By Nikki Brown
Arlington resident Wally Hardin was 17 years old when he began working at The Man’s Shop in downtown Arlington in 1972. Hardin traveled only four blocks south of his employer’s location at the corner of West and Main streets to receive a bachelor’s in business management from the University of Texas at Arlington in 1977.
After 28 years of being employed in the brick building with large round windows of varying size, Hardin reached another milestone in Arlington with his purchase of The Man’s Shop from then-owner Eddie Williams. Williams had purchased the business from his father, C.W. Byrd.
The Man’s Shop offers various Italian and other worldly textiles. Lucchese boots, Travis Matthew and Peter Malare golf spikes are a few examples of finds Hardin brings to his appreciative customers. He even installed a nine-hole putting course in the store so customers could really see if the shoe, pant and/or shirt fit.
The Man’s Shop boasts a number of repeat customers, including one who called from a newsstand at the DFW Airport to congratulate Hardin upon seeing that The Man’s Shop had been mentioned on Esquire Magazine’s “Best of Class” list—an honor achieved in 2011 and 2012.
Generations of fathers and sons make frequent trips for familiar surroundings, service and faces at the address that has not changed since the 1950’s.
“For four-generation we have around, I would say, 10 families. For three-generation customers, there are probably 25,” Hardin said.
Customers are greeted by name, and employees stay long-term. Among them is Mark Krueger, whose 20 years of service has resulted in a rewarding professional reputation as a well-regarded personal wardrobe consultant.
The Man’s Shop doesn’t just sell clothes and shoes. A full-time tailor is on hand for fittings and fixes, and the store offers shoe shines on Tuesdays.
Despite the consistent and traditional service customers will find at The Man’s Shop, the store has kept up with the times online. Hardin’s son-in-law launched the store’s web presence, where visitors can view a video tour of the store and read a blog maintained by a current University of Texas at Arlington student.
Although The Man’s Shop long has been committed to community service, social media has taken it to a new level. During “Movember” this month, The Man’s Shop encouraged customers to add photos of their free-flowing facial hair to The Man’s Shop tumblr page to raise awareness for prostate cancer.
The Man’s Shop also can be found on Facebook and Twitter
About the blogger: UTA journalism and economics senior Nikki Brown live streams, photographs and manages social media for the Dallas Wheelchair Mavericks NWBA basketball team, an affiliate of the Dallas Mavericks NBA team.