by Jennifer Sierra
Just in time for Valentine’s Day, a new gently used, gentlemen’s clothing store has opened up in Dayton, Kentucky. Formerly in Bellevue, the consignment store called Gents relocated a couple of weeks ago to 530 6th Avenue, Dayton, Kentucky. Owner, Sandi Slusser is from Dayton, Kentucky and is hoping to be part of the revitalization of the Central Business District.
The shop is devoted entirely to men’s upscale clothing. “I cater to 28 to 58. That’s not an age. It’s a waist size. It is a demographic of waste size. My shirts go from small to 5 X,” Slusser said. “I have suits that are Halston, Oleg Cassini, Jones of New York, Donna Karan, and they run $35.00 – $65.00. I have become the new executive’s (with no money and student loans) best friend. He can get himself 2 suits, 6 shirts, 6 ties, and normally get change back from his $200.00. I have several young attorneys that shop with me.” She has a great selection of suits, leather jackets, ties, shirts, scarves, cashmere sweaters and hats. The boutique is well organized and everything is displayed elegantly. She obviously knows how to market her merchandise.
Slusser is devoted to her male customers. She keeps personalized records of what her customers are looking for and becomes their personal shopper. When she gets something in that is a certain size or style of one of her clients, she lets them know. This is the kind of service one can only find in stores like Nordstrom or Saks these days. She has fresh coffee and water on hand for her customers too. She gives her honest opinion to her clients when they try on clothing. Slusser feels that if you don’t tell someone how they really look in a particular garment, they won’t trust her. “If their butt doesn’t look good in that particular pair of pants, I tell them. I’m not going to sell them something they don’t look good in. When they come in, I try to figure out who they are and their fashion sense.” She wants the men that leave her shop to be comfortable and look good in the clothing they purchase from her.
She is picky in what she accepts into the store and she stays away from brands that are K-mart, Walmart or Target. When her suits come off consignment, she donates them to local funeral homes. “This is still a community where you don’t meet your maker without a shirt and tie and there are plenty of people that don’t have the means to buy a suit for their loved one,” Sandi said. She also donates items to Transitions for the men that are trying to get their lives back together. Some of the leftover items go to Mountain Mission which takes items to the needy in Southeastern Kentucky. “I do everything I can to keep the donations in Kentucky. If people come in with sweatshirts and jeans, I donate those to the Brighton Center.”
Gents is one of only a few consignment shops in the country devoted to men’s upscale clothing. “Sports Center is always on and the coffee is always hot and I give as good as I get. Guys can come in and banter with me.”
There are plenty of cute touches Sandi has around the store like the mustache signs and records on the walls. She is having a new sign made that will hang outside the shop. It will have a big, Bowler hat and a mustache. Sandi informed us that this store was the former beauty shop her mother and grandmother used to go to. “They wore uniforms and aprons. The ladies that worked here were Thelma, Ruthie and Fern.” Sandi has fond memories of the building and has come full circle by ending up here.