. Today Bentley Robe Company specializes in clergy, choir, judicial, academic attire as well as embroidery and monogramming. Bentley Robes has just recently returned to the family business it once was. Bentley was founded by the late Rev. Dr. William L. Bentley in 1950. He began making robes for clergy and choir members in the basement of the church Emmanuel Baptist Church which is now near 23rd and Lehigh.
Remnants of the old business can still be found there today. Bentley worked closely with the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rev. Dr. Leon Sullivan to create business and projects that would improve social and economic conditions in North Philadelphia and Lower Germantown. Jobs at Bentley Robes were made available to men and women, boys and girls, regardless of their race or religion. Among Reverend Dr. Bentley’s most impressive achievements was his work with a group of young men with sizable criminal records. He also marched and dined with the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., counseled civil rights activist James Meredith and ran for City Council when he wasn’t preaching or recruiting former gang members to join the choir. The Bentley Robe Company continues its commitment to the community to today.
Bentley Robes was taken over by a close friend in the 1980s and just a few years ago, a family member Robin Edwards and her husband, took it over to bring it back in the family. The business employs about a half a dozen steady workers as well as freelance designers. Bentley Robes even employs a number of elderly women, because they still embroider and sew meticulously.
Bentley Robes operates out of a first floor storefront and basement space on Germantown Avenue (in Germantown section of Philadelphia). They have a room with about 10 different sewing machines and cutting tables. They make their garments from fabrics and brocades that are imported from all over the world and they produce garments for clients all over the country. They do quite a lot of business and acknowledge having trouble keeping up with orders, especially during graduation season.