Over a century of service with a smile comes to an end

6:05 PM, May 19, 2006   |    comments
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Minnesota became a state in 1858 and "Jim and Joe's" came around in 1877. Not familiar with the name? Well the Faribault clothing store is among the oldest men's clothing stores in Minnesota, in fact it may be "the" oldest or it was, it's closing. In an age where shopping is pretty much an anonymous experience, one stop at Jim and Joe clothing place and you may suddenly see what you're missing. Gary Lazarz required a nudge from a high school assistant principal to find his seemingly natural talent as a salesman. "I was kind of a bad boy in high school and he corralled me in the hallway one day and said you need to do something better with your life and he said go down to Jim and Joe's and apply for a job," recalls Gary Lazarz, now the owner of Jim and Joe Clothing Company. Thirty-five years later the end has come for one of Minnesota's oldest clothing stores, the store opened by Jim And Joe 129 Years Ago. The store Gary Lazarz is now closing. "This has got nothing to do with loosing money, this isn't the end of the earth, but I could see the edge of it," said Lazarz about the decision to close the store. Retailing is changing, Mainstreet stores are being abandoned for malls and big boxes at the edge of town. When Gary started working at Jim and Joe, you could buy a shirt and tie at one of four downtown Faribault stores. Now it's the only one still open, or the last one to close. "We're missing a big part of Faribault with him leaving that's for sure," said one customer sad to see the store close. But it's not just the store they'll miss, but the man who knows each customer by name, "Hey Robert," "Hi Cin." "He's probably got a nickname for everybody in town," laughed one customer. "There is no customer relationship anymore. There should be an art. I mean this is like the golden rule," said Lazarz. Price rules in today's economy, but it's good to stop now and then to see what we're losing. Ask any salesman and they'll tell you, times change, but not always for the better. By Boyd Huppert , KARE 11 News

(Copyright 2006 by KARE. All Rights Reserved)

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