For more than five decades, Shelly Bloom’s Fashion Clothiers has been known as the place to go for the finest and best-priced men’s attire in Miami. But soon it will also be known for an entirely different category of fashion: men’s and women’s designer shoes.
Everything in Wynwood these days is about art and fashion, expansion and transition. Bloom is following suit by doubling the space of his longstanding store here in the heart of the 5th Avenue Fashion District. And now, with a total of 10,000 square feet, Fashion Clothiers is able to accommodate an inventory of 10,000 pairs of men’s shoes – Bloom’s largest footwear purchase ever.
But as the store enters its 53rd year in business, they are also making history by offering women’s shoes for the very first time. The expanded retail space now features more than 1,100 stylish pairs of women’s shows. Brands include Valentino, Barioni, Bruno Magli, Aldo Brue, Bacco Bucci, Testoni, Bally, Magnanni, Mezlan, and Salvatore Ferragamo. A veritable wonderland of style in Miami’s most stylish neighborhood.
The fine Italian leather shoes are selling for up to 60 percent less than standard retail price, with prices ranging from $49.90 for many shoes to $350 for desirable luxury imports like Salvatore Ferragamo.
“As a businessman, you’ve got to ask yourself, ‘what are you doing today to make your business better tomorrow’,” says Bloom. “The answer is, keep moving, do better, and try new things. Otherwise you become stagnant and will end up like Baron’s, Lanson’s, Sym’s, Forum, and Peter Kent,” other local companies that have gone out of business or moved out of Miami.
One of the last standing men’s clothing stores in South Florida, Fashion Clothiers was founded by Shelly’s father, Nathan Bloom in 1964 during the height of the “Mad Men” era, when men of all professions wore suits to work every day, whether on Madison Avenue or Brickell Ave. Five years later Nathan convinced Shelly, who at the time worked as a court reporter, to join the business. When Nathan died in 1973, Shelly’s sister Linda joined him and together they’ve run the business for 44 years, with the help of manager Tony Pichs, who has been with the company for 31 years.
As times and fashions changed, so did Bloom’s approach to business. He made use of friendly contacts in New York to compete with other men’s fashion stores by making timely purchases at drastic discounts. Suits normally priced at $800 are at times only $110 on their racks. Bloom says these deals and everyday low prices have the business selling in excess of 6,000 suits per year to everyone from lawyers, restaurateurs and cab drivers to local and international celebrities and politicians.
“No store in America comes close to competing with us,” says Bloom. “But it’s more than price. It’s quality, selection, and having a professional staff that recognizes customer wants and needs. The most important thing to us has always been our customers. Without them, all the rest of it goes out the window.”
A vital man on the precipice of his 80th birthday, Bloom remains one of the main attractions at his store. His magnetic personality is as much a signature of the business as the clothing he sells. He is a fixture on local sports and Haitian radio, Island TV, and in Punch Newspaper, which is circulated in the Bahamas. But despite these extracurricular endeavors, his core philosophy remains unchanged: “be honest, true to your word, sell quality items at the best possible prices, and don’t try to become rich in one day.” That maxim has seen the business last more than half a century.
“In the retail world, every day you start with zero,” he says. “That’s a business reality – and a challenge every day – but I enjoy it. You need to be an extrovert in this line of business and that’s what I am.”
Shelly Bloom’s Fashion Clothiers is located at 2650 NW 5th Avenue. For more information, call 305-573-5890 or visit <www.ShellyBloom.net>.