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Small Business Spotlight: Harry Mayer Clothiers

40 years of family service

Son and namesake running the business just like his dad

The late Harry Mayer Sr. immigrated to the United States from Germany at 17. He couldn’t speak a word of English when he settled with relatives in Meridian.

But after working for 34 years at a local department store, Mayer opened his own shop, Harry Mayer Clothiers in 1972.

In 1980, his son and namesake, Harry Mayer Jr., joined him in the business, which remains open today selling men’s and women’s apparel.

“We’ve been very fortunate,” Mayer said.

For 33 years the store was operated downtown until a move five years ago to Mississippi 39.

Mayer said providing great customer service is the key to the store’s survival.

“Customer service is given more lip service than anything else these days, but we are a true relationship store – not a transaction store,” Mayer said. “Since the day we opened, we have had the greatest customers you could ever have. They are more friends than they are our customers.”

Harry Mayer Clothiers offers upscale, unique apparel that can’t be found in department stores or mass merchandisers, Mayer said.

Brands for men include Jack Victor, Patagonia, Southern Tide sportswear, Mountain Hardwear, Mountain Khakis, Gitman Brothers shirts, Cole Haan shoes, Scott Barber, Peter Millar and Chaco.

Opened as a men’s shop, the store began offering ladies apparel in 1997 and has had success selling contemporary sportswear for ladies like footwear by Ugg and premium denims like Paige Premium Denim and Citizens of Humanity.

Mayer has seen the market move from a tailored look to a dressy-casual or very casual fashion. He noted that 90 percent of the suits sold in the store today are bought for social occasions rather than business.

“As the years have gone by the world’s gotten more casual,” he said.

Offering casual, contemporary clothing allows Harry Mayer Clothiers to serve a younger clientele.

“Our outdoor segment has given the company great energy,” he said. “Comfort is of high importance now, from the way you dress to the shoe on your foot.”

Having the right personnel is also important to the success of Harry Mayer Clothiers, Mayer said.

He said Amy Kamper, who runs ladies apparel, is his right arm, and said he couldn’t survive without David Jenkins, who’s been with the company for 38 years in men’s sales. Monte Ellis has been with the company for years, and the store’s tailor, Beverly Burns, can “make anything in the world with a needle and thread.”

“We’re in a high service-oriented business, and we try to attract people who share our culture and values,” he said. “We have a servant’s heart.”

“We’re very, very blessed. The good Lord has been mighty good to us.”

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