Photo by: Rick Danzl/The News-Gazette
A calibration a a deactivated elevator at Jos. Kuhn & Co., which will mark its 150th ceremony this year.
10 things to apperceive about Jos. Kuhn & Co.
1. Its age: Jos. Kuhn & Co. is appearance 150 years in business this year, one of alone a few family-owned men’s accouterment food still in business.
Manager Gordon Tracy said he was told a few years ago that there were “only four men’s accouterment food in the U.S. that were 150 years or earlier and still endemic by birth of the founding families.”
“We would be No. 5,” Tracy said of the abundance founded by administrator Joseph Kuhn and after overseen by three added ancestors — his son, Isaac Kuhn; Isaac’s son-in-law, B.B. Wiese; and Isaac’s grandson and B.B.’s nephew, Dr. William D. Youngerman.
Tracy said he meets with Youngerman usually already a anniversary to altercate payroll, announcement and affairs budgets.
2. Its evolution: Today’s abundance is altered from what it was aback city administration food were in their heyday.
“This attic actuality is almost 5,000 aboveboard feet,” Tracy said, “and the store, aback built, was 35,000 aboveboard feet.”
At that time, Jos. Kuhn & Co. had commodity on assorted floors and already offered women’s accouterment as able-bodied as men’s.
Tracy said there’s little likelihood that the abundance will aggrandize above its accepted size.
“The blow of the architecture isn’t used, and apparently won’t be,” he said. If the three aerial floors were adapted for use added than accumulator — say, apartments — “the absolute architecture would accept to be brought up to code,” he said.
“It would be a huge amount to accept an alfresco elevator,” he added. “I don’t see how the aerial floors could be brought aback into use.”
3. Its merchandise: Kuhn’s sells suits, action coats, slacks, dress and action shirts, sweaters, hats and special-order shoes from Allen Edmonds. The abundance additionally carries socks, underwear, wallets, belt links, ties, tie bars, suspenders, accoutrement and pajamas, Tracy said.
Among the above brands agitated are: accoutrement and action coats by Hart Schaffner & Marx and DKNY, as able-bodied as Palm Beach suits. The abundance additionally carries Enro and Michael Kors dress shirts, additional abbreviate fits by John Varvatos and Calvin Klein.
The abundance additionally sells Luciano Visconte action shirts and Stone Rose slim-fit action shirts, Tracy said. Neckwear offerings accommodate American-made Barbara Blank ties.
Tracy, who began affairs shoes at Sholem’s while still in aerial school, after formed seven years for S&K Menswear afore advancing to Kuhn’s.
“I capital to booty the abundance aback to affection — to booty it aback to affection of service, area every guy gets measured,” Tracy said.
4. Its sizes: Kuhn’s carries accoutrement from 36 abbreviate up to 54 added long.
“A lot of food don’t alpha at 36 short,” Tracy said. “We get a lot of acceptance who are almost small, and the acceptance who are alpine acknowledge accepting added continued suits.”
At one time, 40 percent of the commodity at Kuhn’s was big-and-tall merchandise. Today that has been akin to 25 percent.
5. Its tonsorial offerings: Jos. Kuhn & Co. added a atom administration two years ago aback atom articles were accepting added popular. Today the abundance sells atom cream, soap, aftershave, cologne and aholic brushes — but not beeline razors.
6. Its announcement and marketing: To get chat out, the abundance advertises on radio year-round and sends out a mailer about Thanksgiving to professionals and American Express agenda holders.
Kuhn’s additionally targets specific populations, alms year-round discounts to police, firefighters, veterans, associates of the aggressive and Rotarians, Tracy said.
The abundance has a website — joskuhn.com — but it carefully provides advice about the articles Kuhn’s sells.
“We don’t advertise annihilation online,” Tracy said.
The armpit was set up to advertise merchandise, “but there wasn’t abundant to abide so we aloof chock-full affairs it online,” he said.
7. Its affectation windows: One of the best advertisements for commodity are the advanced window displays.
“The three windows are actual important,” Tracy said. “We accommodate the windows every two weeks.”
Because banal cartage in city Champaign is so abundant at black and night as bodies appointment confined and restaurants, Kuhn’s keeps the windows lit until about 2 a.m.
Tracy said abounding accept told him they were walking by at night, saw an account they admired and came aback to ask about it.
8. Its address on campus: Tracy said he believes Kuhn’s chump abject divides up almost 50-50 amid academy acceptance and added demographic groups.
“The adolescent being is about a college-age adolescent able who has become added fashion-conscious and wants to accept a clothing or two in his wardrobe,” Tracy said. “Often, they’re advancing in to adapt for interviews.”
Some noticed the abundance while downtown, or a assistant or adviser appropriate they come, he added.
In several cases, acceptance autonomous for blatant styles, “and they’ve appear aback to acknowledge us for blame them into a added bourgeois attending for the interview,” he said.
9. Its busiest times: Tracy, one of three Kuhn’s employees, said abatement and winter tend to be the stronger months for business.
“There are added bodies affairs from aboriginal August to the end of February and March,” he said.
The abundance is about accessible six canicule a anniversary and bankrupt Sundays — except from Thanksgiving to Christmas, aback it’s accessible from apex to 4 p.m. Sundays.
The abundance is accessible a little after on Tuesday and Friday evenings. Regular hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Fridays.
10. Its artifacts: The affectation attic includes a few testaments to Kuhn’s history, including a sleigh that belonged to the Kuhn family. Now amid against the rear of the store, it has generally been a affection in the anniversary Parade of Lights during the anniversary season. There’s additionally an aged calibration that Tracy said “weighs 4 pounds heavy.”
A Kuhn’s chronology
1865 — Joseph Kuhn opens his aboriginal abundance in Champaign. Born in Germany in 1837, he is appear to accept appear to the U.S. at age 19. He formed for his brother-in-law in Mississippi for bristles years and was drafted into the Confederate Army. According to J.O. Cunningham’s “The History of Champaign County,” Kuhn served 13 months, again took an adjuration of adherence to the U.S. He formed a abbreviate time in Lafayette, Ind., came to Champaign County in 1864 and opened his aboriginal abundance the afterward year.
1867 — Joseph Kuhn buys two-story architecture at 45 Main St. and moves abundance there. After abundance is damaged in 1872 as aftereffect of a adjacent fire, he rebuilds abundance as a two-story brick architecture and calls the business the “Star Accouterment Store.”
1887 — Joseph Kuhn’s son, Isaac, invests in the store, and the name is afflicted to Joseph Kuhn and Son. Ten years later, Isaac buys a half-interest in the store.
1907 — Isaac Kuhn builds four-story brick architecture at 33-37 Main St., and the abundance moves to that area the afterward year. In 1909, the business becomes Joseph Kuhn and Co.
1915 — Joseph Kuhn dies at his home, 309 W. University Ave., C.
1920s — Harold “Red” Grange and added University of Illinois athletes affectation in ads for Kuhn’s. According to a 1994 News-Gazette adventure by Becky Mabry, some athletes did alive clay in the abundance windows.
1946 — One of Isaac’s sons-in-law, advocate B.B. Wiese — bedmate of Helen Kuhn Wiese — joins the business allotment time, with responsibilities growing over time.
1955 — Kuhn’s opens a annex abundance in Tuscola.
1956 — Isaac Kuhn dies in January; son-in-law B.B. Wiese assumes administration crimson for aing 25 years. Additionally in 1956, the store’s axial “well” — that had been accessible to fourth-floor stained-glass skylight — is bankrupt off, abacus added amplitude on anniversary floor.
1958 — Kuhn’s opens a women’s accoutrement boutique on the third floor.
1970 — Kuhn’s adds the architecture at 29 Main St., adjustment it for a men’s shoe department. Abundance additionally adds an art accumulation shop.
1976 — Kuhn’s opens annex store, Kuhn’s Too, at Market Place Shopping Center, with stained-glass skylight affective there too. That abundance closes in 1991.
1981 — Dr. William D. Youngerman, son of Ruth Kuhn Youngerman and grandson of Isaac Kuhn, buys business from uncle and aunt, B.B. and Helen Kuhn Wiese.
1988 — Kuhn’s opens abundance in Danville’s Village Mall.
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