Robert Vance Reopens in Deerfield, Ill.

by Harry Sheff

Robert Vance has re-opened its doors in Deerfield Square, an upscale shopping center about 25 miles north of Chicago. The new location is not far from Lincolnshire, where the better men’s specialty store called home for 15 years.

Jack Shniderman, center, and his staff
Jack Shniderman, center, with Chris Buck, Sharon Shniderman, Phil Borntrager and head tailor Ivan Novosel.

“We opened a couple weeks ago with an Individualized Shirt trunk show, so we had a good response right off the bat,” said owner Jack Shniderman. “The store is about 2,500 sq. ft., which is 25 percent smaller than the old store. We moved into a pretty vibrant shopping center that has five women’s apparel stores, so we decided to do men’s only.”

Robert Vance storefront

Robert Vance interior

When we spoke to Shniderman in May, he had just hired former Mark Shale executive Phil Borntrager and made the decision to leave the Lincolnshire location.

“Getting somebody of Phil Borntager’s caliber certainly pushed me over the edge in the decision process,” he said. “Knowing we could go forward with a great staff, a new location, a high taste level and great product really made the difference.

“In the course of the move, we got to reinvent ourselves. Our core customers have aged, so we used this as an opportunity to add some younger attitude product with brands like Theory, Hugo Boss and Borgo 28, and a lot more denim. We’re trying to keep our core customer—and I’m sure that we will—and attract that next generation at the same time. I think if we would have just renewed our lease in the old location it would have been harder to explain what we were trying to do and why. It seemed like a natural transition in the move.”