When she heard that House of Adam Men’s Wear was going out of business, Madisonville resident Constance Jones felt sick.
It’s where she has purchased dress clothes for her husband and her other male relatives for the past 40 years. She shopped there before every wedding, every cruise they went on and every special occasion.
She could find cheaper clothes in a department store, she said, but not clothes that made her husband look sharp with a flair.
Jones was one of several hundred loyal customers who packed the store at 622 Vine St. last Friday, looking for bargains as the business liquidated. More than 350 showed up on Thursday, the first day of the sale, said Dale Bumpus, the onsite representative for Denver-based G.A. Wright Sales Inc., which was hired to run the liquidation sale.
Shopping at House of Adam was a tradition passed down from father to son, grandson and great-grandson, said Hugo Perrotta, one of the store’s longtime managers, the other being George Paraska. “We’ve got four generations of customers,” Perrotta said.
Owner Stanley Gray opened the store 61 years ago when he purchased it from the former Adam Hat Stores, where he was an employee – hence the House of Adam name. It was originally at Sixth and Vine, but Gray moved it a few doors up the street a few years later.
He stayed in business, catering to a predominantly African-American clientele, by stocking high-end clothing and by selling hats, shoes and other accessories that could be color-coordinated with suits, so customers had to make only one stop for a complete outfit.
He had to offer something really special to get customers to make a special trip to his store, he said.
He’s closing the business because he also owns the building that houses House of Adam and a Check Smart store next door. At 88, he was tired of the responsibility of building maintenance, he said, so he decided to sell it. He said the new owner plans to lease the first floor for retail and the upper floors for apartments.
Asked who the new owner was, he referred WCPO to his real estate agent, who declined to comment because he said the sale had not closed.
Gray declined to reveal the sale price (at this writing, the property was still listed in Gray’s name on the Hamilton County auditor’s website.) He has until mid-April to vacate the building, he said, and the sale will continue through March 31.
He said he felt OK about closing the business.
“Been there, done that,” he said. “How long can you keep going?”