Bowen Brothers closing store after 31 years | Arts & Culture
Tailored suits, trendy ties, and shirts drew the attention of many customers when Harry Bowen, and his brother George, rented a space on Mulberry Street in 1983.
"We were the fifth men's store in downtown Macon. Now, when we close there won't be one at all," said Bowen.
Bowen says he started thinking about retirement two years ago. Last month, he made the decision.
"The first thing I'm looking forward to is taking off two weeks. I've never been off two weeks in my adult life," he said.
He says his new leisure time won't replace what he calls the easiest part of running a store. His relationship with customers made everything special. It even drew them in to do more than shop. Guys would often gather to watch sports on a TV that sits in a corner of the store.
"The love of sports and the love of downtown, and a little gossip. Everybody wants a little bit of gossip. People just felt really calm and comfortable here," he explained.
Bowen says learning about the closing shook that calm feeling for many customers and employees.
"They've got mixed emotions. They're kind of proud on one side, but they're sad to see us go," said Bowen.
After many years in the business, Bowen says the way men shop for clothing is different.
"They just don't dress like men did at one time," he said.
He says younger generations are trading suits for jeans, and dress shirts for tees, and they don't have to leave home to do that.
"There was no online shopping at all. You had to come to a brick-and-mortar location," Bowen said.
He says he isn't opposed to shopping online, and would have encouraged today's technology when his store first opened.
"Yeah, we would have jumped right on it," said Bowen.
He says his retirement will give him time to jump into a different challenge. He'll bring custom tailor shows to town. It will allow him to continue to do what he loves, but outside the store.
Bowen Brothers Clothier is scheduled to close Friday, January 24th. Bowen is looking to host his first custom tailor show a month later.