Lee Leonard Retiring from DLS

by MR Magazine Staff

Lee Leonard June 2014After 35 years at DLS, industry veteran Lee Leonard has announced his retirement, effective of May 1st.

“I want to climb another mountain,” says Leonard (talking figuratively, not literally). “And spend time doing other things I love, including acting, travel, working on my homes in Manhattan and Long Beach. I also look forward to nurturing my mind/body/soul with concepts beyond men’s fashion. Of course I’ll miss working with the DLS team, the vendors and our wonderful retail members, but on a positive note, the office now has the opportunity to bring in a new generation of retail innovators and I am totally confident that this direction will serve them well.”

Asked what he’s most proud of, Leonard talks about bringing Italian fashion to American stores via his strong relationships with the ITC and Pitti Uomo, and about the successful magazine DLS coordinates for the group.

Says MR editor-in-chief Karen Alberg Grossman, who’s been on group trips to Italy with Leonard, “There’s no one better to travel with, especially to Pitti Uomo. Lee provides an insider’s guide to the right brands, the right events, the right places to stay and eat and visit. He works hard, plays hard, and is the perfect tour guide.”

Adds Lynn Kochanek from Rare Essentials (a DLS member store), “Lee is a man who gets results and a living example of actions speaking louder than words. I am grateful for all he has done over the years to make both Walter and I feel like part of something much bigger than Rare Essentials.”

From 15 member stores initially, DLS now works with 150 independent menswear merchants around the country; its BATA (big and tall) division serves another 60. Leonard says he will be available during a three-month transition period to help in any way needed.

Says DLS partner Virginia Sandquist, “We’ve been through so much together these past 35 years, yet it feels like just a moment ago. DLS has accomplished a lot in that time, much of it because we dared to dream. As Lee looks back on all he has accomplished, I know he’s also looking ahead to the next chapter, filled with new adventures and dreams. From my heart I wish Lee the best tomorrow one can imagine, knowing we will remain part of each other’s lives.”

Observes Fred Derring, “They say everyone is replaceable, but Lee and I have been long-time friends since before DLS and our journey together has been extraordinary. I will miss him as an everyday partner and friend and truly appreciate all he’s accomplished for DLS over the years. May his sails never lack for wind!”