Joe Lesar Menswear joins Records on Wheels, Black Cat
Joe Lesar Menswear will soon become one of three downtown retail businesses — all located within a block of each other — to close its doors early this winter.
Records on Wheels announced last month it will close Jan. 31, while its Durham Street neighbour, Black Cat, suddenly went out of business Jan. 1.
While Black Cat owner John Rutherford cited problems with the downtown as his primary reason for closing, that isn't the case for Tony D'Angelo, who owns Joe Lesar with junior partner Fred Zimmer.
D'Angelo, 72, said it's just time for him to retire.
“I'm old,” he said. “I want to retire, that's all. I just want to enjoy some life.”
He said his future plans are doing “whatever my wife tells me to do.”
Joe Lesar, located on Cedar Street, will close as soon as all of its stock is sold, which D'Angelo said will probably be late this month or early next month. Bargain hunters should note Joe Lesar's products are being sold off at deep discounts.
D'Angelo, who owns the building currently occupied by the clothing store, said he's currently attempting to rent it out to another business.
Despite its impending closure, D'Angelo said Joe Lesar is still doing well.
“Our banker says so because we don't owe them any money,” he said.
He admits, however, that selling upscale men's clothing isn't as lucrative as it used to be, as people don't dress up as much.
D'Angelo said he doesn't want to comment on Rutherford's complaints about the downtown — which range from parking woes to poor snow removal — although he does wonder about the area's future.
From what D'Angelo sees, downtown bars and restaurants are the businesses doing the best.
He said he thinks the newly opened architecture school, located in the former Market Square building, will have a positive impact on downtown businesses.
Joe Lesar has a long history in the downtown. It was started by Joe Lesar Sr. in 1947, and D'Angelo started working there in 1963. D'Angelo became part-owner of the business with Joe Lesar Jr. in 1968, and moved it to its current location in 1972.
He said many customers have told him they're disappointed that he's closing. Displaying his typical humour, D'Angelo said he usually quips, “Hello? You've been retired for 20 years. Is it my turn?”
Still, going out of business is difficult, because he's had a lot of fun at Joe Lesar over the years.
“I can't think of a lot of people who were really happy with what they did, and we were from the beginning,” D'Angelo said.