It’s been a name synonymous with sleek, stylish suits in Saskatoon since 1971.
Now, 46 years later and after many changes to the business landscape, Atch & Co. is closing its doors.
“I thought it was a big change when we got a computer,” Frank Atchison, the owner of Atch & Co., said with a laugh.
“That’s nothing compared to the other changes, and also when you’re 91, it’s kind of time to throw the towel in.”
Throwing in the towel isn’t something Frank Atchison is used to.
He began his career working in clothing stores in Regina, in some cases only making $3 dollars a day, a tough salary to live on as a married man. He later left the stores for a career on the railroad, which took him across Saskatchewan; he even had a brief stint in the army during those years.
Atchison then began opening his own stores across the province, in Saskatoon and a clothing store in North Battleford.
“We had seven operations going,” Atchison remembers. “We also had a tuxedo operation and a limousine operation; so we were a pretty busy family.”
But after many years, family members moving out of province, and even a son pursuing a career in politics – who eventually became the mayor of Saskatoon for 13 years – forced Atchison to downsize to the one downtown Saskatoon location that still stands today.
“Downtown is made up of people and Frank has been a fixture downtown for many years,” Brent Penner, the executive director of DTN YXE, said.
Penner believes the move will be a tough change, but that Atchison has had a positive influence on the downtown community.
“He has sold many suits, ties and shirts to many generations of Saskatoon people, I’ve bought suits from there, my son was in there a couple of weeks ago and bought a suit.”
What Atchison will miss the most?
“I’ll miss the people coming in, there’s a lot of joking around and we had lots of fun.”
He added he will also miss the store’s weekly coffee meetings.
“We all get together, tell a few stories, they might not all be true but there’s stories,” he said with a chuckle.
With many friends still in the business like Elwood Flynn and Gord Burgess, Atchison’s message to his customers is simple.
“I’m an independent, I like to support independents and I would sure like to see the people carry on,” Atchison said.
“We still got a few independents that I would like to see the public support.”
Atchison says he has no concrete plans for retirement just yet, but he has some ideas.
“I’ve been with the Shriners for many years and it’s something I really believe in. I think I’ll put in my time doing that, and the rest of the time just loafing around,” Atchison said.
Atch & Co. will be closing its doors by Sept. 1.
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