By  on July 9, 2007

ATLANTA — M. Dumas & Sons will be the king of King Street in Charleston, S.C., when the men’s wear specialty retailer takes over the adjacent space left vacant by upscale men’s wear retailer A.J. Davis & Co., which closed June 27.

According to David Dumas, owner of M. Dumas, the store will have a total of 8,200 square feet when the 2,800-square-foot space occupied by Davis is added to his current 5,400 square feet. M. Dumas will add two eight-by-eight foot entrances between the stores, and will do exterior and interior remodeling to blend the two spaces together. The M. Dumas store underwent a complete remodeling in fall 2005 that included new hardwood floors, cabinetry and track lighting, as well as a Vineyard Vines shop. Dumas plans an Aug. 18 grand opening for the expanded store, which he said commemorates his father and uncle’s birthdays.

The Davis store became available after the store’s owner, local Charleston economist and longtime A.J. Davis customer Al Parish, was arrested April 12 by the FBI and charged with 11 fraud-related counts covering his unregistered offerings of investment pools. Hays Consulting, the Atlanta-based company in charge of collecting and selling Parish’s assets, decided to close the store after failing to find a buyer. An A.J. Davis store that Parish opened in Summerville, S.C., about a year ago, was also closed. Alan Davis, who opened the Charleston store 23 years ago, sold his business to Parish in January 2005.

Dumas said he now will have 50 feet of frontage on King Street, Charleston’s premier shopping district, and six display windows on King and Society streets, up from four.

The expansion gives Dumas an opportunity to magnify some best-selling brands and to further develop his own private label, M. Dumas & Sons. The private label, which bears a palmetto tree and crescent moon as its logo, will add trousers and walk shorts made by Berle Mfg. Co., and will expand tops with mock turtlenecks, V-necks, half-zip sweaters, crewnecks and striped polo shirts, all made by Overton Apparel. “We’re looking for Berle and Overton to be critical players to make this a successful move for us,” Dumas said.

In addition, he said all of the company’s key brands will be expanded, and he’s bringing in some new labels including Ike Behar dress shirts and Jack Victor tailored clothing. He’s in discussions to bring in two or three more better sportswear lines, plans to expand tailored clothing and is looking at an outdoors brand to complement his offerings of C.C. Filson and Barbour.

Dumas will expand the Vineyard Vines shop from 240 square feet to more than 1,000 square feet by increasing men’s and adding women’s and children’s. He will also expand the Berle and Charleston Khakis areas as well as the space for Hiltl, Madeleine Finn, Barbour and C.C. Filson.

Because walk shorts and short-sleeved shirts have been so successful in the store, Dumas said now he will offer walk shorts year-round and will increase his year-round, short-sleeved shirt inventory. “The weather here is hot,” he explained. “It warms up early and cools down late in the year.”

The A.J. Davis store has a flat-screen TV, which Dumas said he will keep, and he’ll add another one to his existing store.

“I think we’re one of the most unique stores around, and I believe it’s a combination of the staff working in the store, the atmosphere they create and the merchandise mix that makes it a really good lifestyle experience for our customers,” Dumas said.

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