It’s A Man’s World: Vintage clothing in River Park
Published: Monday, January 21, 2013
Updated: Monday, January 21, 2013 13:01
The River Park community is home to many interesting stores with many interesting stories. Two of these stores are It’s A Man’s World and its sister shop, Our Better Half.
Each specializes in men’s and women’s vintage clothing and accessories. Both of these two-story shops are owned and operated exclusively by Neal Masters.
“The idea here is to cover every style, every age and every brand name, and we come pretty close,” said Masters, who started the business in May of 2009. “We try to be a one-stop shop.”
Masters opened the store after moving back to South Bend from his previous home in San Diego. He was inspired to start the business by seeing the success of other vintage clothing stores in San Diego, and by the lack of vintage clothing stores that were focused on men.
Masters decided to add a women’s section last May. “Women’s clothing is where the action is. It’s been a success since day one,” said Masters, adding that the women’s section has created a large increase in business.
The shop is located on Mishawaka Avenue, among many other businesses. This location was chosen because of its high level of visibility and traffic. Masters would like to see businesses in the area expand and hopes to see new River Park shops and restaurants in the near future.
“My main goal is to be a success here locally, but I strictly play it by ear,” said Masters. “If the opportunity presented itself and I could get the right location, I would like to add a children’s section.”
Masters also noted that he would like to someday add a small sports bar for his customers to enjoy, and that he would also consider adding another store to his business if he could find the right location.
The vintage items are priced according to their condition, rarity, size and the market for them. Masters also factors in the current retail price of these items to determine their original value.
While running the business, Masters has sold and received many interesting items, including an Armani suit, many high-quality fur coats and quality leather boots. Masters notes that he rarely takes items in on consignment.
“I’m always looking for men’s vintage hats,” said Masters. “I’m looking for cowboy boots, vintage leather motorcycle jackets and good quality dress shoes.” Masters added that he is also looking for Harley Davidson apparel, and that these items sell quickly.
It’s A Man’s World and Our Better Half are currently open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The stores are located at 3032 Mishawaka Ave., and can be reached by phone at 574-287-2595.