About W.C. Brown & Sons/ Browns Menswear
A staple on Elmira’s main street, W.C. Brown & Sons has been providing the clothes that make the man since 1922. William Conrad Brown set up shop on the block that now houses the Bank of Montreal, two years later he moved the operation to its current home, where his sons and later, his grandsons continued his commitment to tailoring and haberdashery.
The values he established then continue today under the ownership of his grandson, Robert Brown. “He was very dedicated”, recalls Howard Brown, William’s Son and Rob’s now late father. “He put in long hours – he was one of those people who came in at 5am and got a lot of work done before any customers came in.” Howard continued working in the store until the age of 90. The family tradition lives on in Robert and now his sons with this online business (Browns Menswear).
It’s been several decades since William passed away at the ripe age of 90, but he lives on in spirit. Howard’s been with the shop for its entire Elmira history, but his experience goes back to his dad’s previous stop in Fergus. W.C., a native of the Heidelberg area, had started his tailoring business in St.Jacobs in 1922, following that with stops in Mitchell and Fergus before settling in Elmira.
Originally a tailor shop, the business then added dry cleaning to the mix. The retail component appeared in 1945 at the end of the Second World War. Today, the retail portion is a mainstay of the business. As more ready-to-wear clothing appeared and people had more choice, off-the-rack became a more popular option!
We serve a range of customers, from older teens looking for casual wear to businessmen looking for a quality good-fitting suit. This diversity has caused some fairly significant expansion at the shop. The first changes came when the third generation of Browns, Rob and Brother David, bought the business from Howard and his brother John in 1987. Since taking sole ownership in 1998, Rob has almost doubled the size of the store. Working at the store since he was 15, it was 1977 and the fashion world was gaining momentum. Rob had spent much of his prior years learning the ins and outs of the business.
Servicing Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge, Guelph, and the GTA. Custom Tailoring, Custom Suits, In-stock clothing, and alteration. Our tailoring is done on site by Robert and his wife Kathy.
Now, the fourth generation of browns is part of the picture, with Rob’s sons Jordan and Collin, spending time working for the cause since they were 15. William never said much about us all working together, at one point there was three generations working here. With Rob’s sons in the picture, and Howard and William's legacy, the four generations can be found behind the counter.
We believe in meaningful interaction between us and our customers. We hope you enjoy your visit to our site and we hope you come visit our store in Elmira
All the best,