Fashion forward: J. Longs remodels, expands showroom | Millennial
At the contemporary way of living shop that is J. Longs, group members have a singular purpose: giving what it takes for their customers to look great and dwell effectively.
“Selling outfits may well not feel like lifestyle-switching operate, but it is a blessing to be capable to support our clients and make their life easier,” said Aaron Jones, a single of four J. Longs partners (along with Matt Extensive, Jim Lengthy and Judy Prolonged).
“The enjoyment section arrives from all the fantastic people we provide — which is what helps make it worthy of it.”
With an optimal shopper practical experience in head, the J. Longs crew recently concluded a remodeling venture in their keep at 1640 Madison Ave., Mankato, where by they have been situated due to the fact September 2017.
“Our fifth anniversary in this article is approaching, and it is been an astounding locale for us,” explained Jones.
Due to their escalating small business, J. Longs opted to reconfigure a number of partitions and repositioned the tailor store to acquire an extra 1,000 sq. ft of showroom spot alongside with an expanded purchaser company counter.
In the procedure, they improved lighting in the course of the space and created a “men’s zone” for fits, sport coats and accoutrements, with extra dressing rooms to boot.
The latter have been necessary due to the fact, considering the fact that they began featuring match acquire deals 12 several years back (in lieu of leasing tuxedos/fits), J. Longs now outfits about 250 marriage events annually. Which is in addition to the continual visitors they see from business professionals and other adult males looking for satisfies for funerals, official gatherings, proms and related instances.
“There are not a whole lot of sites in the location to obtain excellent suits, and we needed to have a focused room for that,” claimed Jones.
“We household the most important variety of fits and sport coats south of the metro, and our assistance and collection are on par with a lot of the large gamers in the Cities.”
Satisfies and skilled menswear may well be at the roots of J. Longs’ origin tale, but in the latest yrs the business has distribute its wings.
Nowadays, a vast array of women’s clothing—from athleisure to organization wear—is also in inventory, as are casual wardrobe products for guys. A substantial variety of life-style store goods are section of the store’s existing business enterprise model, much too.
In 1985, Jim and Judy Prolonged moved to Mankato and opened a Knight’s Chamber shop in the Madison East Shopping mall.
When the River Hills Shopping mall was designed, the Longs traveled a pair miles east with their array of satisfies, activity coats, belts, shoes, ties, slacks and far more.
By 2005, they made a decision to rebrand the organization, deciding upon the name “J. Longs” for evident reasons.
When transferring to a new, greater place inside of River Hills Shopping mall a several a long time later on, the Longs added women’s garments to the men’s options—but that was 2009.
“It was certainly a wonderful idea and a attractive shop, but it was too big for that complicated financial interval,” stated Jones. He and Matt Very long purchased into the small business around that time.
J. Longs was a person of the final family members-owned and operated retailers to depart River Hills Mall, with rising rents remaining a component.
As a substitute, the J. Longs team signed a seven-calendar year lease for a storefront with a a bit more compact footprint throughout Adams Road in the River Area Center and, for individuals a long time, eliminated their women’s stock.
Because obtaining the Madison Avenue building, the associates have developed a nice industrial-present day retail store they’ve delighted in producing their individual.
“We’re seriously delighted with it,” mentioned Jones.
They’re not alone
Shoppers like Mankatoan Brent Busch, vice president of PrimeSource Funding, has been a J. Longs devotee since the shop’s River Hills Shopping mall days — but he loves the new spot.
“The totally free-standing store is good,” stated Busch. “It’s quick to get in and out of, and that will make it easier than ever to store.”
Matt Very long assures that J. Longs will continue to react to marketplace demands and evolving customer requires very long right after their latest constructing update is in the rear-watch mirror.
“The renovation itself is carried out, but we’re not sitting down back to rest on our laurels,” explained Prolonged.
Demo by COVID
Whilst their business enterprise has been, according to Prolonged, increasing “by leaps and bounds” in modern yrs, which is not to say the pandemic left J. Longs unscathed.
With so many people functioning remotely — some dressed in pajamas or sweatpants — the demand for enterprise wear and seasonally up to date wardrobes briefly went by the wayside.
And due to the fact J. Longs was declared a non-important company, the shop endured a shutdown period.
The good thing is for J. Longs, the companions had begun a solution pivot in late 2019, opting to insert women’s outfits, footwear and general way of living products though amping up their offerings in men’s leisure don.
“We manufactured that pivot at just the correct time,” explained Jones.
Soon ahead of the pandemic, they had been approved to have quite a few scorching brand names together with Lululemon, Spanx, Vuori and Alo yoga have on.
“We’re the only area position you can locate Lululemon solutions,” stated Jones.
“And women of all ages love Vuori, Alo and Spanx, which has fantastic perform trousers other than condition have on.”
Jones mentioned their addition of athleisure as well as way of living products was a “big blessing” they could hardly ever have anticipated.
“Even during the shutdown, Matt and I confirmed up every working day,” stated Jones. “We were being creating phone calls, providing deals to doorsteps, because men and women ended up purchasing joggers, leggings, hoodies, quarter-zips, comfortable t-shirts and some candles and gift goods,” Jones claimed.
“We survived executing that.”
Jones factors out that J. Longs is freshly positioned to consider clients by way of the workweek to the weekend to blacktie official activities, although at the same time generating it effortless to shop for birthdays, anniversaries, hostess presents or gift baskets.
High quality items like coffee, Compartes sweets (“They’re a renowned California chocolatier with great treats that include things like specialty chunks of donuts and potato chips—super superior,” Jones endorsed), Fulton + Roark stable colognes (“Those are good for guys who travel for the reason that they can just take scents with them and not be concerned about TSA liquid ounce suggestions,” Jones observed) and candles are all in the combine.
J. Longs proudly carries well-known clothes makes these as the German BRAX, Greyson Clothiers and Mizzen + Most important.
“Mizzen + Major is the variety-just one offering shirt line,” mentioned Jones, mentioning that pro athletes like Phil Mickelson and Kyler Murray are M + M endorsers.
“They have small- and extended-sleeve button-ups that are wrinkle resistant, and their four-way stretch gown shirts are virtually like donning Nike or UnderArmour but in a costume shirt,” Jones explained.
J. Longs’ women’s stock, managed by Brianna Lengthy, is trend-forward equally in experienced looks and everyday moments.
“We have all the things from informal to dressy for the females — blazers, slacks, dresses, denim, footwear and sandals,” shown Jones.
Additional Long, who is the store’s main purchaser, “We never want to be stale but we will be genuine to our core.”
Friends, associates, prospects
The believe in concerning Extensive and Jones dates to their times as misfit cross state runners at Mankato West Higher University.
As Jones recalls it, he was a ninth grader and Very long was an up-and-coming eighth grader when the two to start with became mates.
“When we ended up youthful, we normally talked about opening a sports activities bar alongside one another,” claimed Very long. “We believed that would be so interesting — but this has truly worked out greater.”
Equally are frank that it took time, trial and mistake to figure out whose skills fit far better in which roles.
“The crucial is interaction,” explained Extensive. “There’s very little we’re not willing to communicate about with every other, and sometimes that’s the rough things, but what ever the circumstance is, we can ordinarily place apart the emotions and occur to the greatest resolution.”
Fortuitously, they concur on the most important items: treating their 15 staff like the valued team members they are and excelling at buyer services.
“The experience is large for us,” mentioned Jones. “When anyone walks in the door, we want them to know they are significant to us, to be greeted and to have a real desire revealed in them and their desires.’’
“I genuinely do imagine that is our ‘secret sauce.’”
Which is an spot in which Jim Lengthy definitely led the way.
“The initially factor my dad experienced me do was consider out the trash because he explained I had to know the retail store from the back again to the front,” mentioned Long.
“And he told me the most important matter was to choose treatment of the client.”
J. Longs serves men and women from all over the Mankato space, but regular buyers also hail from factors up to 90 minutes away, coming from northern Iowa, the Twin Metropolitan areas and deep southwestern Minnesota.
“And we have some who have moved to other areas of the nation who have confidence in us sufficient to maintain procuring for them and sending them things,” explained Lengthy.
“They want what we deliver and that would make our day, due to the fact making a connection with our buyers is what we like carrying out.”
Regional regular Busch affirms that the J. Longs personnel aren’t pushy salespeople but are suggestive and handy.
At this place, Busch estimates 95% of his wardrobe things arrive from J. Longs.
“I have confidence in them,” mentioned Busch. “They make positive I seem very good and that things healthy very well, and I know I can rely on them.
“I shell out most times in my experienced gear, but they have some really superb casual things also,” he continued.
“Basically, they force me outside my convenience zone but retain me inside of my professional zone.”
These responses are tunes to the ears of Lengthy and Jones, who delight in serving prospects at no matter what stage they need to have.
“We handle all people with regard, choose them seriously and teach them about the selections,” explained Lengthy.
“We’re below to recommend points and give alternatives — and when you walk out of our retail store, we want you to be pleased.”