Iconic Lan­don’s Ap­parel Shop Clos­ing Doors

Escalon Times - - FRONT PAGE - BY VIR­GINIA STILL vstill@oak­dale­leader.com

If you drive down Santa Fe Street into the heart of down­town River­bank, there is a cloth­ing store that has be­come an iconic fix­ture in the Oak­dale, Escalon, and River­bank area for more than 70 years.

Lan­don’s Men’s and Women’s Wear, which opened in 1947 in the his­toric Del Rio Theater has been sell­ing fash­ion­able ap­parel op­tions and ac­ces­sories, from the rugged Levi brand to classy golf po­los and women’s fash­ions for so long, many are go­ing to miss the con­ve­nience of pop­ping into a lo­cal store for qual­ity ap­parel.

The busi­ness has had two gen­er­a­tions run through it and it has seen the chang­ing of the times with big box stores and now the chang­ing of the re­tail world from In­ter­net gi­ants such as Ama­zon and eBay.

Richard D. Lan­don, the store’s name­sake, started his busi­ness sell­ing Army and Navy sur­plus items such as beds, desks, paint, lad­ders, and tarps. What­ever the mil­i­tary was dis­man­tling, Richard would put up for sale. Lan­don’s stayed in the theater un­til 1952 un­til they moved to where De­sign’s By Karen is cur­rently lo­cated. At that time, Lan­don’s sold soft goods from 1952 through 1962 and when they moved into the space they are in now in 1972, they ex­panded the store.

Richard’s son Stuart has been run­ning the busi­ness for about 30 years now and has re­ally en­joyed his time in River­bank and in the cloth­ing busi­ness. StockA

ing the shelves with items that he liked was a ben­e­fit to run­ning a store but Stuart made sure to keep an open mind with eye to­ward trends that would come and go. Stuart joked, one trend he couldn’t quite ap­pre­ci­ate was the skinny jean.

“I didn’t re­ally get my head around that too much so I missed some busi­ness be­cause I didn’t chase af­ter the kids but they are all go­ing to come back to the stan­dard 501 fit sooner or later it is just too good of a fit,” said Stuart. “I should have per­haps been a lit­tle more ag­gres­sive but it wasn’t go­ing to af­fect this de­ci­sion, when it was time to sell the build­ing, it was time. It was all pred­i­cated on that.”

They have out­fit­ted plenty of high school stu­dents from Oak­dale and River­bank High School with their cus­tom let­ter­man jack­ets. This part of the busi­ness will con­tinue with a new lo­ca­tion at Sara’s Dry Clean­ers in Oak­dale and a new part­ner­ship.

“So all my jack­ets are head­ing there (Sara’s),” Stuart shared. “Still they (jack­ets) are mine but Sara and I are part­ners to sell them. We are still do­ing the work here lo­cally. It is a nice part­ner­ship. Ev­ery­one is happy plus it is right next door to Oak­dale High.”

Lan­don’s has also been in the busi­ness of fit­ting peo­ple for tuxe­does or rent­ing them whether they are needed for a wed­ding, prom, quincean­era or any other for­mal oc­ca­sion.

“We will miss the per­sonal in­ter­ac­tion,” Stuart said. “It has been fun and a great job. I was able to be a lit­tle bit of a rene­gade wear­ing shorts to work. I have also been known to have re­fresh­ments wait­ing for a cus­tomer. There is so many of these cus­tomers that are friends. We have grown and have such a great re­la­tion­ship.”

Down­town River­bank has seen its share of busi­nesses come and go and Lan­don’s has had many neigh­bors that have be­come close friends like his neigh­bor Karen whom he said has been a ter­rific neigh­bor and re­ally great friend.

The store at­tempted a clo­sure in 2008 that never hap­pened. This time the doors will close for good and Stuart will never for­get the sup­port he has re­ceived from the com­mu­nity.

“There was a great deal of sup­port for my Dad when he was both sick and when he passed away, which was re­ally heart­felt from the com­mu­nity,” Stuart said. “They still come in and talk about how he im­pacted their lives and there were so many lo­cal fam­i­lies. It is a legacy that I am re­ally proud of.”

With projects lined up for the rest of the year and an in­ter­est in agri­cul­ture and wine in­dus­try, Stuart will miss the peo­ple the most but as he said, “There is still some left in me to be done.”

Stuart added, “It was a good run. We aren’t go­ing broke, we are just clos­ing.”

The store is open Mon­day through Fri­day from 10 a.m. un­til 6 p.m.; Satur­day from 10 a.m. un­til 5 p.m.; and Sun­days from 11 a.m. un­til 4 p.m. un­til the fi­nal clo­sure.

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