Economic Downturn Leads Dean’s Clothiers to Announce Quitting Business Sale

October 29, 2010

CHESTERFIELD, Mo. – A combination of factors punctuated by the prolonged economic downturn has led Dean’s Clothiers to announce a quitting business sale that begins for the public on Nov. 4, owner Dean Goldenstein said today.

Goldenstein, who founded the men’s wear store 15 years ago, noted that the long-running trend toward casual attire, increased competition from online retailers, the loss of sales during the persistent recession, and soaring costs have pushed him to close the business. He began working as a men’s wardrobe consultant at the age of 18.

“It all plays together. Given the current economic conditions, it’s not a good small business environment,” he explained. “Under these circumstances, I just don’t feel comfortable making any further long-term financial commitments. As a business owner, you feel like you’re letting your employees down, as well as the loyal clients of the store, but you have to look out for your family’s future and cut your losses at a certain point. Unfortunately, I’m at that point.”

He continued, “We’ve had a great number of customers who have experienced a job loss or have been forced to take early retirement or they’re business owners who have also been affected by the economic downturn. That’s resulted in a substantial decrease in their spendable income. Some have rejoined the work force as consultants, so the demand for business attire has decreased. People used to buy three or four suits at a time and now if they buy one it’s just for a special occasion like a wedding. And, we’ve experienced a reduction in the number of employees due to that change in buying habits.”

Goldenstein will sell the entire inventory of his store, located at 14847 Clayton Road, in a sale that opens to the public on Thursday. Initially, store hours will be 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Nov. 4 and 5; 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 6; and 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 7. Thereafter, the store will be open 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturdays and 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Sundays.

Goldenstein said the closing is especially difficult after working through past economic highs and lows as he served a marketplace niche described in the store’s tagline “Towering style in big, tall and small sizes – like no other store in St. Louis.”

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Paws & Effect PSA Shoot Draws WHO-TV Coverage

October 17, 2010

Eric Woolson, owner of The Concept Works, meets Anthem, a Paws & Effect service dog in training.

JOHNSTON, Iowa – Paws & Effect, a new-to-Iowa, non-profit organization that raises, trains and places high-quality, well-socialized service dogs, will be the focus on stories on WHO-TV and KDSM-TV newscasts tonight.

A New York video crew has been in central Iowa since Thursday to film public service announcements to raise awareness about Paws & Effect. Tonight’s coverage will focus on the commercials, which were filmed with Iowa National Guard personnel at Camp Dodge and several other locations in the Des Moines metro area.

Paws & Effect focuses on training two types of service dogs: mobility service dogs and psychiatric service dogs. The animals are highly skilled and devoted to assisting their human companion to live an independent and normal life.

The recipients of the service dogs that Paws & Effect places will primarily focus on fulfilling the needs of Iowa military veterans dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder upon returning to Iowa from Iraq and Afghanistan, people in need of mobility assistance, and children with autism.

The Concept Works provides public and media relations services to Paws & Effect.

Accu-mold, International Leader in High-Tech Plastics Manufacturing, Breaks Ground on Major Plant Expansion

October 8, 2010

ANKENY, Iowa – Accu-mold broke ground today on a $5 million, 40,000-square-foot expansion that will increase the high-tech plastic parts manufacturer’s workforce by 43 employees.

“Our focus has never been on creating just one or two quarters of growth. Our mission has always been about being an innovation leader on a path of sustainable, long-term growth,” president and chief executive officer Roger Hargens said today. “Our customers expect and require a supplier that is reliable, committed to excellence and is going to be around for a long, long time. This expansion is so special because it means we’re delivering on those priorities and creating quality jobs in the process.”

The groundbreaking event, which featured Ankeny Mayor Steve Van Oort and city economic development director Tim Moerman, took place at the company’s facility at 1711 SE Oralabor Road. The company has been at its present location since 2001.

“I’m very pleased to have one of the world’s most respected high-tech plastic manufacturers growing and thriving in Ankeny,” Van Oort said. “This expansion is not just an endorsement of Ankeny’s business climate, but in the quality and productivity of the workforce in the entire Des Moines metropolitan area. The addition of 43 new jobs to our community will be a strong addition to the local economy.”

Moerman said, “We’ve worked hard to make Ankeny’s business climate one of the best in the Midwest. When Accu-mold chooses Ankeny to grow its business, it means our city and state remain an integral part of a global brand.”

Since its inception in 1985, Accu-mold’s mission has been on the production of super-micro, ultra-precision, plastic injection-molded parts. Today, Accu-mold is an international leader in tooling and manufacturing complex, micro-size parts and components that often measure in mere microns. To produce those parts, Accu-mold builds specialized molding machines engineered to handle volumes from prototypes to millions per year while maintaining consistent, precise tolerances that are unique in the industry.

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Fields Mens Wear, a Tipton Retail Fixture Since 1856, Announces Quitting Business Sale

October 6, 2010

TIPTON – Fields Mens Wear, a local retail anchor for 154 years after opening its doors just eight years after Iowa gained statehood, will hold a quitting business sale that begins for the public on Oct. 7.

Owner Tom Petitgout said today that while the company has operated under different names through the years, it has always persevered through the economic ups and downs and constant changes in fashion and consumer tastes.

“Tipton is a great little town. The whole county has super people and we’ve had people come to us from a long ways away for many years,” Petitgout said. “This business has been a wonderful thing for my wife and me, but the days of the independent store are just about numbered.”

He added, “It’s really been a great ride. The last thing on my mind is to close the place, but I’ve become older and it’s harder to go to market. It’s harder to appeal to the younger market of men in their 30s and 40s. Times change. It’s time for me do something else.”

A public sale of the store’s inventory at sharply reduced prices begins at 8:00 a.m., Thursday, Oct. 7. The sale will continue until its entire stock of clothing is sold. The store’s extended business hours will run from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Saturday and 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Sunday.

Fields, located at 106 E. Fifth St., began under a grander name: The Great Western Clothing Emporium. Originally a harness shop and clothier, the emporium evolved into strictly a menswear store over time.

“Back in those days, every county in the state had at least one menswear store and most had two or three,” Petitgout said, noting that Cedar County had three men’s clothing stores well into the 1960s. “But this store was something special for a community of Tipton’s size.”

Petitgout, who had been working at local grocery store since he was 14, started working at Fields in 1967 as a 22-year-old. Keith Fields hired Petitgout when Keith’s partner, Herm Leabhart retired that year. Keith then changed the name to Fields Mens Wear and Petitgout kept the name after he took over in January 1990.

Petitgout has seen fashions and fads come and go. “They all laugh about leisure suits, but we didn’t laugh at the time. They sold like a house on fire,” he recalled.

One challenge for Main Street menswear stores, Petitgout notes, is the long-running trend of casual clothes. A Fields mainstay has been the strong demand for tuxedos at prom time and the demand for new shirts and ties for homecoming and other dances.

“I’ve waited on the grandparents, parents and now the kids. It’s good to see them dressed up – they do look so nice – but that lasts for just one day,” he said.

When Petitgout entered the clothing trade a pair of Levi Strauss jeans cost $5, neckties and belts sold for $1.50 and a brand name suit would retail for $85. Store buyers would gather at the Hotel Fort Des Moines to buy from wholesalers. Today, the dwindling numbers of independents travel to Minneapolis to meet with suppliers.

“Everybody asks, ‘Is this one of a kind?’ That’s what they kid me about. It’s going to be in my obituary,” Petitgout laughed. “But merchandise doesn’t come by the piece. It comes by the dozen, and that makes it harder for the independent store to appeal to customers, too.”

Petitgout notes the industry seems to run in 10-year cycles. The 1970s were the go-go years followed by a decade of the worst Iowa economy since the Depression years. Business rebounded strongly in the 1990s and 1997 was “probably the biggest year we’ve ever had here.” The new century got off to a mediocre start but consumer confidence stalled with the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

“People have been scared about what’s going to happen next. There’s no optimism. In the ‘80s, we had optimism that tomorrow was going to be a better day and the ‘90s were better,” Petitgout said. “So, let’s hope it changes and 2011 brings us back strong.”

However consumers feel about the future, Tipton’s next decade will start without a men’s clothing store for the first time since before the Civil War.

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