Harleys: The Store for Men
- 3565 N. Oakland Ave.
- Shorewood, WI 53211
Celebrating 60 Years of Retail Excellence
1948-2008 - Setting High Standards in Men’s Fashion
A 60-year birthday is always a milestone. And it’s even more significant when an independent business turns 60. This year, Harleys: The Store for Men in Shorewood, Wisconsin, is celebrating six decades as a Milwaukee destination for fashion-conscious men. Situated in its original location on North Oakland Avenue in Shorewood’s vibrant business district, Harleys was founded in 1948 by brothers Harold and Stanley Dubman (who combined their first names to christen their store). The shop started as a small haberdashery and then expanded in the 1960s into its current larger quarters.
Tim Ryan, Harleys’ current owner, was born the same year Harleys was founded, and started working in the store in 1968 while a student at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Ryan worked his way up the retail ranks gaining a through understanding of selling, merchandising and buying. By 1987, when the Dubmans were ready to sell, he was well-prepared to take over. Ryan and former business partner, Tom Brill, jumped at the opportunity to be co-owners of the store. When Brill retired in 1999, Ryan became president and sole owner.
Today Harleys is one of the leading men’s specialty stores in Wisconsin. While men’s fashions have seen trends such as leisure suits, Nehru jackets, bell-bottom pants and disco dressing, Harleys has succeeded by staying the course and offering the finest menswear for office, casual or formal occasions. Harleys describes its merchandise as “handsome, quality garments that have no fear of time.” Although Harleys’ quality has never changed, the store is always on top of fashion swings. Currently, “dressing down” in the business world has created new opportunities to answer the need for more casual corporate apparel.
Harleys features an extensive selection of apparel for the discriminating male: shirts to shoes; outerwear to underwear; suits and sweaters; slacks and sportcoats and everything in between including a complete line of accessories to complement and complete a man’s wardrobe - as well as a selection of elegant formal wear and tuxedo rentals. “Our merchandise is always fresh and appealing and on the leading edge of fashion,” Ryan says. The store also offers a full array of custom apparel for men of all sizes.
The cornerstone of Harleys’ success is personal attention. “We have an unwavering commitment to superior customer service,” Ryan explains. “I don’t think any store provides the kind of special treatment we give our customers. Besides, we have services most stores just don’t offer any more.” Ryan explains that the store still has its own in-house tailors who have crafted garments for Harleys for years. “They bring an old-world art, as well as a science, to fitting garments. Many of our customers know our tailors personally.”
In today’s highly competitive retail environment, Harleys continues to be successful because the store takes a very creative approach to marketing and exploring new services to keep customers coming back and attracting new business. “Some of our most popular incentives,” notes Ryan, “include a Birthday Club, an e-News Club, regular postcard mailings for special events and trunk shows, custom services, sizing for hard-to-fit customers, and our annual, full-color Harleys’ magazine showcases the latest fashion trends.”
Another important part of Harleys’ mission is supporting the community. The store stages its own annual golf outing to benefit the Great Lakes Hemophilia Foundation, and participates in numerous fashion shows to benefit causes, including the Boys and Girls Club of Milwaukee, the Milwaukee Symphony and Gilda’s Club.
So what do the next years hold for Harleys? “To continue to offer excellent customer service and quality products to the community that has supported the business for more than three generations,” says Ryan. “I’m very grateful for our succ