Room for options in new men's clothing store on Main Street
When Jen Claussen put men's clothing out on the floor at Swans this spring, it was a welcomed relief to many in town – no more running to Norfolk for a pair of black pants prior to a high school choir concert and no more fast trips to Sioux City for last minute family picture outfits.
In the days of Swan's Clothing, the building was split down the middle – men's fashion on one side and women's on the other. And just like in those days, it was obvious that splitting the store wasn't enough.
"It (men's clothing) started April of this year," Claussen said. "And it became very clear quickly more was needed."
When Swan's Clothing expanded to a second building in 1953, women's fashions stayed at the original location but was renamed Swan's Apparel for Women while the men's clothing moved across the street and to the north a few store fronts at 218 Main Street.
That storefront wasn't available, but Claussen still managed to nab a historic building on Main Street, perhaps with an even better location than that of the original – directly across the street of the current business.
Al Swan and Robert McLean established the men's clothier in 1953 and thus the store was named Swan-McLean Clothing for Men and Boys. As a nod to the history with the store, Claussen aptly named her new venture Swans for Men.
The new business will be located at 204 Main Street. The building, once home to Mines Jewelry, still holds its historical charm with hardwood floors, original tin ceilings and the jewelry safe that can be seen the moment the front door opens.
"We're assuming the safe is original to the building because there is a beam running through that you can see in the basement ceiling to support it."
The building required quite a bit of clearing out and cleaning as well as some construction. Walls were added for a fitting room and small office area and old display cases were removed and plaster was repaired.
In addition to that list, Claussen added the construction of several pieces of furniture to it. Not only did she get to design exactly what she was looking for, she also was ensuring the quality.
"All of the front counter, back counter and our shelving is hand-crafted by my husband Chad and his father," Claussen said. "They're all one of a kind pieces."
Claussen said she looked at cigar lounges and Irish pubs for inspiration in numerous ways, from the paint color to the decor to the logo.
"We found a bunch of cigar boxes while we were cleaning things out. Which is great because we will use them for displays."
Not only will those be used, but Claussen said there are pieces of the building's history as Mine's Jewelry and the former Swan-McLean clothing store that will be used in decorating the space.
"I have an old Mine's Jewelry bag that we framed and someone had an old gift-certificate from the Swan-McLean store someone found tucked in a trunk that we're displaying too."
The new location for men's clothing will continue to carry the necessities Claussen had on hand at Swans Apparel as well as more.
"I said from the beginning this space was perfect. It's not too much that it would be overwhelming, but we have room to give options."