Earlier this month, it was announced that Dallas-based Stanley Korshak, the largest independent luxury department store in the nation, had signed a multi-year lease at The Crescent, where they’ve been a retail anchor at the Uptown development since it opened in 1986.
It was a notably optimistic story in today’s world, where retail news has been predominately — for lack of a better word — a downer. A Paycheck Protection Program loan certainly gave Korshak a boast (the retailer received between $1 and $2 million), but the multi-year deal seems to signal confidence beyond what a federal loan might provide.
“We had a great June. We passed what last year was, which was shocking. It’s incentive for us to forge ahead,” says Stanley Korshak’s public relations manager K.J. Murphy.
“We’re retail to-go even in normal times.”
Korshak has a solid ecommerce setup, where they serve customers as far as Tokyo and Dubai, but it’s their brick-and-mortar business Murphy believes might be giving them a surprising edge. Where most stores have had to pivot to a more personable, in-person approach to help visitors feel safe shopping during the pandemic, the Dallas retailer has long been flexible when catering to its customers.
“We’re really kind of doing business as usual. We’ve always dropped things off at customers’ houses. We’ll open the store during off hours for private events or to accommodate a client. Our salespeople deliver and pick-up alterations. We’re retail to-go even in normal times,” Murphy says. “We’ve had to think outside the box on a few things, but basically we’ve stayed the course.”
Another factor likely boosting Stanley Korshak’s positive outlook is owner Crawford Brock, who has worked with the store since 1987 (he purchased it from Caroline Rose Hunt in 2002) and counted the late Stanley Marcus — well known for going above and beyond to cater to customers — as a mentor.
Brock has helped the store weather several storms as Korshak’s owner (the economic effects of the September 11 attacks, the 2008-09 recession, and even the entrance-construing 2015 construction), though the pandemic has created the biggest challenge. “We all met on March 16, and he really never once said that we’re not going to make it. Every meeting has been, ‘We’re going to fight this thing, we’re going to make it, and this is what we’re going to do,’” Murphy recalls. “I think it’s a testament to experience and feeling confident in his team and a family-owned business.”
Like many retailers, Korshak had just received an enormous shipment of spring merchandise just as the pandemic forced store doors closed. When they opened on May 1, people weren’t buying quite like they used to without weddings or springtime events to attend, but they were still buying. There were two purchases mainly: investment pieces that had been heavily marked down, or more casual items from The Shak — what Murphy refers to “front yard party clothes.”
“People in Dallas are willing to buy,” Murphy adds. “There’s nothing like retail therapy.”