It was a job in accounting - and that job's end - that led Michael Konvalin to a new career in menswear.
Konvalin was slated to move to a new position in Pennsylvania, but he didn't want to leave the Black Hills. And if there was another thing with which he was familiar - it was meanswear. "You always had to dress up in our business, always buying clothes," he said.
Instead of moving, Konvalin opened Michael's Men's Wear on St. Joseph Street downtown and, after 25 years, he hasn't looked back. Ten years ago, he moved the operation just two doors down to its present location at 617 St. Joseph St. "We've been here ever since," he said.
Michael's Men's Wear made its name fit, with personal attention appreciated by shoppers. That kind of one-on-one connection isn't something that's available at the big retail chain stores, Konvalin said. Some stores might try to go up against the bigger chains, but the staff members at Michael's stick to what they do best. "You don't try to compete with those people - you can't compete with those people," he said, "You just take care of your people and do your thing."
The shop has two part-time tailors who make sure the clothes fit the man. That hands-on detail adds another reason why customers come back. "We keep sizes of everyone we sell to," he said.
Michael's Men's Wear features sizes up to 60 long and sells brands such as Alex Cannon, Austin Reed, Greg Norman, Reed leathers, Enro shirts, and more. "You name it, we've got it," he said.
Konvalin says his favorite part of the job is getting personal with each customer who comes in the door. "Being able to meet people every day, you jaw with peopel and talk with people," he said. "Rapid City is a good town to do business."
The downtown area is an exciting place to be these days, said Konvalin. The retail district is developing into a destination for both shoppers and tourists who search out the statues of the U.S. presidents on the street corners throughout the area. "Our downtown is growing all the time. People want to be down here; a lot of things are happening," he said.