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70 years of clothing Riverbank come to an end for second-generation shop

Owner Stuart Landon organizes some clothing at Landon’s mens wear store in Riverbank, Calif., on Saturday, July 29, 2017. Landon’s is closing after 70 year in business.
Owner Stuart Landon organizes some clothing at Landon’s mens wear store in Riverbank, Calif., on Saturday, July 29, 2017. Landon’s is closing after 70 year in business. aalfaro@modbee.com

After 70 years in business, Landon’s in Riverbank is hanging up its dungarees.

A staple in Riverbank since 1947, the men’s and women’s wear store is closing later this month. The business harkens back to a time when shopping for clothing was about more than just a few clicks of the mouse. But owner Stuart Landon, who took over from his father and store founder the late Richard Landon, said the time was finally right to move on.

“It’s been very rewarding to be a second-generation family-owned business. I feel sad about that we’re not continuing but the timing is right to end. Everyone has other stuff they’re trying to do. It’s the perfect time —a nice round number 70 years sounds good,” he said.

This is actually the second time Landon’s has been near closing. The first was in 2007, but then the real estate market collapsed making it too much of a challenge to sell the building. So instead Landon evolved the store’s focus to various niche markets including Levis jeans, work clothes, big and tall sizes, and letterman jackets. Talking and listening to customers, he said, is what has kept them afloat over seven decades.

Landon has been in the business for 30 years. His father started the store after returning home from serving in World War II. Originally, the store operated in the Del Rio Theater building. Then five years later it moved to another larger building nearby. In 1962 the business relocated to its current home, which the senior Landon had built specially for the shop.

Richard Landon passed away in 2011. Over the years, the store has remained firmly family run and today three family members still work there. And its customers have been just as loyal, many of them are second and even third-generation shoppers.

Landon said he has made arrangements with other local retailers to pick up the slack for his clients. He is transferring his varsity jacket business to Sara’s Dry Cleaning in Oakdale. He is also recommending customers go to Crescent Supply in Modesto for work wear, Rosini’s in Modesto for formal wear and Escalon Feed & Supply for its all-important Levi’s business. The store has been selling the traditional denim brand since it opened.

“I have a picture of my dad with a stack of 501s and they were selling for $1.98,” Landon said.

The shop’s last day should be around Aug. 24. After that Landon, who is turning 60, said he plans to work in agriculture for a few years before enjoying retirement proper. For now the store is running huge closing sales on all its clothing and selling everything down to the racks.

“It’s been really fun, you know when you are selling out to the bare walls there are always treasures you find. And everyone loves a bargain,” he said. “We’re happy and excited. This is part of the natural evolution of a business.”

And, in case you were wondering what’s taking Landon’s place, the building has been purchased by the owners of the local restaurant Pizza Plus just across the road on Santa Fe Street. They are expanding and will move into the site.

“I’m happy to sell to a local business and it’s one of my favorite pizzas,” Landon said.

Elsewhere around the Business Beat:

Flex your “play video” button fingers, folks, the Stanislaus County Office of Education is looking for substitute teachers.

Kidding; substitute teachers are hard-working, conscientious professional educators who deserve our respect and only occasionally show videos when the regular teacher is out sick.

The Careers in Education Day and Substitute Teacher Recruitment is slated from 8:30 a.m. to noon Aug. 12 at the Martin Petersen Event Center on 12th Street in downtown Modesto. The free event will provide information for people interested in education careers and about the credentialing process. School Districts in attendance will be recruiting substitute teachers for the 2017-18 school year and colleges from throughout the central valley will provide information about their credential programs.

For additional information visit the SCOE website at www.stancoe.org.

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