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The idea came to Randy Barkin four years ago.
“I thought, ‘People think nothing of wearing a used tux on the day of their wedding. Why not used suits, and shirts?'”
Not to mention pants, ties, shoes and belts. Just like that, Incognito Menswear opened for business at the Four Corners (Route 441 and Five Mile Line Road) in the fall of 2007.
“We sell pretty much anything except underwear,” says Art Stoler, Incognito’s director of sales and buying and former owner of Jack Green Men’s Shop in Irondequoit.
Barkin is quick to point out that this is not a consignment shop.
“It’s resale,” he says. “Cash for your clothes.”
Or in many cases, store credit. “Most guys will take $15 or $20 off an item in the store in exchange for their item,” says Stoler, who only purchases clothes by appointment.
Barton says his 1,200-square-foot shop is western New York’s only resale men’s store. “I think we’ve found an unfilled niche in this country,” the 1980 Irondequoit High graduate says. “There are a lot of stores like this for ladies, but not men.”
Barkin grew up around the tuxedo business. His uncle owned the A.J.’s Tux Shop chain that populated local malls, and Barkin worked there as a boy. He opened Tuxedo Park at the same Four Corners location in 1995.
Incognito still rents tuxes; it supplies apparel for the Rochester Red Wings front office staff on Opening Day and for award winners and club executives for the annual Press-Radio Club dinner.
Barkin also has an Incognito store in Spencerport; that one sells ladies’ items, too.
Barkin says the Penfield store accepts “gently used clothing” with a high-end brand name such as Giorgio Armani, Ralph Lauren or Hickey Freeman.
At Incognito, a Ralph Lauren suit costs $89.
“It’s $350 if you buy it in a store,” Barkin says. “We have a new Lands’ End sweater for $19.95. It’s about $89 in a retail store.”
All clothing is dry cleaned and inspected before going on the rack.
Barkin says many people have gotten away from wearing tuxedos to weddings and now prefer black suits, so he has plenty of those on hand as well.
He also caters to men who are out of work and preparing for job interviews and need a suit.
Barkin’s biggest concern about turning his business in this direction was “Will men wear used clothing?”
The answer has been a resounding “yes.”
“Ninety-nine percent of the time, people don’t care if it’s pre-owned or not,” Stoler says.
And that suits Incognito Menswear just fine.