Archibald Jacob Freiman was born in Lithuania in 1880, and emigrated to Hamilton, Ontario. Freiman's rose to become the most successful department store in Ottawa because of its prominent location at Mosgrove and Rideau Streets, its aggressive marketing and its low prices. The company also operated stores in Westgate and St. Laurent Shopping Centres, as well as discount stores, called Freimart, in Shoppers City West and Shoppers City East.
Then owned by A.J. Freiman's son, Lawrence (who wrote a book about the store), the company was acquired by the Hudson's Bay Company in 1972. The former Freimans store still operates as an outlet of the Bay, and an adjoining arcade linking Rideau Street to the Byward Market is named the Freiman Mall in honour of the longtime Ottawa retailer. In addition, a lane beside the nearby National Arts Centre has been named Lawrence Freiman Lane.
Freiman's was also the centre of an important battle against anti-semitism. In the 1930s Ottawa police officer Jean Tissot, affiliated with Adrian Arcand's movement, attempted to rally Christian Canadians to boycott Jewish businesses. Freiman's, as the most prominent Jewish owned business in Ottawa was at the centre of his attacks. As a result Freiman filed a libel suit against Tissot, and Tissot was found guilty of criminal libel. The staunch condemnations of Tissot in the mainstream press and the utter failure of his movement to find support among the people led to a sound defeat for anti-semitism in Ottawa.
- Ward, Bruce. Ottawa 1967. The Ottawa Citizen. June 30, 2007.  (retrieved July 1, 2007)
- Charlesworth, Hector W., A cyclopædia of Canadian biography : brief biographies of persons distinguished in the professional, military and political life and the commerce and industry of Canada, in the twentieth century, 1919, page 132 (reproduced at Ourroots.ca)
- Lo, Laurelle. "The Path From Peddling: Jewish Economic Activity in Ottawa Before 1939." Ottawa: Making A Capital. Ottawa: Ottawa University Press, 2001.