Upscale Store’s Closing Shows Downtown Challenges

BY STEVE DINNEN

Retailing is tough: Just ask the liquidators of Toy R Us. Or Max Stanco, whose Lord Midas upscale menswear shop at Sixth and Locust streets is soon to close.

Stanco opened the store in late 2015 to showcase made-in-Italy high fashion for men. Finely crafted shoes, coats, sweaters and leather goods were the order of the day, and store manager Alejandro Ledezma said sales perked along in part due to out-of-towners visiting the store while they were in Des Moines during the run-up to the 2016 caucuses.

When the visitors left, though, sales fell. Blame it on poor parking options downtown, or the upstairs-downstairs whiplash known as the skywalk. Perhaps the well-groomed of Des Moines were too attached to incumbent haberdashers.

Or, it could be that critical mass for downtown retailing remains out of reach.

“We wouldn’t be [closing] if we were at Jordan Creek,” Ledezma said in an echo of location, location, location.

Whatever the reason, it shows retailing downtown remains a hard do. But Ledezma said Lord Midas gave Stanco the push to open his operations in Palm Beach, Florida, where he currently is based. And it now offers us the chance to pick up some quality threads at bargain prices. (I should only be so lucky that before my birthday my wife should see a stylish cashmere overcoat.)

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