This October, award-winning retailer The Foursome in Plymouth, MN is celebrating their 80th year in business! That’s a major accomplishment in the retail world. And when people talk about a “family business”, there’s no better example than the three generations of family all working together at The Foursome.
The company began in 1935, founded by four golfing school teachers…hence the great name. In 1955, Ron Engel became a part owner in The Foursome. He and his wife Lucille really dove into the business, and by 1965 they were the sole owners. Over the years they’ve added helpers along the way. Ron’s son Gordy Engel and four of Gordy’s six children are all keeping The Foursome business thriving. Granddaughters Nicole Chose, Keri Rouen and Beth Dougherty manage the marketing, HR, and visual displays, respectively. Grandson Michael Engel is responsible for finance and sales, and Michael’s wife Kelsey manages the e-commerce team (they have a fabulous website!). Even Gordy’s wife Nancy is part of the team, although her clients are much smaller. She provides daycare for the Engel’s grandchildren—sometimes all 13 at once! That’s why we say this group is a true family-run business. Makes you wonder which great grandchild might enter the business next!
Like any company in business for 80 years, The Foursome has seen its share of changes. Originally the store was located in Wayzata, MN, and at one point they offered men’s (including Big & Tall), women’s and children shops. In 2009 their location was redeveloped, which caused a big change for the beloved retailer. “We had a big decision to make,” said Nicole. “Call it a ‘good run’ or move forward. By God’s grace and family unity, doors swung open [to our new location], and we moved into a beautiful, brand new store in neighboring Plymouth that has propelled us into the modern era of third generation Foursome shoppers.”
Now focusing solely on menswear (still offering Big & Tall), tuxedo rentals, tailoring and custom clothing, this rejuvenated retailer is better than ever. In addition to being acknowledged for their ongoing community support, The Foursome has been honored with many awards over the years. Most notably, they were selected by MR Magazine for their prestigious Uptown/Downtown award in 2013, which celebrates excellence in retailing. The family traveled to New York to attend the awards ceremony and accept the honor on what would have been founder Ron Engel’s 92nd birthday. It was a fantastic moment as a family and a business!
Although many people find that a successful family business is hard to maintain, the family at The Foursome has a different perspective. Gordy tells us: “Getting to work side by side with family members—at the end of the day that’s a special thing. We feel blessed to have this store that helps provide for our families, the families of our employees, and the chance to give back generously to the community. We often call the business our ‘ministry in the marketplace’. “
Like many successful independent retailers, the folks at The Foursome have come to realize that the relationships with their customers is one of the things that they love the most. Ron Engel taught them, “It’s about the people”. “Customers new and old, who you can joke with, provide clothing in joyous and difficult times, and watch them grow up and have their children begin to shop with us—the relationships are what this is all about.”
Eddie Gricius, St. Croix Sales Representative agrees that this family retailer puts relationships first, and it shows. “For 50 years now, St. Croix has had the pleasure of serving such a fine retailer that has, for three generations, been providing excellent customer service and quality clothing to their customers across the United States,” Eddie told us.
Part of Foursome’s success is that they carry the clothing that people want to have. St. Croix is proud to be among the other great brands found in the store. The Foursome likes to call their store style “classics evolved”. They typically stay true to classic menswear while seeking out fresh and updated looks to offer their customers. Michael Engel’s favorite St. Croix item echoes that updated classic style philosophy. “My favorite St. Croix item is the Heritage Collection v-neck sweater in the new navy with grey trim detail”, he said. “I enjoy the new modern fit and it layers well over a nice woven shirt.” And the item they all recommend that every man needs for his wardrobe? A good navy blazer.
When asked what they wish their customers knew about them, Keri shared: “I wish they knew how much we truly care about how they look, and how satisfied they are with the shopping experience and clothing they take home.”
Considering that this retailer has developed such a loyal customer base, we think that they’ve succeeded in letting the consumer know just how much they care. And they care a lot, even about the smallest of details. Nicole said that one of her proudest moments in the business was the night of their grand opening party at their new store. After all the hard work, they opened the doors and people flooded into the gorgeous new store with great admiration and excitement. “Either that,” she said, “or the day I brought an ad I had designed to my Grandfather for approval and he said ‘looks great!’” A proud moment indeed.
St. Croix Collections is thrilled to work with such a service oriented, quality retailer like The Foursome, and we wish them tremendous future success and a very Happy Anniversary!
Check out their website at http://www.thefoursome.com, and enjoy Anniversary savings now through October 5th!