“I noticed a real downturn in November or December of 2007,” Walker said.
Walker bought the store 10 years ago and most of those years were rewarding, but the last year was “stressful,” he said.
Holiday sales were low and Walker was left with stacks of bills he had to pay. But he didn’t have the money to pay for the bills because the store made little profit during Christmas, he said.
Sales slipped further after 2007 and did not recover, so he decided to close the store May 15 before his lease is up in June.
“This one’s a tough one,” he said. “It’s hard to walk away.”
Walker sent out letters to his customers, informing them the store was closing and merchandise was going to be sold at a discount rate. He began working with John Tracy, a promotion sales manager for the clothing company Patrick James, who specializes in helping businesses sell off their merchandise during a closeout.
Stores that specialize in men’s clothing have been struggling since the recession, Tracy said. Many people are buying clothing at discount stores that offer the same clothing for lower prices, he said.
The store’s closing is a great loss for the park since it was a staple of the area, said Dale Dawson, the Montrose Shopping Park Assn.’s president.
But he said the days of fine men’s-only clothing stores were numbered since shoppers can buy the same clothing for less.
“I think the face of retail is changing,” Dawson said.
But the clothing store is not the only business struggling in the shopping park.
Sales are down at most of the stores in the park, Dawson said.
“We are all in jeopardy,” he said.
Dawson’s own home decorating store, Mountain Rose Gifts on Honolulu Avenue, is under pressure to stay afloat since most shoppers aren’t spending money due to the economic downturn.
“This economy is the worst we have seen,” he said.