Larry Hymes, one of three partners who developed the West Coast Exclusive, the predecessor to the MRket Show, has died, according to a Facebook post by his daughter Nicole on Thursday afternoon.
Hymes, 72, died Thursday of heart failure. Details on services have not yet been set.
Hymes grew up in Queens, attended Queens College, and moved to Los Angeles in 1974. He was a West Coast rep for several men’s wear brands and in 1998, he teamed with Hyela Sablosky and Stephanie Goetz to form the West Coast Exclusive. That show was sold to Business Journals Inc. and renamed MRket in 2007. Business Journals was purchased by UBM America’s for $69 million last April.
Hymes remained involved in the show following its sale to BJI, resigning his position as men’s wear specialist for MRket in fall 2015. His departure followed a serious car accident in April 2015 that “changed my perspective on life,” he said at the time.
“I want to remain a part of the men’s wear business,” Hymes said. “But my focus will be on consulting with brands and companies that want to break in, expand distribution or change their current positioning.”
Hymes, who was a well-liked and respected figure in the men’s business for decades, had served as a rep for brands on both the East and West Coasts and also worked in importing. He got involved in the trade show business in 1998.
According to Britton Jones, now chairman and chief executive officer of NXT Events Media Group and the former chief of Business Journals: “It was fun and a real pleasure to work with Larry (even though he was an avid Yankee fan). The great success of MRket brought many of Larry’s hopes and dreams for the men’s wear industry to fruition. He was extremely passionate and personable and he will definitely be missed in the industry.”
Other men’s wear industry executives were quick to post comments on Facebook. Charles Garone, another trade show executive, wrote: “We lost one of the last, great, old-school heavy hitters in the men’s wear industry. I will never forget his candor, sense of humor and relentless gutsiness.”