All Dressed Up
Some people keep “thank you” cards, and some don’t.
Ann and Clifford Powers, Lander’s Men’s Store owners, keep theirs.
Based on their collection, you know two things. One, they provide a quality service that leads customers to expressing the pleasurable time they had through a “thank you” card. The second discovery is how the couple enjoyed the time just as much when you hear them tell the story behind the shopping venture.
The pair have been operating Lander’s Men’s Store, 215 N. Main St., since 1980. They purchased the business from Jack Lander, who founded the business in 1952.
“He was running a business called ‘Adam’s Hats,’ which used to be very popular,” Powers said. “He knew the store was going out of business, so he changed the name of the store to his own and added other items to sell.”
When the store started out 60 years ago, it was a little farther north at 219 N. Main St. The couple moved the business in 1988 to its current location. Moving the store’s location isn’t the only change the couple has had to make during the past 32 years. One of the biggest changes was in what it sells. The store has been known for years for selling and tailoring men’s suits in a timely manner at an affordable rate. However, in the last decade, the business has also become known for renting tuxedos.
“We own the tuxedos so we’re able to help people out right away. We do 700 tuxedo rentals a year,” Powers said. “May is our busiest month, with kids looking for a tux for prom. We serviced something like 29 school districts last year. Chautauqua County only has 18 school districts. So we’re getting kids from Cattaraugus County and from (Pennsylvania).”
When it comes to suits, Powers said they sell for $110, and the alterations, which Ann does, are free. If you are in a hurry, the couple can usually prepare suits for a customer that day. The store also carries men’s undershirts, underwear, T-shirts, dress shirts, polo shirts, socks, wallets, cuff links and hooded sweatshirts. The business has a big-and-tall section. Powers said he can even order items for people, if the item is not in stock.
“We’ve found a niche. I think that is why we are still here,” Powers said. “We can deal with customers of any size, from a boy’s 2 to a men’s 26. Whatever the need, we do what needs to be done.”
Family is very important to the couple, as well. That is why their three daughters, Cindi, Marcy and Shelly, and two granddaughters, Holly and Shawna, have all worked at the store.
“My daughters have never had a problem finding a job. I think it has to do with them working here and helping people get what they need,” he said.
Powers said, after running the store for three decades, he knows his customers well; from knowing what they want and when they want it, to also getting to know their families, and now providing service to their sons and grandsons.
“I think we are on our third-generation now,” he said. “We get a lot of kids looking to rent a tuxedo for prom because they ask their grandparents where to go, and they send them here.”
Powers said most new clientele that they receive is through word-of-mouth advertising from their longtime patrons.
“We hear all the time, ‘They wouldn’t know what to do if we weren’t here?'” he asked. “It is nice to hear that.”
Along the way, Powers said they have received lots of help to keep the business going. One item includes the removal of parking meters in downtown Jamestown in front of their business on Main Street, between Second and Third streets.
“Where else can you drive right up to the door for free and buy a suit,” he said. “That has been a really big plus for us.”
Also, he said a gracious landlord has helped the couple. He said Jamestown Saving Bank owns the building, and have been great to work with.
“They’re very pleasant people,” he said. “It takes the pressure off with them being so easy to work with.”
Lander’s Men’s Store is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. For more information, call 483-5400.