- Carroll’s Men’s Shop opened in 1947 and was bought by Steve and Nancy Murray in 1984. Steve started working there in 1967.
- Spring is a busy time with tuxedo rentals for weddings and proms. They also do varsity jackets.
- Murray is encouraged by the revitalization he’s seen of Main Street over the past few years, including remodeling to the building he’s in.
- Over the years, Murray has seen the focus of the store and fashion change from formal wear to causal clothes.
COSHOCTON – Steve Murray of Carroll’s Men’s Shop can easily size up a customer when they walk in the door. After 54 years in the men’s clothing business a tape measure just confirms what he already knows.
The store at 541 Main St. dates back to 1947 and a little further down the road. Murray has a picture in the back showing where the shop used to be located and a bustling Main Street with three lanes of traffic. It moved to its current spot in 1970.
Main Street doesn’t look like that anymore, but he’s excited by the changes he’s seen in the last few years.
The store is located in the McDowell Building, which also has Shrimplin’s Barber Shop and the Renaissance on Main. Amy and Kirby Hasseman have done a lot of renovations to the upstairs since buying the building. Murray has taken note of other updates going on around him and stores opening, such as Rust Decor just around the corner.
Styles have also changed over time.
When Murray started working for the store in 1967 it was all suits, formal hats and top coats. Now it’s more casual wear. He misses the good old days, but can roll with the alterations.
“We used to carry about 400 suits and sports coats, but we sold a lot of suits and sports coats. And if you sold suits and sports coats, you sold top coats, which we don’t even do outerwear anymore. We sold a lot of dress hats back in those days, but that day has kind of gone by the wayside,” Murray said.
He and his wife, Nancy, bought the store from Tom and Lola Carroll in 1984. It was started by Tom’s father, Chester, and Harry Smith. At the age of 74, Murray hasn’t even contemplated retirement or selling the shop.
“It’s something I enjoy. People say, ‘Why don’t you retire.’ If I retire, I’d have to be doing something. I couldn’t just go home and sit down, I tell you that,” Murray said.
He works alone since the death of longtime employee Karen Burris in 2019 at the age of 79. He could hire someone else, but gets by okay with occasional help from Nancy. With a laugh, Murray remembers a recent Saturday where he was slammed and called Nancy in for aid. It got quiet after she arrived and Nancy hoped she wasn’t bad luck. They’ve been married nearly 55 years.
The spring is often a busy time for the store with young men looking for tuxedos for proms and weddings. Recently, when Nathaniel Stamper of River View was looking through books, Murray was very quick to point out what cuts and colors would work for him. If there’s one thing Murray is bluntly honest about, it’s fashion.
Carroll’s Men’s Shop owes a lot to local youth. They’re also an outlet for varsity jackets for River View, Ridgewood, Coshocton City, Coshocton Christian, Newcomerstown and Tri-Valley schools. Above the old picture of Main Street is a framed shirt from Coshocton City Schools signed by the 2007 football team, a get well present after Murray had a stroke.
Last year was slower with many proms and weddings cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s coming back this year and he’s happy to see it, not just for his business but for the teens. Local schools are looking to follow pandemic protocols and explore different venues.
“It’s just a blessing they’re going to have proms this year. It’s going to be a little different, but at least they’re going to have proms,” Murray said.
When asked what he can offer over the big box stores, like a flash, he answered customer service.
“You don’t have to pay anything for service, it’s all free,” Murray said.