EAST BRUNSWICK–Providing the community with quality men’s formalwear and casualwear for more than 30 years, The Clothing Center will move to a new location this summer.
Owner Steve Worby said the store first opened in 1986 but has been in East Brunswick even longer.
“We have been in business since 1978. This is going to be our second move. We were originally directly across the street,” Worby said. “There was an old Robert Hall building, which was also a men’s clothing store that we moved into and opened in January 1978 and we were there for approximately nine years. We lost our lease there and we were able to move into [our current location], which was actually a vacant Chuck E. Cheese’s [family entertainment center].”
After doing demolition work, Worby said they created the store that residents see today, which is 16,400 square feet. It is located on the side of the old Kmart Plaza building at 645 Route 18.
The store sells suits, formalwear, socks, shoes, clothing for big and tall men, boys clothing, Bar Mitzvah entire, ties, casual wear, tuxedos, shirts, sportswear and accessories, according to Worby.
Worby said The Clothing Center is basically a store that never says no.
“It’s part of our DNA and our DNA is that everything we do here is based on absolute customer service, which a lot of people in this world have forgotten. … This store is old school. Everyone here that works in this store has only sold men’s clothing their entire life,” Worby said. “There are probably over 300 years of men’s clothing experiences that work in this store and when someone comes and says to us ‘I have a problem, I have an affair Saturday night and it’s a Thursday and I went into my closet and nothing fit right, can you help me? the answer is always, ‘Yes.'”
After 33 years remaining in its current location, Worby said the store will move to its new location sometime in the mid-summer. The new store will be further up on the side of the former Kmart Plaza building and the store’s address will remain the same.
“This building was purchased about a year-and-a-half ago and the gentlemen who bought the building had major plans to turn this into, and it will be when it’s finished, the nicest building on Route 18,” Worby said. “There will be three stores facing the front of Route 18. We know that the only one that has been rented so far is Crunch Fitness. [Due to] the entire building being reconfigured, the back of this building including where we are now, at about 85,000 square feet, is going to be CubeSmart self-storage.”
Worby said currently, the new owner is working around his store to keep it open until they are ready to move into their new location. Once the store moves, the owner will then complete the renovations in the back of the building.
“So he is giving us that chance to stay open, where it would have been much easier for him to have us out of here [and] do everything that he needed us to do, but he is being a true gentleman,” Worby said. “Most building owners would have thrown us out, but he understood who we are, what we do and what we are to the community which, was a very nice gesture on his part.”
Worby said the new location will have windows and will be 6,000 square feet, which is smaller compared to its current 16,400 square foot store.
“That is one of the reasons for the moving sale. We can’t fit all [our merchandise] into the new store. So we have to sell down as much merchandise as we can and we are offering the public incredible values on what we are not moving because it must be sold,” Worby said. “On top of our everyday value pricing, we are offering all the moving merchandise to 60% off.”
Worby said the moving sale is currently taking place and will continue until they are ready to move into their new location.
Worby said when the community reaches out to the store for donations they never say no. For instance, he said that when officials from East Brunswick High School contacted the store to ask for 75 zipper bags for the marching band, they donate them.
When prom season comes around, Worby said, “We are the recommended vendor for seven different high schools for their prom, so we are very busy right now. … Everybody here is treated the same way, whether they’re here to buy a pair of socks or spend $10,000 on an entire wardrobe, they’re treated actually the same way.”
Worby said the store even gets calls from other department stores if they have a customer who needs a suit that it does not have.
Worby credited the store’s manager, Vlad Savin, with helping tremendously with the move.
“I was thinking that maybe this would be the start of my retirement, but Savin had told me about his interest going forward that he at some point in time would like to be the owner of this store and keep the legacy going,” Worby said. “So Savin is my exit strategy down the line. When we do move, Savin is going to become a small equity partner and at some point, in the next five or six years Savin is going to purchase the business from me … and I will be able to slowly step away and Savin will continue the legacy.”
Becoming an incredible addition to the store, Worby said, “[Savin] is a young guy, he has a passion like I have a passion for this business since I started it, and everybody who works with him comes up to me and says, ‘Oh my God he is terrific, we love him [and] he is great.'”
Seeking to keep the store’s legacy alive, Savin said, “It’s a privilege and an honor to even be considered [as the future owner] because Worby has been doing this for a very long time, so obviously I’ve been doing something right that he sees the potential in me. I love what I do, I love waking up and coming here every single day. … I love what I do and every day I work with a lot of different people and I think that is part of the appeal of this job and I just want to keep doing that going forward.”
Preparing to move into the new store, Savin said he has, “overall excitement and not just for myself but for everyone. The store being here for 33 years is a testament that we are doing something right here but at the same time, it’s nice to put a fresh coat of paint on it basically. Where we update the store and it looks nice and pretty now and honestly we just want to do more of the same in terms of helping people out when it comes to last-minute shopping.”
Savin said there are a lot of young men who come into the store who don’t know how to dress or even how to wear a suit.
“It’s always nice when you can teach them something and then you see them come back and like I want to say a better person for it or at least a more knowledgeable person for it and more prepared for what life has to throw at them,” Savin said.
Contact Vashti Harris at firstname.lastname@example.org.