BY YUWA VOSPER
There are several women’s boutiques located in Baton Rouge; yet, the clothing market geared specifically towards men is exceptionally small. Robert Wolf and Blaine McGowan are filling this gap by opening The Garage Custom Men’s Shop. With clothing just for men and a slogan that reads “For Guys Who Like Good Music, Fast Machines, and Hate the Mall,” this store offers a variety of casual wear. As Wolf said, “We are not the store that sells suits and ties.” The Garage also does not target one specific age demographic. Wolf explained that since Blaine is younger, they are able to target both the older and younger men’s market.
The Merchandise: Accessories and Shirts
While touring the store, Wolf and McGowan showed me their unique merchandise. The owners take pride in finding exclusive items and offering a small quantity of one particular item. By doing this, it prevents their customers from looking generic.
“We only get three to four shirts of any style,” Wolf said. “We get clothing no one will have so it keeps it original.”
First, Wolf showed me the Bill Lavin belts, which are designed from high quality leather. The special feature of these belts is the unique designs and prints. One belt had the pictures of musicians imprinted on it, beginning with Beethoven and ending in Beyoncé.
“Each belt tells a complete story,” Wolf said. “It becomes a good conversation piece.” McGowan displayed the MyPakage underwear, which he said is popular among athletes because of their unique construction. The Garage also features Edwin Jagger shaving and razor sets, which are difficult to find in the United States and distinct for their handmade construction.
The Garage also has a variety of unique graphic T-shirts. The Cockpit USA brand features vintage art taken from military aircrafts during war time. McGowan also sells his T-shirt line Details, which he designs in-house. Another brand designed by Ryan Michael produces high-quality Western-style shirts that become softer after each washing. The Scott Weiland brand shirts are also popular. Weiland is most famous for being the lead singer in Stone Temple Pilots, but has created a signature line of button-down dress shirts.
Shop Like A Rockstar
The Garage owners want to set the standard in customer service. Therefore, they are offering customers an opportunity to “shop like a rockstar.”
“We will open for customers by appointment on the days we are closed and allow you to shop with no one else here,” said Wolf.
Wolf explained how they pull clothing in a customer’s size and choose items that they would prefer. Additionally, The Garage offers personalized delivery for online purchases exclusively to local customers.
“If you call and tell us you need it, we will deliver it straight to you,” said Wolf.
McGowan recalled how one customer waited too late to purchase a gift for her husband on Valentine’s Day. Frantically, she called The Garage.
“She was so shocked and appreciative when we met her in Prairieville to give her the gift in time,” McGowan said. “I even have customers who are shocked when we open the store just for them but that’s the point. We want to provide that high-standard of customer service.”
Price May Vary
Since they are located close to Baton Rouge Community College, Wolf and McGowan are aware that the student male clientele is shopping on a budget and provide a variety of price points including the Axle brand, good quality jeans for men who can’t afford high-end brands. Even wallets can be purchased for only $16. Wolf realizes that there are no denim stores that sell jeans exclusively for men, so they also carry mainstream brands like Lucky, and will soon get in a more exclusive clothing brand Cheap Monday coming in July.
The Garage Custom Men’s Shop has only been open for a few months, but has already gained a large local following. They plan not only to renovate the store, but also to bring more events, such as art gallery exhibits and other promotional parties. However, both owners come back to the idea of service. They want to provide customers with a quality experience.