Larry McDaniel, owner and operator, said “you can’t put a price” on the customer relationships developed over the years.
McDaniel and Town Squire are celebrating 35 years of providing quality men’s apparel.
McDaniel got his start in men’s retail clothing at the age of 14 in May 1967. He worked part-time for his uncle, Bill Ledford, at the old Cleveland Men’s Store. McDaniel worked for Ledford through high school.
In 1970 McDaniel went to work for Daniel Davis at the Village Esquire in the Village Shopping Center.
He attributes his success in the retail business to four men — Ledford, Davis, Max Carroll and Richard Norman.
“Ledford taught me how to sell; Davis taught me neatness and organization, and Carroll gave me the financial opportunity, along with Richard Norman who was at that time president of Cleveland National Bank.”
In 1977, McDaniel teamed with Max Carroll to start The Town Squire. McDaniel was the managing partner. In December 2011, Max Carroll passed away unexpectedly and McDaniel lost his longtime friend and business partner. “I will always be grateful for the friendship and business opportunity that Max gave me” said McDaniel. “I will always be indebted to the Carroll family — Patsy, David and John,” states McDaniel.
“My first customers on Aug. 12, 1977, were Mrs. Lawson who bought some shirts and the late Joe Duggan, who bought a tie,” McDaniel said.
He appreciates the relationships that have grown over the years with his customers. “You don’t want to forget the customers who help build your business.”
McDaniel credits “relationships, customer service and being appreciative of customers” as part of the reason his business has thrived over the years. McDaniel’s experienced staff of over 22 years, Tom Rawlings, and of over six years, Ben Inscore, contribute to this as well.
In 1977, he started out with a 2,000-square-foot store. He expanded it to 3,000 square feet in 1980-81. The growth in popularity of formal attire prompted expansion to 4,000 square feet in 1989.
The additions were necessary “to accommodate my customers and to stay progressive in my business,” McDaniel said.
“You can’t put a price on referrals,” he said. “People who stay with you through the years become friends. It’s not all monetary. You can’t put a price on friends.”
McDaniel said there have been drastic changes in the shopping arena. “Shopping used to be tied to Friday and Saturday … now it’s a seven-day week. There are more opportunities for shopping due to technological advancements like online shopping. It makes it harder. The Town Squire’s dedication to customer service and quality tailored clothing is what gives us the advantage over other shopping entities. It’s hard to find our personal service in today’s stores and it is nonexistent in online shopping.”
In the early years of the business, there was a lot of polyester and synthetics.
“It has come back into natural fibers, wool and wool blends and finer cotton goods.”
He notes clothing is now offered in many non-iron fabrics today, which is very popular.
The Town Squire specializes in apparel for men that range from designer business suits to business casual to sportswear. They also carry accessories — ties, hats, colognes and underwear.
The sportswear line includes Cutter & Buck, Bills Khakis, Gitman, Polo, Southern Tide, Peter Millar, Southern Point Co., Vineyard Vines and High Cotton. In business attire, gentlemen can choose from superior quality and workmanship in products by Austin Reed, Warren Sewell, and Hart Schaffner & Marx.
Customers can put their feet into dress and casual shoes from Sebago, Florsheim, Rockport, Cole Haan, Merrell, SAS, Allen-Edmonds and Alden. The Town Squire also offers house slippers by L.B. Evans — a product hard to find.
For formal occasions, The Town Squire has tuxedos by Jim’s Formalwear, Knights by Town Squire, Walker’s and Geno’s.
McDaniel said they have apparel in all sizes — regular, big and tall. The store also does special orders.
“We have alterations. We have one day turnaround, or within 48 hours,” he said for the convenience of the customer.
During the 35th anniversary celebration at The Town Squire, there are many items on sale. On July 28, a drawing will be held for a Yeti Cooler by Southern Tide. The 35th anniversary celebration will conclude with a drawing on Aug. 25 for a Hart Schaffner & Marx Suit. Customers do not have to be present to win. No purchase necessary — come in and register.
McDaniel is very involved in the community. He is a member of the United Way Pillars Club and serves on the board at Southern Heritage Bank. He is also a member of the Chamber of Commerce, where he has served on the board in past years as well. He teaches the Faithful Worker Sunday School class at Waterville Baptist Church. He has also served as an assistant treasurer with the Bradley Baptist Association.
In 1996, McDaniel was named Small Business Retailer of the Year.
He is also a member of the Noonday Rotary club of Cleveland.
McDaniel said he tries to apply the Rotary’s Four-Way Test to his business. They are “Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and better friendships? Will it be beneficial to all concerned?”
“You never want to forget where you came from and where you are going” McDaniel said.
“I would be remiss not to mention my late father, Hubert L. McDaniel and my mother Betty for all that they taught me. They both influenced me at an early age to always keep God the center of my life and to always be thankful for what I have. They taught me to do everything in life with integrity, honesty, and hard work. I will always be grateful for those lifelong lessons Dad and Mom taught me.
“I thank all my customers, family and friends over the last 35 years for your loyalty and support of The Town Squire. A special thank you to my wife of over 40 years, Linda McDaniel, who has supported me in my business endeavors as well as my daughters and son-in-laws Jonathan & Tennille Jobe and Ben and Tiffany Inscore. I can’t forget my grandsons Chandler, Tyler, Trae and Cameron.”
The Town Squire l is open 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and closed on Sundays.