Letter to the Editor: Reminiscences from Greg Thomajan of Zareh

Greg Thomajan, owner of Zareh in Boston for more than 50 years, sent this letter to MR’s editor-in-chief Karen Alberg Grossman. If you’re a retailer, and you’ve got something to say, drop us a line! Either post or e-mail will do.

Dear Karen,
Now that I’m on the wrong side of 75 and starting my 52nd year at the shop I thought I’d share a few reminiscences about our industry in general.

Most admired: Audry Talbott – she ran her company with a sense of style and grace that I can only envy.

Closest friendship: Dave Ryan – gone four years now and were I to tell how often I think of him—you wouldn’t believe me.

Nicest guy: (after Dave) I’ve met a zillion but Scott Ruerup, Buddy Blank, and Ara Yacobian would be right up there.

Best designer: (by a mile) Ralph Lauren.

Most talent: Murray Pearlstein. I never met him, and I’m told he could be a handful, but the guy had more talent than all the rest of us. His Chestnut Hill shop, for me at least, remains the benchmark for what a high end men’s clothing shop should look like.

Best suit: We are the largest Oxxford dealer in New England, and I’ll preface my remarks by saying that one of the reasons I’m drinking good scotch is due to the success we’ve enjoyed with their incomparable suit. Having said that, I can’t forget Norman Hilton. Toward the end it was turned into something it was never meant to be, but in their heyday, it was, stitch for stitch, the best suit I ever saw.

Most “fun” time: When Polo introduced the “wide tie” which rendered every tie in the country obsolete, which triggered the inevitable buying frenzy that showed you were more “with it” than your buddies.

Biggest disappointment: The rape of Brooks Brothers (remember when they had seven locations?) and the dumbing down of the dress code in our society.

Celebrity clients: I suppose we’ve had our share. Bobby Orr, Bob Kraft and David Gergen come to mind and incidentally, three nicer guys you’ll never meet.

Best recent book: Anything by Michael Korda.

Best recent movie: By ten miles, The King’s Speech.

I am invariably asked if I have any plans to retire, but I can’t imagine why I would. Retirement if you stop to think about it, is for people who don’t look forward to going to work—which is just about everybody I suppose. So I’ll keep going. I can rest later. As the adage goes, “you’re a long time dead.”

Greg Thomajan

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  1. avatarjohn kalell says:

    I’ve had only a passing acquaintance with him, but it was certainly a delight to read Greg Thomajan’s ‘reminiscences’ (and he surely would remind you that he spelled it correctly, while your editors did not ). He clearly has a very good sense of self,and has managed to remain successful over five decades with little fuss and pretense. We’ll all be poorer for the passing of his kind of business, built upon his stated passion, and an honest connection with his customer. Here’s to at least another couple of decades, Greg!
    John Kalell

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