Richard and Pam Hughes of Richard’s Men’s Wear and Tuxedo Rentals, 70 W. 10th St., have announced they will close the menswear portion of the business, beginning next week with the start of a closing sale, and sell the tuxedo side to an unnamed new owner.
“We’ve been here for 32 years, and it’s been a good ride,” Richard Hughes said this week, “but Pam and I are ready to retire. It wasn’t an easy decision, but we feel it is the right one for us.”
Word of the pending closure came just a week after another Tracy couple in business also for 32 years, Gerard and Lynn Gonzalves, announced the sale of Gerard’s Deli on Central Avenue.
Richard and Pam Hughes, both 65, have operated the business in what was originally known as Ten-Bee Village since 1980.
Once among six stores in Tracy’s downtown that sold men’s clothing, it is the last to survive in the changing world of retail sales.
“We’ve been a true mom-and-pop specialty store,” Pam Hughes said. “We have offered quality merchandise you don’t see in big-box stores. And we have really stressed customer service.”
In deciding to close the clothing end of the business, the Hugheses felt there was no ready buyer for that kind of business. Stores featuring only men’s clothing are a rarity nowadays, they said.
The tuxedo-rental part of the store, however, will be sold to a new owner, whose name has not yet been announced but who will continue it in operation. Existing tuxedo-rental agreements will be honored.
According to Richard Hughes, the closing process will begin Wednesday, Oct. 3, when the store’s going-out-of-business sale begins. The store will remain open as long as there is merchandise, including newly arrived fall fashions, he said.
The retail area of Richard’s at the corner of 10th and B streets has been a men’s clothing store for 61 years — since 1950.
That was the year Yost Bros., a Stockton-based clothing store, became one of the first tenants of the new Ten-Bee Village shopping center, one of Tracy’s first.
Angelo “Pete” Davanis, a Tracy native, managed the store until 1957, when he bought it from the Yost family and changed the name to Pete Davanis, Clothier.
Davanis operated the store until 1980, when Richard and Pam Hughes bought it. Richard Hughes had worked for Davanis while attending Tracy High School.
“It was our dream to own a clothing store, and this was our chance,” he said. “We realized our dream, and we’ve been doing it for 32 years.”
During those 32 years, men’s fashions have changed. Businessmen and professionals seldom wear suits, and casual clothing has become a dominant part of the store’s inventory, Richard Hughes said.
“We still sell suits and sports coats, but brands like Pendleton shirts and Tommy Bahama shirts and jeans are much bigger sellers,” he said. “If a young man comes in to buy a suit, he’s usually getting ready to apply for a job.”
Pam Hughes said the casual clothing the couple has sold has become more sophisticated as Tracy has become home to more former Bay Area residents.
“And we make an extra effort to provide service in providing tailoring and in ordering items we don’t have in stock,” she said. “We decided to feature quality, higher-end merchandise in the face of mall competition.”
They both said they have been fortunate to have retained a number of loyal customers, many of whom have become friends over the years. Richard has been active in the Kiwanis Club and Pam, Soroptimist International.
One of the mainstays of the store’s offerings has been the high school team jacket. A tableau that started as green-and-gold jackets for Tracy High varsity letter earners now includes jackets for West, Kimball, Millennium and Lathrop high schools.
“Almost always, names and school symbols are embroidered on the jackets,” Richard Hughes said. “Prices can range from $200 plain to $500 with extensive embroidery.”
Over the years, the business’s tuxedo-rental department has grown to generate nearly half of the store’s income, he said. Occasions such as school dances and weddings have been supplied with tuxedos of a widening variety of styles from Richard’s.
In 2007, the tuxedo-rental department was expanded into an adjacent storefront that once housed women’s stores and a bookstore. That permitted greater display of tuxedos and dressing rooms.
When retirement becomes a reality during the coming weeks or months, the Hugheses plan to do more traveling, revisiting Italy and striking out to new areas of the U.S. and the world.
“Operating a store by yourselves has kept us close to home — now we can go more freely,” Pam Hughes said.
The couple also plans to spend more time with family.