After 49 Years, Longtime Business Owner Rich Brady Says That Business Is About “Connection” - Coronado Eagle & Journal | Coronado News | Coronado Island News: Coronado Home And Business

After 49 Years, Longtime Business Owner Rich Brady Says That Business Is About “Connection”

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Posted: Friday, August 16, 2019 2:40 pm | Updated: 2:52 pm, Fri Aug 16, 2019.

When Richard Brady opened his shop at the Hotel del Coronado in 1974 it was called Al Rivera, and Brady wasn’t the sole business owner. At the time, every business in the Hotel was independent. Now, in 2019, Brady is the last hold out.

Brady grew up with style on his mind. He liked things to match, he wanted to be “neat,” and he enjoyed dressing well. So much so that at age 21, during his brief stint with the National Guard, he had his mother taper the pant legs and shirt of his uniform to suit him better. Later, when Brady’s father introduced him to Al Rivera, a San Diegan men’s clothing store manager and buyer, Brady jumped on the opportunity to learn from him. In 1970, they opened a store together in San Diego. Brady became an apprentice of sorts, learning the ropes of retail and fashion. But after a while he had gone beyond his master. He had the style and charm to carry the business on his own: Brady’s Menswear was born.

Nowadays, Brady’s is an institution. (Disclaimer: I am slightly biased writing this as his daughter. I’m slightly obligated to sing praises). That being said, I’d call it an accurate claim after 49 years in business and 45 years in the Hotel del Coronado. You can even catch local celebrities like Casery Tanaka and both the current and former police chiefs sporting his well-fashioned ensembles on the runway at the annual Coronado Rotary Fashion Show.

Unlike a lot of the fare in the Hotel, Brady’s sells more than gifts and resort wear. Instead, you’ll find a spread of upscale menswear from silk and wool sportcoats, dress shirts and ties, to a charmingly eclectic collection of dress socks and cufflinks—my personal favorites are the links sporting famous superheroes; a hit come Comic Con season. The store also boasts over 20 brands which Brady and 21 year-long employee and manager Baxter Boggus select themselves.

But Brady’s is more than a business, it’s an ethos. Brady and Boggus and along with Joanne Collins, who’s worked for Brady’e for 34 years, the consistency of customers service starts with the staff. The customer relationship Brady and crew have formed has earned them their longstanding tenure. They make a point to get to know each customer that walks through the door. Connection comes first, selling second. And it doesn’t end once the customer has handed over their credit card. Brady individually corresponds, tailors and ships customer’s clothing to customers all across the country—and sometimes beyond. He’s been so successful in maintaining relationships that he has a collection of self-dubbed “legacy customers.” Some of which have been shopping with him for decades.

“It’s very unusual when a store is in a resort for as long as we’ve been.” Brady reflects appreciatively. “Think about that, as a business owner, it’s extremely gratifying. But it’s also gratifying to hear someone tell you that they always come to your store every time they’re on the coast, from anywhere.”

Over the years, fashion trends have ebbed and flowed, but the people Brady sees are of the same breed. What has changed, and drastically, is the industry itself. We’re in the internet age now. Gone are the days where brick and mortar storefronts dominate. Now, it’s easy to Google something online, click and purchase, and have it shipped to your home in a matter of days: no swankily dressed salesman required. This puts a lot of pressure on the small business man. Brady can recall as many as 10 specialty men’s clothing stores in the San Diego area when he was growing up. Now, he says, they’re all gone.

But Brady doesn’t see it as the end of an era. He points to recent statistics shared by business research platform Invesp, showing that brick and mortar stores typically see a mere 8 percent rate of returns on products. Meanwhile, online stores have about 30 percent of their purchased merchandise returned. Brady believes there is still a value in coming in to get clothes fitted, and to develop a relationship with the people fitting you. “When you sell something like stuff we sell that’s not on every street corner, we sell stuff that nobody even sells in this town, and you’re spending $595 for a sportcoat, you want to see how it fits and how the fabric feels.”

Just a few months ago, a man came in who said he had come into the store in the early 2000s. He had tried to buy a coat, but unfortunately the tailoring was extremely delayed and when the coat finally shipped, it was sent to the wrong address. Essentially, a perfect storm. But, he didn’t come back to gripe. Instead, he said, “The reason I’m here is because of the way you handled it.” Brady took full responsibility for the mistake and didn’t charge him a cent. Brady connected with him, and that connection stuck with this customer.

That’s what it’s all about.

“In the grand scheme of things, we’re not changing the world. Does anyone need anything? We sell want, not need.” Brady said. “We’re validating confidence.”

Brady’s Menswear is open 9 a.m. to 10p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday and Sunday, located at 1500 Orange Avenue, 619-437-1144.

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