Anyone walking into Treat’s Squire and Bridal Shoppe can be assured of two things – excellent customer service and quality clothes.
“My dad harped on that you treat people the way you want to be treated,” says Owner Gary Treat. “Our customer is more important than we are.”
His father, Budd Treat, grew up in Plymouth and graduated from Lincoln High School. He went into the Navy, earned an accounting degree and worked in a corporate environment. Budd got tired of that work climate, and wanted to come back to his hometown and start a business. That was 55 years ago.
“Dad always enjoyed dressing nicely,” Treat says.
Budd passed away in 2016.
Running a men’s clothing store and bridal boutique in Plymouth has its challenges, Treat says. It is important to keep your customer in mind when selecting fashions and accessories. There is competition from online retailers, as well as box stores and department store chains.
“Our customers travel and are trendy, but they are not going to wear the extreme fashion stuff you see in the big cities such as the extreme slim-fit pants, for example,” Treat says.
Treat says he and his staff work very hard to keep their customers satisfied and coming back to shop. Although the box stores and department stores carry some of the same styles and brands, customers appreciate the personal attention and quality selections.
Treat’s has been the place to go for locals to get a quality tailored suit. Through the years it was the place to go where men could find hats and dress shoes. While that is still true, customers can also find a line of everyday attire, from jeans and knitwear to hats and designer underwear.
“Dress is more casual today,” Treat says. “Customers really haven’t changed. They are still a customer who appreciates quality and personal service.”
In 1966, the establishment’s customers came from within Marshall County. It was the go-to spot for business attire, formal wear and other haberdashery items. Today, the business draws customers from a 75-mile radius of Plymouth.
The addition of the bridal shop, acquired in 1993 and moved upstairs from the men’s store in 1997, offers an opportunity for an entire wedding party to shop for their attire at the same time. Everyone from the bride and groom to bridesmaids and groomsmen, and even the mother of the bride, can coordinate and acquire what they need for that special day, Treat says.
Whether it is a wedding, prom or some other occasion, the shop has served generations of customers with quality, classic and trendy selections, and personalized service.
One hallmark of Treat’s through the years has been the in-house tailoring and sizing assistance offered to customers. Clothes are “custom-tailored to fit you,” Treat explains. “That has always been the big deal to our store.”
In-house tailoring is fairly uncommon. At Treat’s, however, it is still important. Treat says the heart of the tailoring department has been with the store for 40 years.
“It is a unique service,” Treat says.
Among the brand names Treat’s carries are designers that specialize in premier tailored clothing, such as Hart Schaffner Marx. There is also a selection of Tommy Bahama and a Nike Golf concept shop within the Treat’s downtown retail space. Another popular brand is the 34 Heritage jean line, and SAXX men’s underwear. There is also a selection of men’s shoes, from Johnston & Murphy to Florsheim among others. The shop also features a men’s hat selection, and a selection of knitwear from St. Croix Shop, made in the United States and distributed from Minnesota.
“You get exactly what you pay for,” Treat says.
He adds that the clothes customers purchase from his store are “cut from a better cloth. There is an art form to take pieces of cloth and fit it to shape. It takes a long time for under-pressing and procedures to finish a garment. There are 150 steps from start to finish.”
This delivers a garment that can hold up to repeated wear, and maintain its quality and fit. He says if something isn’t made right to these standards, it shows.
The challenge of running a business outside of a more populated area, Treat says, is to keep customers satisfied and loyal. This includes reaching out with a friendly greeting when they walk in, and being able to talk to them to find out what they need or want.
“People are easy to help if you know what they want,” he says.
The reasons customers shop at Treat’s vary. Perhaps the customer has an interview for a job, or they are going on a trip or attending a convention – or simply updating their wardrobe. They may also be planning for a special occasion such as a wedding or prom.
“Our challenge is to keep that customer engaged and focused on our store,” Treat says.
He stays in touch with his customers with a personal touch, communicating with a phone call, an email or a text message.
“This is not the experience you are going to get with chain stores,” Treat says.
These gestures do not go unnoticed by the regulars. Treat’s customers often span generations, including sons who purchased their first suit there and later brought in their sons for a new suit.
“People will say to us, ‘Why don’t you move to be in a bigger town?’” Treat says.
In the 1970s the store launched a marketing slogan that claimed a visit to Treat’s was “Worth the Trip.” According to Treat, that still holds true.