Some call it the Gold Coast, others consider Long Island a world of its own. Last week, I was lucky to spend a beautiful spring day chatting with passionate Long Island store owners about current business. Common denominators: men are clearly showing a renewed interest in dressing up, especially for events but also for the office. Tailored clothing sales are healthy, both suits and sport coats. Sportswear is decidedly elevated, often incorporating a sport coat into a casual mix anchored by five-pocket bottoms in soft luxury fabrics and fresh colors. Here, a quick look at some fabulous stores.

Warren Cohn, Amityville Men’s Shop, Amityville

Warren Cohn (shown at top, center, with Trevor, l., and Mo, r.) started out in the family business hemming trousers at age 13, then officially joined after graduating college on June 1, 1978. “Tailored clothing today is all about French blue: I can’t sell a grey suit these days!” confides this third-generation owner of Amityville Men’s Shop, established 113 years ago! That said, he’s selling a lot of both suits and sport coats and with those, dress shirts, ties, socks, accessories, and footwear.

Current suit business features Jack Victor and Hart Schaffner Marx (avg $995 retail) with additional offerings from Betenly, Baroni and Barucci. Sport coats from Harmony and Baroni go out the door at $499. “I try some DBs every season but they’re not yet catching on. Same for pleated pants…”

Counter to trend, Cohn says he’s selling a tremendous number of ties (mostly three-inch widths, $60-$75 retails). Also selling well: socks, belts and casual footwear (lace-ups with composite bottoms, many from Florsheim and Johnston & Murphy.)

Cohn says his success secret is his very committed team! I got to meet Trevor (21 years at the store!) and Mo, who have cultivated close relationships with customers from attorneys dressing for court to retirees buying colorful jeans  and a broad assortment of upscale woven shirts. Cohn’s daughter Alexa, an artist and recent mom, is also part of the team. (Check out her painting of a vintage sewing machine, still used in the store today!)

Michael and Shea Rosen, Kenny’s, Woodbury

It was early on a Tuesday morning but both Michael and Shea (above, r., and center), the father-son team I’d heard so much about, were already busy with customers; Bert Kraus (above left) kindly showed me around. The 3500 square foot store (established in 1939) is about 70 percent tailored clothing with a sunny upper-level tailor shop (I met the talented tailor Jose) and extra inventory on a lower level. Counter to trend, full suits are selling over sport coats (Jack Victor, Barocci, Betenly, Trands), DB’s are starting to catch on, and boys’ wear is adding a strong dimension. As for sportswear, sales are brisk in Bugatchi, 34 Heritage, Ballin, Barakett and Raffi.

Shea is fourth generation and jokes about it. “Although I grew up in the store, I never thought it would be my career. I was in the restaurant business and also did personal training, but my dad called me one day and begged me to join him, insisting he needed a young face. I couldn’t say no; that was many years ago…”

What has Shea learned from his dad? “Everything,” he states emphatically. “How to run a business, how to manage a team, how to connect with people, selling, measuring, tailoring… We’ve got a multi-generational clientele and often the grandpa, son and grandson come in to shop together. The beauty of having a boys’ business is that these young kids grow up with us. In men’s, we’re selling suits from $895-$1600; we get lots of at-once orders. Between young men getting internships, guys going back to the office, special events and funerals, men still need suits!” 

Jose, manning the tailor shop at Kenny’s

Salvatore Paterno, Milano Fine Men’s Fashion, Huntington

Born in Sicily, Sal Paterno opened Milano Men’s, his fabulous men’s clothing emporium in Huntington, just over 30 years ago. The quintessential ultra-cool place to hang out on Long Island, Milano is a uniquely beautiful store and Sal, a most charming host, offering coffee/cocktails as soon as one walks through the door.

The clothing business is clearly in Sal’s DNA: his mom was a patternmaker, his dad an aficionado of custom suits. But the real secret to Sal’s success: his charismatic personality. He connects easily with people, tells fabulous stories, and does much of his business travelling around the country (Miami, Houston, Dallas, Chicago, Vegas) seeing his upscale customers where they live and work. The first to bring the Isaia label to the States, Sal has a keen sense of fashion. He’s been officially dressing David Ortiz (Big Papi) for many years. He’s known to donate to numerous important causes in the Huntington community and nationally. His clothing and footwear mix is ultra-luxury from the finest brands, whether it bears the brand name or his own Milano label. He explains that most of the clothing mix now boasts his Milano label: he regularly visits the top factories in Italy and tweaks the commercial product to his own specifications: open sleeves, hand-stitched buttonholes, a slightly different pitch to the shoulder, somewhat longer ties. The man knows what he wants.

As proud as he is of his business, Sal is even prouder of his family. His wife Christina works with special needs kids; his daughter (first girl after four boys) is getting a master’s degree in speech pathology, Gianmarco works in marketing in Charlotte, N.C., Joseph is a wrestling coach in Kings Point, Antonio builds gaming computers and Richard is still in school. Of the five, his bet is on Joseph to continue the family business. But it will be tough for anyone to follow Sal!

Follow Karen on her Long Island store visit: part 2 is here.   


  1. Great coverage Karen! And so fun to see the images of the pros and their stores. Thank you. This is why we do what we do!

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