Seven years ago, I was going to school at the University of Sioux Falls at night and I had just landed a job as the Director of Camping Services with the Sioux Falls Family YMCA. With the fun job title came an office, an extension number, a blackberry and a business dress code. I was in over my head and you might say I felt like a wild animal thrown into a zoo. Prior to this gig I owned exactly one suit, one dress shirt and one tie. Everything else in my wardrobe was basketball shorts, jeans, sweatpants and camp tee shirts.
During my hiring process I had to do multiple face-to-face interviews. I wore my one suit over-and-over with different ties I borrowed from my dad. After accepting the job, for the first time in my life I looked at my whole wardrobe and realized I had a problem. Being a poor college student I didn’t have a lot of money, but I knew that I would have to go shopping. Seriously, I didn’t even own a pair of khakis or a sweater or a button up shirt. I just wore the same suit my mom bought me in high school to church, weddings, funerals, and holidays.
Being 23, single, and very smart I devised a plan to go to a local men’s store and purchase a nice second suit that was a different color. My dad had 30+ years of ties I could pick through and I didn’t have to wear the suit coat every day. My style options seemed endless.
*Have I mentioned how great I am at doing laundry!
I walked into the local men’s store and canvased the area. To say I was uncomfortable would seem appropriate. There were sales representatives all looking busy, but not too busy because I was offered a very friendly greeting. Being the confident shopper that I am, I assured them all I was fine and didn’t need any help – I was smart and knew they were going to ask anyway – might as well tell them off now and get it out of the way.
There were multiple walls of suits, I had no idea what my measurements were and I certainly couldn’t figure out why the pant bottoms looked so goofy and long. I was clearly outclassed here and decided that I should turn tail and head to the mall where I knew I could get a suit off-the-rack that would be just as good and probably be half the price.
At this point a sales representative stopped over to check on me. He was carrying a sport coat in his hands that he was in the process of hanging up.
He asked me a question, “What event do you need a suit for?”
It was a simple question, but it started a dialog. I told him that I would be graduating from college soon and that I got a new job with a dress code. He proceeded to asked me a few more questions about the dress code. How formal was it, would I be working primarily just in the office or would I have to go outside to the camp from time-to-time in my “business” clothes. This salesman got to know me and my situation; we discussed my budget and how functional my clothes needed to be.
I walked out of that store with two sport coats, three different styles of dress shirts, a very nice pair of slacks and a whole lot of confidence. All for the price of a tailored new suit (the sales rep. new the special deals going on at the store – I was clueless). That was my first “real” retail shopping experience. This gentleman took me, the untamed wild man from the camp, and made me feel like I belonged in the up-town men’s clothing store. He listened to my needs and worked within my budget. I left the store with clothing that has lasted a long time (I still own everything I bought), the items were tailored and fit me perfectly and fulfilled the dress code required in the office.
The 605 Running Company is a running specialty outfitter. We aim to provide our customers with a positive experience in our store. We genuinely want to get to know you and how we can help you reach all of your fitness goals. Our technical apparel is a good investment, it lasts a long time, looks great and has components designed for active users. We work hard on our shoe fitting process to insure that our customers get the right shoe, with the right fit. Stop in today – let’s have a conversation about your goals. Try some stuff on before you purchase it and enjoy the experience of shopping.
Greg Koch is the General Manager of the 605 Running Company, graduate of Washington High School and the University of Sioux Falls and a lifetime outdoor enthusiast. His contributions to the 605 Running Co. blog will appear periodically. You can follow Greg on Strava @GregKoch, Facebook @GregoryJohnKoch and Instagram @gregrun605. Story ideas are encouraged.