CLOSING SHOP: Camouflage, the directional men’s wear retailer that has been a fixture in New York’s Chelsea for 38 years, will shut its doors this weekend, a victim of rising rents in the neighborhood. Camouflage opened at 17th Street and Eighth Avenue in 1976 and was owned by Norm Usiak and Gene Chase. Chase died in 1996, and Usiak continued to operate the store, which was known for identifying trends and finding new designers.
This story first appeared in the January 24, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“It’s sad,” Usiak told WWD. “Our last retail day is Saturday, and next week we tear the store down. But this is what happens when your rent goes from $7,000 to $24,000 a month. We don’t make those kinds of margins anymore.”
Usiak said he doesn’t plan to look for another storefront. “It takes over half a million dollars to open a store today. The only way it could be done is if somebody backs me opening a store online.” But he doesn’t expect that to happen — at least not right away.
“Six months from now, I’ll come up with something,” he said.
But for now, the sign in the store window says it all: “Camouflage, 1976-2014, thank you.”