ANTIOCH, Ill. – The decision to retire has prompted the co-owners of Four Squires, a men’s and women’s clothier that has been a local retail mainstay for many years, to announce a quitting business sale.
“The one thing I love about this business more than anything else is working with people. If someone asked what am I going to miss the most — it’s the relationships,” said Lance Hansen, who co-owns the store with his wife, Sue. “Knowing the moms and dads, the kids and even the grandkids, you get to know them as a family. I’m sure there are other businesses where that happens, but that’s the thing I’ll miss the most.”
The store’s inventory sale opens to the public on Thursday, May 15. Four Squires, located at 414 Lake St., will be open 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Thursday, 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Saturday and 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Sunday during the sale.
While the timelines of the Antioch store and Hansen’s career in retail clothing coincide, the two didn’t connect until 2007. The store was part of the Four Squires chain that included at least eight stores in Illinois.
Hansen started his career as a buyer for the Four Squires chain in the early 1970s and he and his wife purchased its DeKalb store in 1977. “The fashions I’ve seen start with the Nehru jacket, going to leisure suits right through to today’s relaxed style. The fashion changes have been tremendous with some of the short-lived things, but that’s been the fun of it,” he said.
The Hansens closed the DeKalb, Ill., store in 2002 and moved to the Antioch area, where they worked at the local store. They later purchased the store. “The owner and I had been partners in the Four Squires buying group. when he decided to retire, he closed the store and we re-opened it in April 2007,” Hansen explained.
He praised the Antioch Chamber of Commerce, the support and camaraderie of other local businesses and called the community “a terrific place to have a business.”
“Everybody loves coming to this town because it’s a quaint, neat little city with great restaurants and a nice mix of retail. We are one of the last survivors of independent clothing stores. More people come into this store and say, ‘I remember when I had stores like this where I grew up’ and that’s why it hurts me to leave,” Hansen said. “I hate to leave them. I don’t want to say I’m abandoning them but I feel I am.”
He reserved his highest praise for his wife, Sue, and two employees, Jan Kurath and Jessica Merrill. Sue Hansen had not had retail responsibilities until the 2007 purchase. She served as Four Squires’ women’s wear buyer and merchandiser.
“I’ve been really blessed with terrific employees,” Hansen said. “When you think of a business and how it survives, it’s not just the owner. It’s the people who work there who make it successful.”
Hansen expects his next challenge finding a niche where he can continue to be involved with people. “I will find something,” he smiled.