Monday, January 4, 2010

Pat's Mens Wear (formal wear) Closes

Pat Formal Wear closes shop

A landmark men's clothing store that has dressed thousands of Montrealers since the end of the Second World War has closed its doors for good.

Pat Formal Wear opened at 5425 Verdun St. in 1947. (Google)

Pat Formal Wear on Verdun Street rang up its final sale on Thursday, after 62 years of haberdashery service to teenaged boys and men in search of stylish threads.

For years, the modest family-owned shop in Montreal's western Verdun borough ran a robust business outfitting men in dapper suits and tuxedos, for sale or for rent.

But with the advent of cheap mall clothing, sales have slowly declined in recent years, said Brian Mullins, one of two owners at the store.

The competition proved to be too much, Mullins told CBC.

"It's coming from shopping centres. Then they put meters on the streets, then the Royal Bank closed next door. Everything is changing."

Mullins, who runs the store with his brother Barry, said their retail demise isn't isolated. Verdun was once home to 16 men's clothing stores — now there are two.

Their father, Patrick Mullins, opened the store in 1947, and sold it to his sons after running the shop for three decades.

Brian Mullins estimates that he's taught hundreds and hundreds of men how to tie a tie in his 32 years working at the shop.

Hundreds and hundreds of Montreal teenagers have rented prom tuxedos here over the years. (CBC)

That kind of personal service bred loyal clients, many of whom visit the store regularly just to say hello.

"Whenever I'm in Verdun, I'm dropping by, and I've been dropping by, my goodness, for 20 years," said Ivan Livingstone, who was a Montreal Alouettes receiver from 1957 to 1960.

"To find another place like this will be difficult," said James Watson, another longtime customer.

"It certainly leaves a big hole in the community, especially in Verdun, because it was so well known," said Barry Holdbrook, who shopped at Pat Formal Wear for more than four decades.

The Mullins have liquidated most of their stock and say they will donate everything else to charity

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