MITCHELL, S.D. – Michael’s Toggery, the men’s clothing store that has been a regional retail mainstay since 1928, will sell its entire inventory and close its doors, co-owners Lee and Renee Michael said today.
“The decision is bittersweet because we’re slowing down as the business has grown,” said Renee Michael. “We’re sad to be closing but we know it’s the right decision at the right time.”
Lee Michael added, “Business has grown strongly during the past five years. In fact, the last 12 months have been our best 12 months ever. We attribute that success to a combination of things, not the least of which is having the right products in the store.”
Michael’s Toggery, 211 N. Main St., will hold its store closing sale from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Saturday and 12 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Sunday. It will return to normal business hours until the remaining inventory is sold.
Michael’s Toggery was founded by Leonard Reamsma, who eventually sold the business to Bernie Schultz. Lee Michael purchased the Toggery from Schultz in 1975. In the early 1990s, Lee and Renee Michael decided to move a children’s store that Renee managed into the Toggery. The businesses operated separately until about 15 years ago when they were combined.
Lee Michael, who was the director of a mental health center in Dickinson, N.D., during the first five years of his career, was drawn to Mitchell by family connections. “My mom lived here so I’d come back all the time to visit her and I just happened to run into a friend who was a Realtor and city councilman who told me that the store was not listed for sale but Bernie wanted to retire. Six months later, I owned the store.”
Michael acknowledged the decision was a big leap, adding, “The biggest challenge was just learning the business.” Since then, the business has adapted to the ups and downs of economic good times and recessions, regional droughts, the 2019 flood, changing consumer tastes and even Main Street infrastructure updates. Through it all, the Michaels said the highlights of their careers have been the success of Michael’s Toggery and their relationships with several generations of customers.
Renee Michael said, “We’ve had a very good tuxedo business. There have been a lot of weddings, proms and other special occasions over the years, and we were happy to be a small part in so many of them.”
Lee Michael added, “Mitchell’s Main Street economy and retail businesses have been very strong, especially compared to many communities. We’ve really enjoyed being part of that positivity and can’t thank our customers enough for their support over the years.”
The couple will continue to live in Mitchell after the store’s closing. “We like to travel but we don’t have any definite plans right now,” Renee Michael said. “We’re not going to leave the community. We have a lot of good friends here. It’s just time for us to slow down a little bit."