The Ken’s Experience

Walking into Ken’s Man’s Shop at Preston Royal Village, you notice the small things: the cheery hellos from John behind the counter and Carolina at her desk, the pair of Buddha cufflinks on display and the hearty handshake from Kory Helfman, son to Ken himself.

“People come in and say it reminds them of “Cheers.” It’s a place where we know you name. And besides knowing your name, we know what you like to drink, what you do for a living, and most importantly, how you like to be tailored,” Kory said.

Now, celebrating it’s 50th anniversary, the contemporary men’s retailer is moving into the future, with a focus on social media and an online presence, while still keeping the same commitments to service that has kept the store in business all these years.

Ken Helfman, who after 60 years in retail still helps clients to find the perfect look, has always had a heart for his customers. Ryan Long, who has been shopping at Ken’s for three years, lost his own father at 4 years old, only to find out 35 years later that he and his father’s tastes shared a common thread: Ken’s.

“My mom went in at Christmas to get a gift card and Ken recognized her. He remembered my dad and had all these notes on his archived index cards about what my dad wore and what he liked,” Long said. “It just speaks to Ken’s attention to detail and how much he and his staff truly do care and know their customers.”

For Mark Siegel, a Ken’s client for “what seems like forever,” the relationships he has formed with the staff make all the difference.

“It’s not like I have to go into a big department store where everything is impersonal,” he said. “I can just drop by every two weeks to see what’s in the store, if I haven’t already gotten a call, and talk to these wonderful people. I get personal attention, and on top of that the have the ability to bring in the most current styles every year.”

The retailer had kept meticulous records of the fabrics of those styles, which came in handy when Ken and Kory put together a series of window displays to show off what a Ken’s man has worn through the decades. While some clothes were on display on behalf of the store, many of the clothes were straight from the closets of Ken’s oldest clients.

“It goes beyond just the clothing,” Kory said. “The loyalty, the quality of clothing, and the relationships all mean so much.

”Ken’s has evolved over the years, moving its only location from Garland to Preston Royal 20 years ago, and prides itself in being a family affair. For Kory, who joined the company in 1994, working with his father means a strong friendship and trust. But among their clients, it’s common for three generations of a family to stop by Ken’s to shop for different occasions. That doesn’t mean they’ll all be dressed the same.

“I don’t usually use the word traditional, because we don’t do anything traditional. We don’t have button-down collars and pleated pants,” Kory said. “We don’t dress an age—we dress the person.”

By Meredith Carey, Society Magazine

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