Thongs for larger men? Life lessons from a big-and-tall retailer

After 35 years of serving the big and tall community, Ed Huffman will be closing his doors and retiring.Biz Beat

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 After 35 years of serving the big and tall community, Ed Huffman will be closing his doors and retiring. Marty Bicek mbicek@modbee.com

Huffman has been toying with the idea of retiring for some time – a local attorney’s offer to buy the building made him decide the time was right. He plans to keep busy, working as a personal clothier to some of his longtime customers, using a mobile app rather than a showroom.

We talked this week about his history in retail (“Talk about on-the-job training,” he said), hiring a company to help him close down the store (“I only know how to keep it running”), and the keys to success in small business (“treating people right, getting to know your customers … and being honest”)

I also asked Huffman about his most interesting customer interaction. He said that definitely had to be from a woman who was in search of thongs for men in larger sizes. That’s not something he had stocked, so he inquired if this customer had found them elsewhere. Oh, yes, she said, she’d bought them several times over the years.

“Finally, I figured out she was talking about flip-flops,” he said, laughing.

The closing sale begins on Thursday, Oct. 27. Huffman’s, 1203 14th St., will be open 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays, 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

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