Nestled in the heart of historic downtown Canandaigua resides men's clothing retailer Dick Anthony Ltd. It specializes in the latest fashions of men's casual and dress clothing, suits and sportcoats, in regular and big sizes. There’s always an expert tailor in-store to ensure a proper fit. The shop prides itself in offering outstanding customer service, quality products at affordable prices and a unique shopping experience.
My father had been the manager of a men’s store in town for 25 years called Montesano’s. The Montesano brothers owned stores in Perry and Mount Morris. They sold the business to my father in 1974. My father was 60 years old at that time. I was in college in Evansville, Indiana, at the time. I came back to help my father in 1978 and bought the business from him in 1980. We had been located at 72 S. Main St. In 1974, CNB bought our building and when our lease was up, they had plans to expand into our location. At that time, my dad and I started looking for another location. We decided on our present location and moved here in 1980. The Ski Hut business was here and moved across the street. We were very concerned that our customers would not find us down the street and were so worried about our future. It turned out to be the best thing that ever happened. With the increased parking at the rear entrance of the store, it was so convenient for our customers. We have been in business as Dick Anthony Ltd. since 1974 (44 years) and I have owned it since 1980 (38 years). My son, Todd, joined the store five years ago and is our internet manager.
It has been a total joy being in a family business. My dad was my best friend and my business partner. Starting with my dad and learning the business from him, and now having my son on board and seeing some of the thoughts that my dad must have experienced with me. My dad let me do it my way even when he knew it was not the best way, but he let me learn from my mistakes. I do not know if I am as patient with my son as he was with me.
Being a small business on Main Street has allowed many friends to become customers and many customers to become friends. We have always prided ourselves on being small and never losing that small-store caring feeling.
One thing that has changed in our business is the birth of the internet. It has forced us to adapt new business ideas. When I perceived the internet was going to be a factor years ago, I knew we needed to embrace it and not be afraid of it because it was going to change the way business was conducted. I was right, and it has changed the face of business greatly.
2017 was the first year that we did as much business online as we did in the store. We continuously try to find ways to keep the small store attitude as it applies to online sales, where we have never actually met the customer.
Going forward, I hope there is always a place in downtown Canandaigua where people can get small-town caring service from folks who actually live in the community and care about the future of the community.
Jeff Anthony is the owner of Dick Anthony Ltd. in Canandaigua.