Celebrating over 100 years in business

In 2012 we were proud to celebrate the 100th year of continuous business.

A Rich History

The exclusive ladies’ and gentlemen’s outfitters known as Johnson’s was established in 1912 by draper and clothier James Johnson. The original location, on the corner of George and Grosvenor Streets, was known as Johnson’s Corner, and to this day still bears its name.

Following the Great Depression the business hit the wall, but in 1932 an enterprising employee of the business named Ernest Pickham borrowed some money and bought it out. He renamed it Johnson’s Overalls and supplied specialised uniforms to working men and the merchant navy.

His son, Neville Pickham, remembers his father would take orders during the day, close up shop, dash out and buy the fabric, and have the uniforms run up that night ready for the morning pick-up.

Neville Pickham started working at Johnson’s Overalls in 1957 and expanded the trade into kitchen equipment: “European chefs were coming in for uniforms and saying they needed a decent knife.” So he began to import French Sabatier and German F. Dick knives, pots and pans, aspic cutters and mandolins.

In 1970, The Rocks was redeveloped and the Johnson’s business moved to its former location at 739 George St, Haymarket.

From the late 1960’s Johnsons were supplied hospitality uniforms from a Melbourne based company founded by the Ray family. which eventually became known as Ray Uniforms and Dura-Wear Industries, which were both responsible for the development of the Club Chef brand. When the Pickham family retired in 2009, Tony Ray purchased the business and has recommenced the Johnsons legacy of providing the highest levels of products and service to the hospitality industry.

In 2012 we were proud to celebrate the 100th year of continuous business.

In May 2017, the Johnson’s store was relocated to a bigger, brighter and brand new store located at 72 Mary St, Surry Hills. Anthony Gatley, Johnson’s & Club Chef State General Manager, expressed his excitement about the new move, stating “Following decades of trading out of the old George St store, we are excited to move into a brand new store that will both improve our customer experience and better showcase our products while still remaining in a central location.”

Johnson’s Est. 1912 | Club Chef