After more than 70 years in Saskatoon’s fashion industry, one prominent retailer is retiring.
Elwood Flynn, 91, started working in the industry as a teenager in Saskatoon and fell in love with the business. In the mid-50s, he opening Elwood Flynn’s for men.
Around seven decades later, he has had some interesting clientele, from hockey player Gordie Howe to former lieutenant-governor Tom Malloy, to the son of famous blues musician B.B. King. A jazz fan, many musicians in town for Saskatoon’s jazz festival would get a suit from him, he said.
Some original clients are still his friends to this day.
“One of my close friends was Clark Terry who played with Duke Ellington and Count Basie,” said Flynn.
“I went to his wedding when he was 75 getting married on Valentine’s Day in Texas.”
Flynn’s passion for his job pours through when he talks; while he said he loved the fashion, it’s the people that make his work worthwhile.
“My best friends are regular customers here and loyal,” he said.
Rob McNab has worked for Flynn for 30 years.
“It was a shock,” he said about learning Flynn would retire. “We’re still getting used to that.”
McNab, along with the rest of Flynn’s staff, has been with him for more than a decade. Flynn said he’ll miss them, and the people he sees every day most of all.
“You make friends for life in this business,” he said.
“I don’t know anyone in another business that’s good … in making really genuine true friends.”
Downtown Saskatoon said it is an accomplishment to see a business like this stick around for so many decades.
“It certainly hits you a little harder when a business after 70 years is going away,” said executive director Brent Penner.
“It’s truly remarkable that anything can last that long and be successful; I think that’s the true story here.”
The plan is for the store to close around the end of May.
Customers missing Flynn’s personal touch won’t have to go far — his son, Barry, runs the clothing store next door.