But after 36 years in the same location, you probably should. Some of Union Jack’s veteran employees share stories from the Strip
“Same location for 25 years!” local businesses used to crow with old-fashioned civic pride.
But in Dallas a city where the glorious art moderne Dr. Pepper plant on Mockingbird Lane was unceremoniously bulldozed to make room for an apartment complex and grocery store such claims are often few and far between.
Which makes it all the more remarkable that Union Jack, the menswear shop on Cedar Springs Road, can claim the same location for 36 years.
Owned the entire time by proprietor Richard Longstaff, Union Jack has served the community for longer than most of its customers have been alive. We asked three sales employees 11-year veteran Douglas Vejnovich, Corey Summers (seven years) and Nathan Little Wounded (three-and-a-half years) to comment on changes at the store over the decades.
Union Jack, 3920 Cedar Springs Road. 214-528-9600.
How has the store physically changed over the years? Vejnovich: The shoe department was added in 1996, shortly after I stared here. It used to be a hair salon. It’s done really well for us. Otherwise, it’s basically the same storefront the awnings are new, that’s about it.
How about the inventory? Vejnovich: It used to be a place to get goofy, funky underwear. It was a bit rougher when I started here. But now it’s more upscale-clubby. Underwear is still our biggest seller, plus cheap sunglasses. We’ve always sold Levi’s, but now we sell more denim and dressier shirts and masculine long-sleeve shirts than we used to. Our Sesame Street T-shirts sell really well. And since we don’t have a jewelry store down here anymore, we sell more jewelry, watches and man-bags.
What are the top brands? Little Wounded: English Laundry, Ed Hardy, E Division Denim.
Vejnovich: Mark Nason shoes. AussieBum and Andrew Christian underwear too.
The first time I came in here, the largest size available was “medium.” Vejnovich: We go up to “double-X” now. Not a lot of manufacturers make “small” anymore sizes start at “medium.”
Any celebrity customers? Vejnovich: Sure Matthew Rush, Leslie Jordan, Carrot Top.
So is it mostly a gay male clientele? Vejnovich: No we totally have women customers. It’s a big straight clientele. Lots of topless dancers bring their boyfriends by.
What’s the oddest experience you’ve had with a customer? Vejnovich: That’s a whole book in itself.
Summers: I’m not sure I can say Well, during swimsuit season, people call up and ask you to describe the swimsuits like, in detail.
Vejnovich: They like to ask if it’s padded. I tell ‘em, if God didn’t give it to you, you’re gonna have to put it on or work out. Or they ask, “How big are the pouches, because I’ve got a really big one.”
SCARF UP THE SALES
Union Jack holds
36th anniversary sale until Sept. 3.
Save 20 percent on Ed Hardy and Sprinto watches, GBX and Impulse athletic shoes.
Levi’s jeans 501s, 511s and 527s,
Olaf Benz underwear,
Selected summer tees and tank tops.
20 to 40 percent off Calvin Klein undies.
40 percent off swimwear.
10 a.m.-10 p.m.,
Sundays 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
WORK THAT RUNWAY
Last Saturday, three gay African-American designers tore up a makeshift catwalk at The Firehouse on Greenville Avenue. The runway show was called “Fashion Through Our Eyes,” and it was more fierce than a “Project Runway” finale.
Designers Julius Christopher and Darnell-Stevens began the afternoon with two parades of garments that were crisp, clean and cool.
But Larry Stewart, who was profiled in the Aug. 24 edition of Dallas Voice, tore the roof off with his Ramona-Marlene Couture line.
Here are some shots from the runway.
Daniel A. Kusner
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 31, 2007