Sunday, March 13, 2005

Retail success: Michael's Fine Clothes

In 1905, Theodore Roosevelt was president, Albert Einstein introduced his Special Theory of Relativity, Greta Garbo was born in Stockholm, and a young Russian immigrant named Michael Novorr opened a business in downtown Kansas City, selling everything from diamond engagement rings to shotguns to a few men's suits.

Michael's survived on regular downtown foot traffic for years, but when most stores relocated to the suburbs in the late 1960s and '70s, the loyal customers made it a destination location and saved them the high overhead of stores in malls.
“About 95 percent of the people coming through the door will buy something; in a mall about 95 percent are just looking,” Eugene Novorr said.
Michael's has expanded four times and serves three generations in its original location. It offers suits; fine clothing; casual wear, including jeans, accessories and outwear; and formalwear for men in a wide variety of sizes, along with boy's suits.

The store is also known for its charity golf tournament, Michael's Invitational, which has raised more than $1 million for such charities as Children's Mercy Hospital since the mid-1970s.

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