The early years of City Paper The nineteenth century at City Paper Company The 20th century at City Paper City Paper Company is a family business The shopping mall boom and City Paper City Paper art department City Paper party goods at Paper Works Over 100 years in business: the City Paper Company family


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City Paper through the years City Paper Co. in the 1800s
Historical City Paper Company
City Paper Birmingham city street

The year 1897

July 23, 1897

City Paper is founded

by A. Lesser & Louis Braun in Birmingham, Alabama.

When City Paper first opened its doors, the City of Birmingham was 26-years-old with a population of only 66,277 "souls" as listed in the 1897 directory.

Jacob Friedman moves from New York to Birmingham, Alabama to open a men's clothings store.

The 1900s

City Paper office at the turn of the century Bromberg's chooses City Paper Company City Paper Company storefront and trucks

Early 1900s

Bromberg's in Birmingham joins the City Paper family.


City Paper continues selling school supplies, toilet paper and paper bags.

1922 -1923

Jacob Friedman sells his clothing store and buys 50% interest in City Paper from his brother-in-law Mannie. The following year, Jacob bought the other 50% as Mr. Band wanted to retire.

The year 1940 paint background
Paul Friedman takes the reins of the family business

"Since Dad had been ill for several years and had been unable to go to the business at all, it had floundered, and after the funeral I was presented with a very frank and unpleasant set of facts by my Dad’s close friend and attorney.

He said that there was no way, that at my age, I could pull the business out as it was hopelessly in debt and that an 18-year-old could never make it run. His suggestion was to get what I could out of business and file bankruptcy.

Even though I was then only 18, I told this very close friend of my father that I had no intention of letting the very first business decision of my young life be one to bankrupt and, if that was his frank and only suggestion, then he was fired as City Paper Co.’s and my attorney, as of that moment."

- Paul Friedman Sr.

City Paper wholesale
Paul Friedman Sr.
City Paper acquires Cracker Barrel as a client
City Paper Company's laid back culture
City Paper employees in the 50's and 60's
City Paper company shipping and delivery truck

The 1950's


In the 1950s, shopping centers and strip malls started popping up in every city. The desire for colorful, more glamorous bags was in high demand and City Paper was there to deliver.


Cracker Barrel joins the City Paper family.

1968 - 1970

Sons Paul Jr. and Mark Friedman join City Paper.

City Paper Company's art department with creations The 1970's

City Paper adds Art Department to design custom packaging, thus continuing to surprise customers with the hottest new prints.

City Paper opens showroom at the America's Mart in Atlanta, GA.

Crumpled paper
The 1980's and 1990's
Cafe Du Monde logo
City Paper window
employee silhouette
The team behind City Paper Company

Paper Works opens to Rave Reviews

Paul and Mark Friedman open Paper Works - a one-of-a-kind party goods store that became the go-to destination for great party ideas. Their sister Sandy Friedman ran the business with her sister-in-law Cathy Friedman (Mark’s wife). From birthdays and weddings to Bar/ Bat Mitzvahs and Christmas parties, anybody who dreamed of hosting the perfect event knew exactly where to go.


City Paper celebrates its 100th Anniversary.

Paul Friedman Jr. becomes President & CEO of City Paper and brother Mark becomes Executive Vice President.

Cafe Du Monde joins the City Paper family.


Paul’s wife, Cathy Friedman, joins the City Paper family to help grow the promotional specialities business.

Birmingham city skyline background Today at City Paper
The City Paper Family


Paul Friedman Sr. (Pop Pop) passes away. He proudly never retired.

The City Paper Family Headline


The City Paper Company has grown to more than 40 people who feel more like family than they do employees. Paul’s daughter Julie, and Mark’s children Brad and Haley are the next generation of Friedman’s to continue Pop Pop’s legacy.

"As we look forward to the future we, of course, realize that there will be days of plenty and days that are not so great but our feeling here is that we live in the greatest land in the world. No other country offers so many freedoms and so great an opportunity to succeed as does America and our opportunities are really limited only by our own ability."

City Paper Company Family

We have always felt that the best way to succeed is to be totally honest with our customers and never to misrepresent any item or any transaction we have with them.

We have found that this does pay off in the long run and if experience combined with new youthful ideas, the best sources of supply in America, and an honest approach to business are any criteria for making it “today”, then we look forward with great anticipation to this exciting decade and feel like we will do all right.”

- Paul Friedman Sr.