Anyone driving on Route 4 East in Paramus over the past year has noticed an elegant addition. In the strip of stores that houses LensCrafters and La-Z-Boy, The Suit Store Outlet has come and established itself as a place to buy designer suits at discount prices.
Brothers Joe and Tom Elashmawy have men’s fashion in their blood. Their father opened his own store in Manhattan in 1974. As time went on, and New York City prices soared, their father moved out and expanded his New Jersey locations.
Knowing how customers enjoy the consistently low prices at stores such as Century 21, Burlington Coat Factory, Marshall’s and T.J. Maxx, the brothers looked to bring that type of affordability to their store. With suits from Calvin Klein, DKNY, Michael Kors and Zegna as some of their staple brands, the high-quality merchandise is very accessible. “What you are seeing now in today’s market is that the large department stores are struggling,” said Joe Elashmawy. “Discount stores that always have bargains are gaining in popularity.” He explained that the model they built takes the discount model of the well-known stores, but combines it with the personalized attention customers often seek when buying a suit that is often only found in an upscale department store. With a limited amount of off-price goods, the Elashmawy brothers have years of experience in men’s fashion and are able to negotiate current-season designer suits at discount prices. “There is no need to wait for a sale. What someone paid yesterday is what you will pay today and what the next guy will pay tomorrow,” said Elashmawy.
It is not only their inventory and prices that are enviable, but their staff as well. “We don’t have sales people, we have wardrobe consultants,” said Elashmawy. “We want this to be an overall positive experience for our customers.” He explained that even after a customer leaves the store with one of their suits in hand, the experience is not yet over. If a customer is not happy for any reason, they encourage him to come back and discuss it with the staff. Wardrobe consultants have even been known to follow up with suit customers and check in to see how they enjoy their recent purchase.
The Suit Store Outlet knows that part of what makes the experience positive, is not just the high-quality merchandise at a low price, but the convenience of the experience as well. They provide on-site tailoring, even while a customer waits. They tend to have two to three tailors in the store at any given time. They also carry ties, cufflinks and shoes, in order to make this experience efficient, as well as have the wardrobe consultants available to help accessorize the ensemble.
“Part of what makes our business successful is the differences we each bring to the store,” Elashmawy said. “What catches my eye and what catches my brother’s eye is not the same, and we use our differences in style to bring diversity and unique fashion to our clientele.”
Over the past year, Tom and Joe have found one of the meaningful parts of their store is being a part of someone’s suit-buying experience and life events. “We often help someone pick out their first suit, bar mitzvah suit, then their graduation suit, their interview suit, and eventually their wedding suit,” said Elashmawy. They have even had customers come back with their own kids to get them their very first suit, “and it goes on and on from there.” Elashmawy continued. “It’s not just about buying a suit. We teach them suit care, how to put it on and how to accessorize. We want to establish a relationship through life.”
The Suit Store Outlet carries suits as small as size two for their youngest customers. They always enjoy being a part of milestone events, whether it’s a bar mitzvah, a prom or graduation, a wedding or anything else that life may bring. In addition, they carry taller sizes, and can help outfit harder-to-fit customers. Elashmawy explained that repeat customers have the benefit that the staff at the store will already know the individual’s tastes and style in suit shopping and suit accessorizing.
Feedback over the past year has been overwhelmingly positive, with new customers becoming repeat customers and referring friends to the store. “This has been a great experience,” said Elashmawy. “There is always a busy suit season, whether it’s prom, Jewish holidays, wedding season, New Year’s parties or any other event, and we have enjoyed being a part of it.”
By Jenny Gans