SHEBOYGAN – The owners of local retail landmark Art Imig’s will hold the grand opening of a second men’s clothing store on Thursday in the lower level of their dry cleaning business that is at the center of a neighborhood renovation around the 700 block of New York Avenue.
The store will open at 8 a.m. Thursday with discounts through the day until the 8 p.m. closing. A Chamber of Commerce delegation will be on hand at 5:00 p.m. for a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The Levitt AMP Concert Series’ final event of the year will also kick off across the street from the store at 6:00 p.m.
Jake and Anna Toman purchased the Art Imig’s Kohler location in 2013 when Art Imig retired after working 48 years at the men’s clothing and dry cleaning business founded by his grandfather in 1909. They purchased the Sheboygan dry cleaning center in January 2015.
“It wasn’t a purchase we were planning on making – in fact, it was one of the toughest business decisions we’ve ever had to make – but we realized the two locations just go together because the dry cleaning business provides a flow of foot traffic that complements our retail business and vice versa,” Anna Toman said. “The Imig name is in very good standing, the family was really supportive of our family carrying on their tradition.”
As the Tomans considered whether to expand their retail clothing business to their 723 New York Avenue location, all the stars seemed to align in support of moving forward.
“We were really up for the challenge of tackling the business renovation. I’d say we were cautious but really excited,” Toman said. “What makes it even more exciting is that there is so much going on in the neighborhood that’s bringing energy back. New apartments are going up, a lot of young people are coming in and bringing new life to the downtown, the new concert stage is going up.”
She added, “As we were started our renovation, the city decided to make New York Street a through street after it had been dead-ended for a long time. There’s so much activity and energy right now and we’re right in the middle of it. We couldn’t be happier.”
Toman, who is a master gardener, praised city officials’ decision to reopen New York Avenue and create a green space in a former parking lot east of Art Imig’s that she was able to design. “It has been a great partnership. The planning started two years ago. We designed it; they paid for it. It’s up to us to care for the garden and the city does the mowing,” she explained.
Jake Toman describes the family’s second clothing store as “Sheboygan friendly in terms of fashion and pricing with the same commitment to stellar customer care that we deliver at Art Imig’s Kohler.” It is believed to mark the first men’s clothing retailer in downtown since Kress Hertel closed in 1992.
The Tomans look forward to Thursday’s grand opening – and seeing the business move forward – after months of hard work on their store and surrounding upheaval.
“There’s been constant renovation around us for three years. We’ve been watching the new apartment building going up. The street has been torn up and the city installed new sewers and drains, so everything has been a real work in progress for months, but it’s all coming together now,” Anna Toman said. “We’re excited, but that comes from the sense of excitement we know the entire community is going to have. This is a fun new chapter in Art Imig’s history, we’re new owners but we still carry the same sense of community service and family that the Imig family demonstrated for years and we’re proud to cultivate those traditions.”
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