DALLAS — Amid constant change and development on and around Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard in South Dallas, some small businesses have remained staples along the busy corridor.
One of them -- Roberts Ready To Wear -- has been around for 60 years.
”My father started this in 1960, July,” said Samuel Washington, Jr., as he opened up the shop on Monday.
The men’s boutique is a mainstay for some of Dallas’ fashionable fellas.
”We’ve got suits, shoes, actually head to toe,” Washington explained. “We do exotic shoes. We do ‘skins. Alligator.”
Washington says his father, Samuel Washington, Sr., was intentional about opening Roberts Ready To Wear in South Dallas six decades ago. Family members say the auto worker’s goal in becoming a fashion entrepreneur was to give ordinary men access to stylish options.
”His thought was we needed quality clothes and variety in the Black community,” Washington, Jr. explained.
Washington, Sr. died in 2017. His family continues running the shop and living out his mission.
Staff members say they don’t just sell clothing, they specialize in styling the individual.
”Ninety percent of my clothes come from here,” said James Thompson. He’s been a Roberts Ready To Wear client for 30 years.
”If you want to dress and you don’t know what you want, his sister Lois, tell her to dress you. She’ll do it,” Thompson explained.
The business has managed to sustain its presence along Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard, though family members say it hasn’t always been easy.
“To tell you the truth, by the grace of God, because it has been rough,” Washington, Jr. laughed.
Operating the store has become more challenging during the coronavirus pandemic. Clothing retail has taken a hit.
"The guy that we cater to is the guy that goes out, you know, that goes to galas. Goes to parties. Go to special events. And, you know, because of COVID, that’s non-existent now," said Washington.
The team at Roberts Ready To Wear remains optimistic and focused on styling all sorts of fellas, as long as they continue coming in for service.
Roberts Ready To Wear is located at 1706 Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard, Dallas, TX 75215.
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