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After 103 years in business, Raleigh men's store Nowell's Clothiers is closing

A store with a table and a mannequin full of ties at the front, and many suits hung up on mannequins and on clothing racks in the back.
Nowell's Clothiers website
Popular men's clothing store Nowell's Clothiers is closing its doors this spring.

Popular men's clothing store Nowell's Clothiers is closing its doors this spring, after more than a century in business.

Black and white image at Nowell's Clothiers
Nowell's Clothiers website
In 1930, Arthur Nowell called on his wife Florence to join the business. While it was unusual at the time for a woman to be working at a men's clothing store, she proved talented at coordinating men's outfits and worked into her 80s.

According to the store's website, Arthur Nowell and his cousin opened the business in 1921 as the Horton-Nowell Clothing Co. After the Great Depression began, Nowell asked his wife, Florence, to join him in running the business and changed the name to Nowell Clothing Co.

As written on the store's website, it was unusual in the early 1930s for a woman to work in a men's clothing store, but Florence became known as "Granny," and "developed her own clientele due to her uncanny ability to coordinate a man's wardrobe." She worked well into her 80s.

The business went through several expansions after Arthur and Florence Nowell's son Gwynn joined the business at the end of World War II. Its clientele included governors, CEOs, U.S. senators and congressmen.

The store first opened in downtown Raleigh before eventually moving to its current location off Wake Forest Road just north of the Raleigh beltline. It carried a variety of brands, including Raleigh-based Peter Millar.

Eli Chen is WUNC’s afternoon digital news producer.
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