Bob Benkert, the dapper dresser who owned the Claymore Shop in the Detroit suburb of Birmingham, Mich., for the past half-century, died Friday, April 22, after a long battle with leukemia. He was 76.
The tall, white-haired Benkert, who was considered the consummate gentleman by those who knew him in the industry, opened the Claymore Shop in 1966 after a brief career in public accounting.
Benkert has “long been noted for his ability to anticipate — and even spur — a fashion trend,” according to the store’s Web site. “Among the first to bring a fledgling designer named Ralph Lauren to the masses, Bob is still bringing new lines and breakthrough designers to the store today.”
A fixture at the New York trade shows for decades, Benkert searched for brands that would set his store apart. “At the Claymore, we understand that clothes may not make the man, but they help you form a lasting impression. And we help men make that impression — with nothing but the highest-quality merchandise, from many of the most reputable and admired names in men’s fashion,” the Web site said.
In 2015, Benkert was named businessperson of the year by the Birmingham Bloomfield Chamber when he was described as “a man of great integrity and a true business leader.”
Benkert is survived by his wife Janice, a son, Christopher and a daughter, Brooke.
A memorial service is scheduled for 1 p.m. May 28 at Christ Church Cranbrook in Bloomfield Hills. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be sent to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
The store will celebrate its 50th anniversary in August.