Monday, June 26th, 2017

Cuffs, J3 Clothing, Matina’s Bridal earn national recognition

By BARRY GOODRICH

Who needs Park Avenue or Rodeo Drive? Three of the nation’s top fashion destinations are located right here in Northeast Ohio. In fact, all three are located within a five-mile radius.

The September issue of “Esquire” magazine named not one but two local establishments in its ranking of The Best Men’s Stores in America – Cuffs and J3 Clothing. Cuffs, located at 18 East Orange Street in Chagrin Falls, was established in 1981 while J3 Clothing opened its doors in 2011 at 34105 Chagrin Boulevard in Moreland Hills.

And right down Chagrin Boulevard is yet another store with a national reputation. Matina’s Bridal in Woodmere recently was named as a Chic Boutique — one of the 50 Best Independent Wedding Salons in America — by “Brides Magazine.”

Cuffs has established itself as one of the most unique men’s stores in the country thanks to a 28-year partnership with Hermes, a wine shop and bar, art gallery, furniture and wall coverings. Above all, the store’s relationship with its customers has created a bond that has survived even the worst economic times.

“Our grandest accomplishment has been gaining the support of the community after 33 years,” said Cuffs’ founder Rodger Kowall, whose sons Zachary and Cameron have joined the business. “They have shown us an amazing loyalty. We have seen three and four generations of the same families in the store at the same time.”

“Esquire” has cited Cuffs as one of the country’s top men’s stores for years before this year’s special recognition. “I had no clue about this,” said Mr. Kowall. “I actually heard about it from some of our out-of-town clients.”

The typical Cuffs customer looks for quality in all facets of a wardrobe. “Our guy likes to build a wardrobe and maintain it,” said Mr. Kowall. “A thoughtful shopper likes to buy finer things and we do a tremendous job of servicing people.”

J3 Clothing has made an immediate impact thanks to its Italian and English finery, a staff of five tailors and service that includes personal appointments. “We’re only three years old but the collective knowledge of our staff is over 100 years,” said Jack Madda, who started the company with J.B. Dunn and Joe Paster (Mike Rung is the store manager). “Service is indeed what has set us apart. We go way beyond the call of duty. We actually have more tailors than salespeople.”

Mr. Madda added that “We don’t take anything for granted, whether a person is buying a wardrobe or a pair of socks.”

While 80 to 90 percent of J3’s clients come from within a five-mile range, the store is also a favorite of former Cleveland Browns’ head coach Butch Davis and current Chicago Bears head coach Marc Trestman. “We have one person who lives in Central Park West in New York City but buys his clothing here,” said Mr. Madda.

The Chic Boutique honor for Matina’s Bridal is impressive as it was voted on by the top designers and vendors from across the country. Locally owned and operated since its inception, Matina’s Bridal is known for its wide selection of designer wedding gowns and expert alterations.

“It truly is the best thing that has ever happened to this store,” said owner Julie Possage. “It’s given us a new level of respect. It’s the frosting on what was already a very good cake.”

The award is not the only big news for Matina’s, which celebrates its 40th anniversary in October. The celebration will include an Amsale Trunk Show Oct. 17-18 along with other special events to be announced at a later date.

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