by Karen Alberg Grossman

An elegant cocktail party Tuesday evening followed by a sit-down dinner for 100 is just another way the Mitchell family shows the love. The official occasion was the completed renovation of the 27,000 sq ft Richards store in Greenwich Ct, now merchandised by lifestyle and brand in a lighter, brighter and more modern setting. An underlying objective of the evening was to thank vendors, business partners and friends for the support they gave to Mitchells and the other Forum retailers during the pandemic. “It was a crazy couple of years and our suppliers could not have been more supportive,” acknowledges Mitchells’ co-CEO Bob Mitchell. “They deserved a great party, and we were grateful for the wonderful turnout. Especially after a few years of meeting virtually, the two prior days of in-person Forum meetings could not have been more appreciated and informative. The group is all about exchanging ideas, so it was particularly helpful to have terrific guest speakers and a new Forum member, Gwynns of Mount Pleasant, to guide us on the women’s side of the business.” 

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Mitchell also noted that luxury sportswear is the number one category contributing to the menswear rebound but tailored clothing, sportscoats, and footwear (dress shoes as well as sneakers) are also showing significant gains as shoppers refresh their wardrobes for both business and events. With double digit growth this past year (vs 2019) in all Mitchells’ stores, how long can the increases continue? With his current average sale up 30-40 percent, Bob projects business should continue strong through at least the fall. 

Says David Rubenstein of Rubenstein’s New Orleans, “The Richards’ event was especially nice since business seems to be returning for both retailers and vendors. Everyone was smiling and ‘making marriages’ again. As for the newly renovated Greenwich store, it truly elevates customer service to a new Hug Your Customers level…”

Commented Crawford Brock from Stanley Korshak in Dallas, “We’re so thankful for our vendor partners–Cucinelli, Kiton, Sylva & Cie and so many more. We’re honored to be part of the Forum Group and value our relationship with the other members. Business has been phenomenal across the board since the pandemic. In 2021, we were 7% over 2019. Year to date, we’re trending 45% over 2021 and 25% over 2019. Dallas is a great home, and we’re seeing so many new faces in the store with the influx of those moving to the area. We expect to see this trend continue- Dallas has not peaked yet! We’d like to say a special thank you to the Mitchell family for hosting us this year—the newly renovated Greenwich store looks amazing!”

Lindsay Morton Gaiser, president of Andrisen Morton in Denver and current president of The Forum Group, agrees. “It was a warm and wonderful event and the remodel is magnificent, making Richards one of the most beautiful stores in the country. All of the Forum stores were grateful for the opportunity to thank our vendors in such a world-class setting. Just reconnecting with so many business partners who have become friends reignited our drive to grow specialty retail. Our future is brighter than ever thanks to these strong vendor partnerships and the unconditional support, both professional and personal, that Forum Group stores continue to provide each other. It’s a unique collaboration and we feel fortunate to be part of it.”

Here’s to continued healthy increases, continued partnerships that become friendships, and continued opportunities to show the love!