| G. Michael Dobbs
SPRINGFIELD – Downtown Springfield used to have a variety of men’s clothing stores and now the merchandising category has returned.
Audrin Desardouin and his wife Lillian Ortiz celebrated the official grand opening of L & A Men’s Shop at 159 State St., opposite the MassMutual Center, on April 19.
Desardouin is a veteran in the men’s clothing business, having run a shop in Norwich, CT, for 15 years.
He told Reminder Publications that his Connecticut shop benefited from its proximity to Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun casinos and he saw an opportunity with MGM Springfield.
Desardouin came to Springfield and walked around the downtown area looking for an appropriate location. He liked the vacant building at 159 State St. and made a deal with its owner Brian Gibbons, the owner of Brican, Inc., an engineering and consulting firm.
Gibbons was effusive in his praise for Desardouin and his vision. He described how Desardouin knocked on his door last November inquiring about the location.
“He’s an experienced businessman who looked at a lot of properties,” Gibbon added. “If anyone can make it here it’s Audrin and Lillian.”
The couple opened their shop for business in December and Ortiz said the response has been “excellent.” They have had customers from as far away as Albany, NY.
Desardouin said the difference between his shop and chain men’s shops is the personal service. He does the alterations himself and customers can pick up a suit the same day.
To accommodate working people his hours are 9:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and Saturday from 9:30 a.m.to 6:30 p.m.
Although parking may not be immediately apparent, shoppers can park in a lot behind the building as well as the Maplegate parking garage across the street.
“I love helping men dress better, to help improve their self-confidence. If I dress you, you represent me as well. I have built long-term relationships with clients and I look forward to increasing my clientele,” Desardouin said. “If you treat people right, they never forget you.”