COLONIAL HEIGHTS — Adolph’s Men’s and Women’s Clothing store in Colonial Heights is closing after 57 years in business.
James Ruble, co-owner of the business, is retiring. Glen Hearns, his business partner and co-owner, died in July.
Ruble, 75, started working at the business in 1961 when the store was located in Petersburg and called Shevel’s.
“They hired me there at 75 cents an hour,” Ruble said at the store Friday. “I went to work there between my junior and senior year in high school, and I’ve been here ever since.”
Adolph Jacob Kocen bought the business in 1971 and changed the name to Adolph’s. Kocen, who died in 2002, sold the business to Ruble and Hearns in 1991.
“We stayed in Petersburg five more years, then we moved across the [Appomattox] river in 1996,” Ruble said.
The store at 648-B Southpark Blvd. in the Southgate Square shopping center sells ready-to-wear suits, shirts, casual men’s clothing such as shorts and polo shirts, shoes and accessories. Most merchandise is moderately priced, but there are some higher-end items such as suits by Hart Schaffner Marx that sell for about $800.
There is also a small selection of women’s clothing.
The store is having a going-out-of-business sale. It should close in the next couple of months. Ebidlocal.com is handling the liquidation. Ruble said he did try to find a buyer for the business, but nothing came of it.
The menswear industry has changed significantly in the nearly 60 years Ruble has worked in the business. So have society’s rules about the need to dress up, he said.
“We have been through the leisure suit craze, which put every man in America in a dress-up outfit,” Ruble said. “Guys that would never set foot in a men’s store came in and bought a leisure suit to wear out to dinner with his wife. That ended. Suits have always been a big part of our business — sport coats and stuff.”
People dress much more casually now, Ruble said, even wearing Bermuda shorts to church, for instance.
“We’ve diversified. We carry shorts. We carry flip-flops. We carry everything,” Ruble said.
There’s still a market for dress-up wear, he added. Prom season was a busy time for the store.
Customer Larry Heidorn was at the store Friday picking up a pair of pants that had been hemmed. His family has been shopping at the store probably since the late 1960s, he said.
“I’m fashionably challenged,” he said, pointing to his attire of a T-shirt and shorts.
“You can see I dressed myself today. But Glen and Rube, they can put things together for you,” said Heidorn, referring to Ruble by his nickname.
The store’s long-term employees affected by the closing are bookkeeper Louise Fischer, tailor Lou Goodwyn and salesman Roy Hodges.