Men’s clothing store to close

Published 10:44 pm Monday, November 27, 2017

Sixty-three years after the first customer bought a blazer and a necktie in a little shop at 126 N. Main St., the current menswear shop in that space is preparing to go out of business.

Richardson and Nash Clothiers will shut down the downtown Suffolk store by Dec. 31, said the owners, Bobby Richardson and Scott Nash.

Retail has been declining everywhere, they said, but a move toward casual dress for men is what really caused their business to fold.

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“It’s not just to work,” Nash said. “It’s to church; it’s to funerals. They don’t see a need to wear a suit.”

Scott Nash, left, and Bobby Richardson of Richardson and Nash show off merchandise in the store last week. The men’s clothier will close its store in the historic downtown area at the end of the year.

The two men purchased the shop 19 years ago from G.S. Hobbs, who still owns the building. The business, formerly called G.S. Hobbs Ltd., started in 1954.

Richardson and Nash had both worked for Hobbs for many years — Richardson since 1981, Nash since 1984.

“We knew what we were getting into,” Nash joked.

In recent years, however, business has steadily declined in the face of the move toward casual dress for men. Even though they added some inventory to their selection to account for that, the Internet pushed back, making it easy to buy casual clothing at the click of a button.

“It’s not a bad thing,” Richardson said. “It’s just a change.”

Nash said many have asked where they will go to get tailored suits now. Richardson and Nash was one of the few men’s clothing shops left in the area.

“I wish I had an answer for them,” Nash said. “It can be replaced, but it won’t be replaced by a nicer product.”

Though they lamented the decline of the men’s clothing business, both men said they enjoyed being in the business.

“We got to know our customers and built relationships,” Richardson said. “They’re the thing that have really made it a great business. It wasn’t just selling somebody something.”

Nash said owning the store also gave them freedoms they may not have had otherwise.

“A lot of people in retail, they don’t have the freedom to go do things with their family,” Nash said. “That, to me, was the most valuable part of having the store.”

Everything in the store is at least 25 percent off through the closing date, Richardson said.

Richardson and his wife plan to move to the Eastern Shore, where their two children and one grandchild live. Nash, who has a daughter in college and a son who is recently married, plans to look for work in the area.