Eli of Troy Menswear in Troy displays signs in December announcing its upcoming closure. The store has a 50-year history in the city, according to owner Randy Norman.

Eli of Troy Menswear in Troy displays signs in December announcing its upcoming closure. The store has a 50-year history in the city, according to owner Randy Norman.

Photo by Deb Jacques


After more than 50 years, Troy menswear store to close

By: Eric Czarnik | Troy Times | Published January 15, 2021

 Pairs of Johnston & Murphy shoes are marked 50% off prior to the store’s closure.

Pairs of Johnston & Murphy shoes are marked 50% off prior to the store’s closure.

Photo by Deb Jacques

 Joyce Richardson, of Rochester Hills, a store customer for 30-plus years, right, shops while store owner Randy Norman, left, talks to her about the store’s closing.

Joyce Richardson, of Rochester Hills, a store customer for 30-plus years, right, shops while store owner Randy Norman, left, talks to her about the store’s closing.

Photo by Deb Jacques

Advertisement

TROY — The end of 2020 passed with many goodbyes, and one of them includes the end of a longstanding men’s clothing store in Troy.

Eli of Troy Menswear, which was located along Rochester Road, near East Long Lake Road, had a closing day of Dec. 31, according to owner Randy Norman. The store sold menswear — everything from dresswear, casualwear and sportswear to shoes, suits and sweaters.

Norman, 64, said the store has been part of the Troy business community for around 50 years. He said he has been at the store for 41 out of the store’s 50-year history, adding that he took over the company’s leadership around 25 years ago.

Norman said one of the best things about the business’s longevity is that the families he took care of years ago have come back with grandkids.

“It’s the end of an era,” he said. “I’m going to miss all the customers. They’re going to miss me and my service. There’s not a lot of men’s stores anymore. It’s going to be difficult for them, but I’m going to appreciate all their patronage and support.”

But as is the case for many small businesses, the effects of the coronavirus pandemic also weighed in his decision to shut down.

“It’s a combination of COVID, people not going to work and not dressing up — especially not dressing up. No weddings, no events,” he said. “Guys don’t dress, so those are really the two combinations of what created it.”

Norman said he didn’t qualify for an emergency disaster loan from a bank. Neither could he obtain COVID-related government grants for small businesses, he added.

“I’m too small,” he explained. “It’s me and a tailor. ... There were no grants for a guy as small as me. I’m smaller than a small business: We only employ two people.”

While Norman said he believes the economy will come back eventually, he said his store planned to close Dec. 31. He said his lease was up for the year, and he was “ready to retire” too. He said, just before Christmas, that he wanted to get rid of his remaining inventory by the year’s end, with a “Plan B” or “Plan C” involving selling the unsold merchandise online.

In a text message, Troy Mayor Ethan Baker said Troy has over 6,000 businesses, and many of them are classified as small businesses.

“We know these important community members have been hurting because of COVID-19 and they will continue to face so many challenges in 2021,” Baker said.

“We are fortunate to have a strong and helpful Troy Chamber of Commerce to partner with and the city is committed to helping our small businesses however they need it.

“I’m hopeful this year will allow us to have some sense of returned normalcy and I look forward to doing whatever I can to promote and support Troy’s wonderful business community!”

Advertisement