It wasn’t a uniform, but it could have been. When Paul and Ruby Eickhoff started the business that eventually became Paul’s Menswear more than 50 years ago, most men wanted to buy black, charcoal, navy, or brown pants; white, blue, or cream shirts; work jeans; and suits.
Yet a lot has changed in men’s fashion since 1963. Paul’s Menswear offers a wide selection of seasonal men’s clothing from head to toe, and these days, some younger men are interested in bold bow ties and trim-styled suits with side vents. Wicking shirts in bright and neutral colors are offered at Paul’s. Those who like a more regular, relaxed, or loose fit can find those styles, too, at the store located at 2225 W. Franklin St.
Opened as Abel’s Menswear in the 1930s, Paul’s Menswear was first located in the 2100 block of W. Franklin St. Paul Eickhoff had worked for Art Abel before purchasing the business in 1963. Since then, the store has moved three times to accommodate a larger inventory. The family also wanted its own building. It’s now owned by Paul’s children Steve Eickhoff, John Eickhoff, Carol Stocker, and Joan Bauer. Steve is the president of the company, John is the vice president, Steve’s wife, Shawn, is the treasurer, and Brian Eickhoff (son of Steve and Shawn) is very involved in the business.
“He wanted to do it,” Shawn says of her husband’s decision to go into the family business in the early 1980s. Steve had worked in the store when he was in high school. “He loved working with people,” she says. “Brian works with us now, and that’s what he wanted to do when he came back from college.” Even when Brian was in college, he intended to work in the store.
“We are mostly family,” Shawn says. “Right now we have the third generation in, and we’re not sure about the fourth generation, but he’s already asking customers, ‘Can I help you?” Laughing, she’s talking about Brian’s 3-year-old son, Auggie.
The family appreciates the business’ Franklin Street legacy. “It’s a neat place to be,” Shawn says, referring to the vibrancy of the historic location. “And, it’s neat to have the activity.”
“We have a lot of loyal customers,” Shawn says. “But we are always picking up new ones.”