It was a first for the menswear industry: a celebration of merchants whose stores have been in business for more than 100 years! Co-sponsored by the Chicago Collective, Peerless and Nobis, Peerless president John Tighe kicked off the evening by congratulating the Century+ stores, crediting Michael Holdstein for coming up with the idea several years ago.
In all their acceptance speeches, merchants acknowledged that they remain driven by their long friendships, both with customers and vendors. Some expressed a passion for fine product, others for offering value, and others for watching young guys transform as they try on their first-ever suit. Most retailers attributed their longevity to a strong team; many singled out talented tailors. All acknowledged the need to embrace change.
Many honorees spoke of their parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents, of how they made it through the Depression by scrimping and saving, taking on odd jobs and even keeping the lights off until a customer walked through the door. It was a wonderful evening where retailers enjoyed meeting each other (“I thought I was alone in my frustrations,” was a common refrain) and vowed to support each other through whatever trials and tribulations lie ahead.
To read more about this year’s honorees click here.