BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Radcliff Menge’s roots run deep in our state right down to the rivers which extend all the way to the Mobile-Tensaw Delta, but it was his days as an attorney in New York which led him to start his line of clothing named after the river where he grew up with his grandfather.
Radcliff explains how it all started, “Just a humble lawyer, cold on the streets of New York.”
When we first heard of Tom Beckbe it was a one man, one coat, one room operation recalls Radcliff, “We were in a conference room in a warehouse off West Oxmoor in Western Birmingham.”
Then a few years later, we toured the Mobile-Tensaw Delta with Jimbo Meador, wearing a cap named in his honor and Jimbo explained, “These Tom Beckbe long billed caps come in handy.”
Radcliff’s wife Mary remembers that very first coat, “I had witnessed him shopping for a jacket and his frustration and so I always encouraged him to if you can’t find what you like, go for it and it was neat to watch the first one come to life.”
Tom Beckbe has now moved indoors with a new location in Mountain Brook but is still focused on the great outdoors.
Radcliff brings us up to date, “Up until a month or two ago we didn’t have a storefront in Birmingham, but the product assortment was always driven by and continues to be driven by what do people in this area, what are they looking for both sporting gear and for casual lifestyle gear.”
Mary has been with Radcliff from the beginning of both the franchise and the family, “I remember the very first Tensaw Jacket very well because it arrived at our home within days of our first son’s arrival. So, I’ve always been able to remember precisely that moment because our son came just a few days later.”
Today, Tom Beckbe’s roots remain as deep as the name in the jacket as Radcliff relates the secret behind the name, “Tom Beckbe is the old French name for the Tombigbee River, and we just borrowed it. Nobody was using it anymore and turned him into a person based a little bit on my own experience growing up hunting with my grandfather just north of Mobile.”
Mary was instrumental in picking the name as well, “One day we saw Tom Beckbe as one word and I said, ‘Let’s separate it ' and here we are.
Radcliff looks back and says, “The company’s come a long way. The product assortment has come a long way and it’s been a fun last few years.”
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