Rick Forman of Forman Mills, ‘Undercover Boss’: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Rick Forman is tonight’s star of Undercover Boss. The official episode synopsis reads: Forman Mills Inc. CEO Rick Forman finds defects in his organization – and exasperates employees – while he is under cover. Forman started out in the apparel industry by working in flea markets and it was his entrepreneurial side that led him to where he is today. The Forman Mills official company bio reads:

In 1977, with an $80 loan from his father, Rick Forman began his retail career selling t-shirts, sweat-shirts and sportswear in local flea markets on weekends. The business expanded rapidly to become one of the biggest flea market operations and in 1981 Rick opened the first Forman Mills Clothing store in an old alleyway on Frankford Avenue in Philadelphia. The store combined an outdoor flea market with an indoor showroom. With hard work, fair prices and quality merchandise, the first Forman Mills quickly became a major success.

Read on for all the facts on Forman Mills, Forman’s time on Undercover Boss, and the employees featured on the show.


1. Forman Mills Is On Undercover Boss So That It Can Expand Its Company

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Forman Mills is currently expanding its company and that’s why it’s on the show. CBS writes:

Forman Mills is one of the fastest growing discount apparel merchants in the country … There are currently 35 stores in the country and Rick wants to double that number in the next year. He wants to go undercover to prepare for the large expansion.

The history of the show’s expansions in the past reads:

In 1985 the first Forman Mills Clothing Factory Warehouse superstore opened in an old warehouse in South Philadelphia. With 16,000 square feet the product assortment expanded beyond just “tees and sweats” to include a wide array of Men’s, Ladies’ and Children’s clothing. From 1989 to 2007 the business grew from a single store to a chain of “Big Box” warehouse-style stores, serving communities in Philadelphia, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and now Michigan and New York. From a weekend concession in a flea market to a fast-growing major retailer in the off-price apparel sector, our company has grown to multi-location, multi-state enterprise. But that is just the beginning – The Vision Continues!


2. Former Employees Of Forman Mills Have Made Complaints About The Company Online

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Many of the former employee online reviews of Forman Mills are unfavorable. One review on Glassdoor.com from December 7, 2014 read:

The owner is a slave driver who suffers from multiple personality disorder and never cares what he says or does to anyone. No cares at all from upper management just want you to shut up and do your job. You will have to waste your whole holiday season working at the store 6 days a week because the owner does not care about you or your family just wants to squeeze every drop of blood out of you he can. No compensation for working long hours and weekends. It’s 21st Century and this company still pushed pen and paper. Too many people as like there the boss of everyone when they are not. Forget about you family there is no work/ home live at Forman Mills.

The most recent testimony from an employee was on January 8, 2015 and it stated that working for Forman Mills is a fun job with good benefits and you can meet a lot of good customers, but the pay is low and “upper management do not speak to the employees when visiting stores.”


3. On The Show, Forman Works As a Sales Associate, Back Stock Labeler, Customer Service Representative and Maintenance Supervisor

Forman posed as Brad Bandini on Undercover Boss and took on many different jobs while in disguise. Forman described the situation as this:

It was embarrassing. We were at the airport in Philadelphia, and I’m in my stupid outfit and I was trying to hide from people.

Forman even called his first meeting with the show “a cheap screen test,” but as for the experience on the show as a whole, he said:

It was a great experience. I didn’t know what to expect, but it was real and a real eye-opener. As the boss I’m always giving orders and now I had to bite my tongue and listen to other people tell me what to do. And at one store I had a real problem with customer service. It was tough to hold back and not reveal myself.

What Forman learned most from being on Undercover Boss is that “It’s about the people in the end.”


4. Four Employees Are Featured On The Show

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As always the show features employees of the company, who show the disguised boss the ropes. Mshinda is a hardworking Sales Associate and she is extremely detail-oriented. She’s a single mother working two jobs and she hopes that her son who’s going off to college will have a bright future. Elizabeth is a sweetheart who works in the warehouse and she is passionate about her job. As a widow, she has to work hard for her kids, being the only real source of income. She’s constantly working and still has trouble paying the bills. Nikia is a “no-nonsense” Customer Service Representative. She is a mother to two daughters, one of whom has special needs. Finally, there’s Kurtis, who is a Maintenance Supervisor. He says that he isn’t working in his dream job, but he’s passionate about his work nonetheless. CBS reports:

He has beaten addiction and homelessness. Now, he gives back to others who need the help that he received before he was working at Forman Mills.


5. Forman Had To Clean Toilets On The Show

Forman had to get down and dirty on Undercover Boss and the Trentonian reported on the show’s official press release, stating:

Forman was trained by his employees, none of whom recognized him. to serve in a variety of jobs that included cashier, forklift operator, and a sales associate performing price checks, The CEO even got down and dirty working maintenance cleaning toilets, the release said. Forman confessed that he was not very good at some of the assignments and some of the trainers even lost patience with him. Despite frustrating trainers, the CEO said he got a lot out of the experience while working alongside his employees. He learned what they were good at and perhaps not so good at and what needed improving.

In addition:

Forman discovered some defects in his company. Some of those included antiquated cash registers and price check systems, both of which slowed productivity at his stores. At one point, Forman found that he was unhappy with the caliber of customer service offered by some employees and even contemplated closing one of his stores. Forman also frustrated workers with his haphazard work style.