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Erday’s shutting its doors after eight decades in downtown Geneva

Updated: March 4, 2013 6:39AM

GENEVA — A fixture in downtown Geneva for almost 90 years, Erday’s Men’s Clothing store has announced it will be closing its doors.

“We knew the time was coming,” owner Victor Erday said Friday.

Erday, with brothers Jim and Bob, is the third generation of owners for the store, originally known for custom tailored men’s suits and apparel.

Erday, 64, said his grandfather, Victor Erday Sr., a Hungarian immigrant, opened the store in 1925 as a custom tailoring shop at 8 N. Third St. The grandfather built the current brick façade building in 1930 located at the northwest corner of North Third and West State streets.

Erday’s father, Victor Erday II, then carried on where his own father left off.

About seven years ago, the brothers started leasing out the front portion of the store.

Erday said the 2008 recession, changes in fashion and discount department stores contributed to the decline of interest in men buying suits and women buying for the men in their lives.

“In the 1960s and 1970s men would wear dress suits, pressed shirts and ties to work,” he said.

He said the arrival of “casual Fridays” in the workplace gradually expanded to “casual all of the time.”

“For an independent men’s store, men’s suits, sport coats, shirts and ties are the backbone of the business,” he said.

Erday said the recession’s impact on family budgets took a toll on the business, as well.

“The majority of our customers were women buying clothes for their husbands, sons and fathers. In tough times, they want to make sure the bills are paid, kids are cared for and food is on the table,” he said.

“Men buy clothes when they need them, women buy clothes because they want to.”

Erday’s will begin a liquidation sale on Thursday.

Last year, the Merra-Lee shops, another one of the last family-owned stores in downtown Geneva, at the southeast corner of South Third and West State streets, closed after 82 years.

Erday said the small independent stores cannot compete with the continuous discounts of department stores and those stores that are open have both men’s and women’s apparel.

Erday said they intend to lease the 5,900-square-feet of the store. Perlman’s jewelry recently opened in the other 3,000 square feet of the building.

“I don’t know what they would think today,” Erday said, adding when he grew up in Geneva there were four small grocery stores on State Street.

“I started at eight years old sweeping floors. This is the only job I have known.”

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