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Men's apparel brand to close 'top store' in Palo Alto after more than 40 years

Company president cites loss of business due to pandemic

Large closing signs on display at Patrick James in Palo Alto's Town & Country Village shopping center on Sept. 11. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

Patrick James, an upscale menswear retailer, is closing one of its brick-and mortar-stores in Palo Alto's Town & Country Village after more than 40 years in the community.

Patrick Mon Pere Jr., president of the nearly 60-year-old brand and son of founder Patrick Mon Pere, said in a letter posted Tuesday, Sept. 8, on social media that the impact of COVID-19 on its business forced the company to shutter its "top store."

"This is particularly painful as I have such fond memories of visiting the Palo Alto store with my father to interact with the crew and customers," Mon Pere Jr. wrote.

Mon Pere Jr. said in an interview that the location was one of the company's hardest hit stores, citing a 77% decline in sales in July, the month they opened after in-store retail restrictions were lifted, and an 80% decline in sales in August.

Though Town & Country made efforts to be more accommodating, Mon Pere Jr. said, in the end, they couldn't come to a rental agreement that would justify keeping the store open.

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"Palo Alto was a market my father loved," Mon Pere Jr. said, recalling why his father first opened a store in the shopping center over four decades ago.

The men's apparel brand bills itself as a purveyor of high-quality, "west coast classic" styles. It was founded in 1962 by the elder Mon Pere, who was born in Fresno and later opened the first iteration of his namesake clothing store in the city. Mon Pere died on Feb. 11, 2019.

"He was a big advocate of what they used to call 'Ivy League' clothing," Mon Pere Jr. said. "He wanted to be the first guy to take that stance and bring it to the west coast."

The Fresno-based brand eventually expanded across California, Nevada and Arizona with a dozen brick-and-mortar stores, as well as a brief stint in women's clothing. It also currently runs an online store and a national catalogue. On top of its own branded clothing, the company sells other popular brands such as Tommy Bahama and Peter Millar.

Its Town & Country Village location launched a closing sale that began Friday, Sept. 11.

Patrick James is not the only retail casualty of the pandemic in Town & Country Village. In July, at least three of nine retailers that hung "for lease" signs on its storefront windows were shutting down due to the impact of COVID-19 and the following shelter-in-place orders that restricted in-store shopping for several months.

Those stores were GNC, the health supplement chain that filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in June; Sweaty Betty, a women's activewear brand; and beauty retailer SpaceNK.

Find comprehensive coverage on the Midpeninsula's response to the new coronavirus by Palo Alto Online, the Mountain View Voice and the Almanac here.

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Men's apparel brand to close 'top store' in Palo Alto after more than 40 years

Company president cites loss of business due to pandemic

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Thu, Sep 10, 2020, 2:08 pm

Patrick James, an upscale menswear retailer, is closing one of its brick-and mortar-stores in Palo Alto's Town & Country Village after more than 40 years in the community.

Patrick Mon Pere Jr., president of the nearly 60-year-old brand and son of founder Patrick Mon Pere, said in a letter posted Tuesday, Sept. 8, on social media that the impact of COVID-19 on its business forced the company to shutter its "top store."

"This is particularly painful as I have such fond memories of visiting the Palo Alto store with my father to interact with the crew and customers," Mon Pere Jr. wrote.

Mon Pere Jr. said in an interview that the location was one of the company's hardest hit stores, citing a 77% decline in sales in July, the month they opened after in-store retail restrictions were lifted, and an 80% decline in sales in August.

Though Town & Country made efforts to be more accommodating, Mon Pere Jr. said, in the end, they couldn't come to a rental agreement that would justify keeping the store open.

"Palo Alto was a market my father loved," Mon Pere Jr. said, recalling why his father first opened a store in the shopping center over four decades ago.

The men's apparel brand bills itself as a purveyor of high-quality, "west coast classic" styles. It was founded in 1962 by the elder Mon Pere, who was born in Fresno and later opened the first iteration of his namesake clothing store in the city. Mon Pere died on Feb. 11, 2019.

"He was a big advocate of what they used to call 'Ivy League' clothing," Mon Pere Jr. said. "He wanted to be the first guy to take that stance and bring it to the west coast."

The Fresno-based brand eventually expanded across California, Nevada and Arizona with a dozen brick-and-mortar stores, as well as a brief stint in women's clothing. It also currently runs an online store and a national catalogue. On top of its own branded clothing, the company sells other popular brands such as Tommy Bahama and Peter Millar.

Its Town & Country Village location launched a closing sale that began Friday, Sept. 11.

Patrick James is not the only retail casualty of the pandemic in Town & Country Village. In July, at least three of nine retailers that hung "for lease" signs on its storefront windows were shutting down due to the impact of COVID-19 and the following shelter-in-place orders that restricted in-store shopping for several months.

Those stores were GNC, the health supplement chain that filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in June; Sweaty Betty, a women's activewear brand; and beauty retailer SpaceNK.

Find comprehensive coverage on the Midpeninsula's response to the new coronavirus by Palo Alto Online, the Mountain View Voice and the Almanac here.

Comments

Patrick Muffler
Registered user
Barron Park
on Sep 10, 2020 at 8:17 pm
Patrick Muffler, Barron Park
Registered user
on Sep 10, 2020 at 8:17 pm
11 people like this

Why is it that Town and Country Village is the only location that Patrick James is closing? Not Aptos, not Bakersfield, not Carmel, not Danville, not Del Mar, not Fresno, not Sacramento, not San Luis Obispo, not Santa Rosa, and not Reno. What is unique about Palo Alto Town and Country Village that has forced this decision? One would think that the market potential for Patrick James in the Palo Alto area would be as good as any. I am perplexed.


Anon
Registered user
Charleston Meadows
on Sep 11, 2020 at 8:36 am
Anon, Charleston Meadows
Registered user
on Sep 11, 2020 at 8:36 am
21 people like this

@ Mr Muffler

Rent. T&C's rent is too high, and they're losing too much money every month at this location. Given that Mayfield is closing too, I speculate that whoever owns T&C has mortgage obligations. I see from a brief Google search that t&c was sold in 2004, and therefore likely still has some debt for the owner Ellis Partners LLC. Or maybe they're just trying to squeeze the last bit of juice out of the retailers.


What Will They Do Next
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Sep 11, 2020 at 4:53 pm
What Will They Do Next, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Sep 11, 2020 at 4:53 pm
3 people like this

It's the rent, as stated by Anon.


Fancher
Registered user
University South
on Sep 12, 2020 at 9:19 am
Fancher, University South
Registered user
on Sep 12, 2020 at 9:19 am
5 people like this

We did everything within our ability to work with Patrick James to compel them to stay at Town & Country. Unfortunately with sales this low rent reduction or even elimination does not bridge the gap. We hope that the community appreciates this new stark reality for many small businesses in Palo Alto. If you want them to survive they need your support.


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