Small Business Energy

My favorite menswear store in the city, Rugged Road, is a vintage shop specializing in Americana fashion like military wear, Ivy League styles, and denim. It’s run by a Japanese owner and located just 5 minutes from my house. The store, though small, offers a highly curated selection, all of which fits me perfectly, unlike most other stores. The owner, initially reserved, has become a good friend after several visits. He has a great sense of style and a passion for the craft. I often visit his store during my lunch break to ask him questions about clothing, style, and fashion. I think of him as my menswear mentor.

This vintage shop embodies the charm of small businesses. The owners work tirelessly to bring their dreams to life, sharing their unique stories and passions with the world. The store itself exudes character with its vintage smell, carpet flooring, and old-school jazz ambiance, unlike bigger franchises that have their standardized, duplicate locations.

As soon as you enter any store, you can tell if you’re talking to the owner or employee. Owners carry themselves differently. They want to be there and they love sharing their passion for their products. For example, I stumbled on this menswear store near my house called Javelin. During my visit, I enjoyed speaking with the designer and curator, Fulani. He shared with me the story behind a particular piece—a pair of trousers. He explained how this item holds a special significance, reminding him of his humble beginnings as an African American in the Midwest. Despite limited financial resources, he learned to be resourceful and learned how to sew from his grandmother.

NYC is the place to chase your dreams and the high amount of small business located here despite the high cost of rent is a testament to its gravity.

April 17, 2024

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