Moonlight Graham: A Home Away from Home

by Elise Diamantini

Breaking the rules: New contemporary stores redefine the men’s specialty business — part five of ten

In this series from MR’s February issue, the editors talk to ten new retailers (seven brick-and-mortar, three online).

Moonlight Graham of Orange: A Home Away from Home
Location: Orange County, Calif.
Opened in January 2011
Owned by Bart Silberman
Size: 2,100 sq. ft.
Breakdown: 95% men’s/5% kids
On Deck: a second location in Century City, Calif. Opening in March, this 650 sq. ft. store’s assortment will be dressier: dress shirts, neckwear and unconstructed sportcoats.

“You always hear people say that guys hate to shop. And I don’t think guys hate to shop; I think they aren’t happy with the choices they have.” At Moonlight Graham of Orange, Bart Silberman is giving the men of Orange County a place to shop, hang out and maybe even catch a live concert.

Moonlight Graham

Moonlight Graham is a freestanding store in an original 1923 Ford Dealership. He maintained the building’s vintage aesthetic and merchandises the interior with antique and vintage objects like records, lifestyle books, a gas pump, motorcycles and a 1950s sprint car showcased in the window. “I want guys to walk through the store and feel like they’re on a treasure hunt,” says Silberman. The product mix is about 30 to 40 percent private label, designed and manufactured in California (denim for $49, T-shirts for $32 retail). The rest of the menswear assortment is from brands like Levi’s Vintage, Pendleton’s Thomas Kay collection, Reyn Spooner and Ralph Lauren.

Bart SilbermanSilberman says holiday was driven by flannel and western shirts from Pendleton and Reyn Spooner. “When we opened, this style was worn by hipper, rockabilly kind of guys, but now older guys are feeling more comfortable buying it. Bottoms were a struggle and they usually are for us. I was gun shy going into colored bottoms and we tasted it, but I’ve really backed off of bottoms and put that money into wovens.”

What makes Moonlight Graham special is the entertainment aspect. They host a lot of events and are producing monthly concerts at the store. “I grew up in Orange County during the alternative/punk rock scene and a lot of those musicians have mellowed out and are playing acoustic music now. So we’ve gotten involved with some of the artists that we loved from the ’80s. Some of them have new albums or books coming out, so we’ll do an album release party or book signing. Book signings have been fantastic. For example, we sold a book about the history of baseball in Orange County, so we had the author do a reading and we merchandised Red Jacket product around it. Customers can buy the book, have it signed and pick up some cool vintage baseball apparel.”