Carleton Management, Inc.’s San Diego roots date back to the 1920s, when Isaac Ratner, a cap manufacturer, moved his wife and family of six children from New York City. A doctor had advised the diabetic Isaac Ratner that Southern California was the best place for him to find fresh fruits and vegetables with which to balance his diet year-round.
Isaac Ratner reestablished his cap business in San Diego, and two of his sons, Abe and Nate, joined him as salesmen. During World War II, Ratner Clothing Corp. manufactured naval uniforms and officers’ caps – including a lieutenant’s cap with a special braid that Abe Ratner designed. After the War, Ratner Clothing added mens’ pants and suits to its manufacturing portfolio.
Under Abe Ratner’s skillful leadership, Ratner Clothing became the largest manufacturer of mens’ clothing west of the Mississippi. In the 1960s and 1970s, Ratner Clothing developed the leisure suit, produced in the synthetic polyester fabrics that were revolutionizing the clothing industry.
By 1970, Abe Ratner’s son-in-law, Stanley Foster, took over management of the business. Stan Foster had worked his way up from shipping clerk to salesman, and eventually to president. In the 1980s, the company bought the licensing rights to Hang Ten and licensed the popular brand worldwide.
As the clothing business grew, the business acquired factory capacity in San Diego and elsewhere on the West Coast. This property expansion was the genesis of the company’s real estate investment business. Stan Foster was the driving force behind the company’s evolution into a real estate investment company.
In 1989, when Ratner Clothing sold its clothing business, the company retained its real estate assets as the nucleus of properties from which Carleton Management would grow. Carleton Management continued to acquire and develop additional properties throughout the 1990s until today.
Stan Foster’s real estate philosophy – investing for the long-term, holding diversified properties in its portfolio, rarely selling its investments, and periodically entering into strategic development relationships – remains Carleton Management’s guiding philosophy today.
Carleton Management has been a leader in philanthropy in San Diego since its inception. Isaac Ratner earned a reputation for giving to everyone who came to his door to ask for help. Since he did not know who needed help most, he gave to all who asked. Stan Foster and his wife, Pauline, continued to set a high standard for leadership and philanthropy in the secular and non-secular communities for many decades. Philanthropy continues to be an important company value.
After Stan’s passing, his son-in-law, Jeff Silberman, became president and chief executive officer in 2004 and continued to work closely with Pauline on company and philanthropic matters until her passing. Jeff works collaboratively with Chief Financial Officer John Harris, Chief Operating Officer Tami Daiber-Hirst, Vice President of Real Estate Jenner Smith and Carleton’s outstanding colleagues. Carleton is truly a family business and many of its staff have been part of the company family for years.