Vander Plaats Campaign Announces Addition of June 5 Northwest Iowa Stop to Chuck Norris Tour

May 27, 2010

DES MOINES – Internationally known actor and martial arts champion Chuck Norris will appear in Hinton near Sioux City on Saturday June 5 to show his support for Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats, the campaign announced today.

Norris and his wife, Gena, will appear with Vander Plaats at 7:00 p.m. rally at Hinton High School, 315 W. Grand Ave, that is free and open to the public. Two of Bob and Darla Vander Plaats’ four sons graduated from Hinton High School and a third son is a student there.

“I can’t begin to describe how thrilled I am that Chuck Norris would agree to add a fifth event to his visit to give northwest Iowans a chance to see a real American hero,” Vander Plaats said. “And, I can imagine a more perfect place to be than at a school that has been so special to our family over the years.”

Norris and Vander Plaats will appear at a noon, June 4 rally at LeClaire Park on the Mississippi River in downtown Davenport. They will appear later that same day at a 5:30 p.m. event at the hotel at Kirkwood Center, 7725 Kirkwood Blvd., SW, in Cedar Rapids. On Saturday, June 5, the campaign will hold a 10:30 a.m. rally at Jordan Park Camp, 2251 Fuller Road, West Des Moines. A 4:30 p.m. rally is scheduled at The Bluffs Center, 714 S. Main St., Council Bluffs.

Prior to all five public events, the campaign will also hold several $500-per-couple private receptions, Vander Plaats said. Reservations for the private reception are limited and must be made no later than Monday, May 24. All private reception requests are to be made through Tim Dusenbery at tim.dusenbery@teamvp2010.com, Director of Finance for Team Vander Plaats or the Des Moines office at (515) 278-5183.

Norris writes a nationally syndicated column and is active in conservative and pro-family causes. The immensely popular actor and his wife drew an enthusiastic response from Iowans when they visited the state on behalf of Mike Huckabee’s 2008 presidential campaign. He began his martial arts training while serving in the U.S. Air Force in South Korea. He held the Professional Middleweight Karate champion title for six consecutive years. He has appeared in a number of popular films over the past 30 years, beginning with “Enter the Dragon” with Bruce Lee in 1972. He broadened his fan base with younger audiences, too, when he starred in the television series “Walker, Texas Ranger” from 1993 to 2001.

A devout Christian and political conservative, Norris writes a column for the website WorldNetDaily and is the author of several Christian-themed books, including the new, expanded version of Black Belt Patriot just published in paperback by Fidelis Books. He also authored The Official Chuck Norris Fact Book, which offers 101 facts and favorites stories of his life and was released by Tyndale House Publishers.

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Franklin’s Tucson Menswear Store, Marks 50 Years in Changing Retail Environment with Keen Eye for Trends

May 27, 2010

TUCSON, Ariz. – Franklin’s, the first men’s clothing store west of the Mississippi River to sell the iconic Polo clothing line and the nation’s first to carry the popular Tommy Bahama brand, is marking its 50th anniversary.

“It’s rare for a small retailer to survive and thrive for 50 years. You have to evolve to stay ahead of the curve,” said owner George Fangmann. “Nothing is sacred anymore. All the large stores now carry the lines that used to distinguish the smaller ones. For us to be different we have to shop and find the lines that are not in department stores or we have to buy them differently.”

Fangmann has been focused on creating a difference since he purchased the store. He moved to Tucson in 1967 to attend the University of Arizona and worked at Franklin’s until moving home to New Jersey to work for his family’s business. He returned to Tucson when the store’s owners asked him to manage a fourth store they were opening. Over the years, the company closed three stores. Fangmann has been its sole owner since 1993.

Fangmann said Franklin’s, located at 5420 E. Broadway, will be closed Saturday through Tuesday as its staff marks down prices 20 percent to 60 percent for a 50th anniversary sale that is open to the public on Thursday, June 3. Sale hours will be 9:00 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday.

“It’s quite rare, especially these days, for a company to celebrate 50 years in business. In a university town, the challenges are even greater because there’s just a constant churn of the retail base,” Fangmann said. “Still, we’ve had a number of customers who have shopped here for decades and remember our store near the campus.”

That campus location was sportswear driven and also carried traditional dress wear. Franklin’s, which since 1960 had carried the Lacoste brand with the famed crocodile label, opted for a new product in 1972. A buying trip to New York resulted in Franklin’s becoming the first store in the entire western United States to sell the Polo brand.

Fangmann also made a splash with a label that remains hugely popular today.

“We were the first Tommy Bahama account in the country. I bought it over the phone from Tommy Margolis in 1988. He was on the beach in Miami. He had a line called Genera and he asked me what I thought of the name ‘Tommy Bahama.’ I said, ‘It’s a horrible name!’” Fangmann recalled, noting it didn’t stop him from buying another winner.

In 1993, he shifted away from the store’s trademark traditional men’s wear to contemporary European styles to fill changing market demands.

Fangmann notes Franklin’s has been more than a trend-setter. One former employee is shaping today’s clothing industry. David Witman, a former member of the Wildcats swim team, managed the then-Franklin’s store in Phoenix until his wife transferred to Chicago.

“A few weeks later a Nordstrom guy called me. I said, ‘You’d better hire him and watch him,’” Fangmann said.

Witman is an executive vice president and the general merchandise manager for Nordstrom, a Seattle-based retailer with 112 full-line stores, 68 clearance stores, 52,000 employees and $8.5 billion in revenues last year. He was recently named one of the 100 Most Powerful People in the Men’s Fashion.

Fangmann notes menswear retailers have faced tremendous market pressures across the nation yet Franklin’s continues to succeed.

“There are 3,500 fewer specialty stores than a decade ago. I’m the face of Franklin’s. It speaks to the idea that I wanted to survive so I can do what I want to do,” he said. “What I want to do is serve customers. And, I plan on Franklin’s being here 50 years from now, too.”

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For additional information, contact Eric Woolson at (515) 681-3967 or George Fangmann at (520) 747-0680.


Recommended Read: Des Moines Makes Kiplinger List of “10 Best Cities for the Next Decade”

May 26, 2010

While Des Moines is Number One in our hearts, coming up seventh on Kiplinger Personal Finance Magazine’s list of the “10 Best Cities for the Next Decade” is not so bad at all.

For the full story, click here.


Vander Plaats Announces Sites of Chuck Norris Appearances in Davenport, Cedar Rapids, West Des Moines, Council Bluffs

May 13, 2010

DES MOINES – The times and locations of four Bob Vander Plaats for governor campaign events featuring internationally known actor and martial arts champion Chuck Norris have been announced.

Norris and his wife, Gena, will appear with Vander Plaats at a noon, June 4 rally at LeClaire Park on the Mississippi River in downtown Davenport. They will appear later that same day at a 5:30 p.m. event at the hotel at Kirkwood Center, 7725 Kirkwood Blvd., SW, in Cedar Rapids.

On Saturday, June 5, the campaign will hold a 10:30 a.m. rally at Jordan Park Camp, 2251 Fuller Road, West Des Moines. A 4:30 p.m. rally is scheduled at The Bluffs Center, 714 S. Main St., Council Bluffs.

“These four events are free and open to the public,” Vander Plaats said. “I’d encourage every Chuck Norris fan, young or old, to join us on either June 4 or 5 for what is certain to be a fun and inspiring time.”

Prior to the public events, the campaign will also hold several $500-per-couple private receptions, Vander Plaats said. The private events will have a limited number of participants and additional details are available through the campaign’s Urbandale office.

Norris writes a nationally syndicated column and is active in conservative and pro-family causes. The immensely popular actor and his wife drew an enthusiastic response from Iowans when they visited the state on behalf of Mike Huckabee’s 2008 presidential campaign.

Norris began his martial arts training while serving in the U.S. Air Force in South Korea. He held the Professional Middleweight Karate champion title for six consecutive years. He has appeared in a number of popular films over the past 30 years, beginning with “Enter the Dragon” with Bruce Lee in 1972. He broadened his fan base with younger audiences, too, when he starred in the television series “Walker, Texas Ranger” from 1993 to 2001.

A devout Christian and political conservative, Norris writes a column for the website WorldNetDaily and is the author of several Christian-themed books, including the new, expanded version of Black Belt Patriot just published in paperback by Fidelis Books. He also authored The Official Chuck Norris Fact Book, which offers 101 facts and favorites stories of his life and was released by Tyndale House Publishers.

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