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When 19-year-old Greg Kautz began alive at The Gentry Boutique in 1976, he endemic one suit, one blazer and a brace of slacks.

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The Gentry Boutique buyer Greg Kautz talks about his 43 years in the retail accouterment business in Davenport. The Gentry Boutique is amid at 5515 Utica Ridge Road.

More than 40 years later, continuing amid rows of ties and accouterment jackets in the Davenport store, Kautz, adapted in a custom ablaze dejected suit, is a bright accoutrement of the Quad-City retail scene. His store, The Gentry Shop, on Utica Ridge Road, is one of the few locally endemic men’s retailers in the area, alms a akin of chump account abundantly absent in the age of online shopping. 

“When I started in ’76, I anticipate there were 18 apart endemic menswear food in the Quad-Cities,” Kautz said. “There were about eight absolute tailors in business. And furthermore, there were seven men’s food in burghal Davenport alone, which is remarkable. So it’s absorbing and array of sad to see what’s happened, but that’s the truth.” 

The Gentry Shop, which acclaimed its 70th ceremony this year, was founded by Sioux City, Iowa, built-in Clarence Mickelson, who began affairs clothes from the block of his dejected Mercedes-Benz. In 1948, he opened the flush men’s accouterment abundance in the Union Arcade architecture at the bend of Brady and 3rd streets in burghal Davenport.

The Gentry Boutique amid on Utica Ridge Alley in Davenport offers a array of apparel and custom tailoring.

In 1981, Kautz bought the abundance from Bob Watkins, who accomplished him for bristles years. At that time, the abundance took up about 1,500-square anxiety in one bend of the building, Kautz said, and focused on affairs tailored dress and business accoutrements for men. Advisers would generally go to homes or offices to appearance barter t swatches and booty measurements.

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“Business bodies would abrasion apparel four, bristles or alike six canicule a week,” Kautz said. “I bethink my dad actuality in the cyberbanking business; alike admitting the coffer was alone accessible half-days, he’d abrasion a accouterment or action anorak and tie on Saturday mornings. That’s gone abroad now. I anticipate the accepted approach of dress has afflicted a lot.”

‘It was like the bend of the planet’

The Gentry Boutique thrived in burghal Davenport’s retail heyday, Kautz recalled. But over time, added food chose to backpack to new bartering areas that sprung up from acreage fields forth the 53rd Street corridor.

Eventually, Gentry took up 5,500-square-feet of the Union Arcade building, Kautz said, accretion into spaces ahead active by Merle Norman Cosmetics, Le Femme lingerie boutique and added retailers. As added women’s clothiers larboard downtown, Kautz said the abundance broadcast to accommodate women’s curve in the mid-1980s.

The Gentry Boutique began as a men’s accouterment store, but began to action curve for women in the 1980s.

“My aboriginal appetite was that I actually would accept admired to accept backward downtown. But it’s aloof affectionate of the change of the city, and that’s somewhat sad,” Kautz said. “Women had actually no acumen to go downtown. There were a few restaurants, but added than that, there was not a retail abundance larboard in burghal Davenport.”

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By 2000, Kautz was one of the aftermost of the aboriginal burghal retail stores, arch to one of the best difficult decisions during his career. He purchased acreage forth Utica Ridge Alley and helped advance a new arcade center, area The Gentry Boutique charcoal an ballast store, at 5515 Utica Ridge Road.

“It’s adamantine to accept now, but this abode was a cornfield, literally, and there wasn’t abundant out here. It was a alluvium alley and appealing remote,” he said. “None of this actuality acclimated to be here. It was like the bend of the planet out here. But as we’ve apparent in 18 years, that’s bound changed.”

In the accomplished 20 years, added civic retail and restaurant chains accept popped up about Davenport’s bartering aisle forth Utica Ridge Alley and 53rd Street. But as his ambiance changes about him, Kautz said he’s carved out his own little apple central The Gentry Shop. 

If the accouterment fits

The Gentry Boutique has acquired with appearance trends, abacus added accidental abrasion as three-piece apparel and neckties accept become beneath arresting in the business world. But, Kautz said the acquaintance of arcade at the abundance has remained abundant the same. 

“Continuity and bendability accept absolutely fabricated it easier for me and led to me actuality able to sustain some success,” he said. “We ashore to our knitting, so to speak, and bodies accept a assertive akin of apprehension on the account side.” 

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The abundance still employs a full-time clothier and dress maker — now one of the alone Davenport food alms custom-built suits, tuxedos and added men’s dress wear. 

The Gentry Boutique amid on Utica Ridge Alley in Davenport offers men’s and women’s clothing.

“We bear stuff, aces it up and clothier aggregate — and that’s helped sustain the constancy of the business,” Kautz said. “Men decidedly aren’t shoppers anyway. It’s the aftermost affair best of them appetite to do. They appear in and get what they charge and get on with it. We accumulate brand and dislikes and assertive brands, so they apperceive it’s not an backbreaking accident to appear in and get a accouterment or brace of pants.”

Kautz doesn’t jump at the befalling to allege about his accomplishments but acclaimed high-quality chump account has helped him angle out in the evolving retail landscape, as added alternation and big box food aing doors. 

“It gets to be cliche, but online business is killing things like that. Bodies aloof point and bang and Amazon or Zappos or whoever has it on their doorstep the aing day,” he said. “But they can’t alter the arcade experience — the blow and feel, and the angle of ambidextrous with a a being or expert.” 

Running the store, which is accessible at atomic 70 hours anniversary week, over the accomplished four decades hasn’t larboard Kautz with abundant time to reflect, he said. But as he alcove retirement age, Kautz said he’s spent added time cerebration about the evolving apple of men’s appearance and the bequest The Gentry Boutique has larboard in the Quad-Cities. 

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The assumption assurance from the above Mickelson’s abundance now hangs in the Gentry Shop. Greg Kautz started his retail accouterment career 43 years ago in the above burghal business.

“I was actual adolescent back I started. I see my audience crumbling and aloof heard Mr. (Richard) von Maur passed abroad this week. He was a adolescent man back I started downtown,” Kautz said. “(My wife, Ann, and I) accept had our third grandchild now. I assumption that’s a abiding adumbration that time is affective on. I don’t apperceive if it’s hit me over the arch yet, but you apprehend that, yep, it’s not activity to go on forever, I guess.” 

Standing a an aboriginal assumption “Mickelson’s” sign, salvaged from the store’s aboriginal canicule in the 1940s, Kautz said he’s training adolescent advisers to hopefully acquisition a affection for a time-consuming career in retail. 

“It’s a lot of work. But at the end of the day, I’m not accusatory because I’ve enjoyed every minute of it,” Kautz said. “I’d adulation to accept the bequest abide and accept somebody backpack the abundance forward.”

The assumption assurance from the above Mickelson’s abundance now hangs in the Gentry Shop. Greg Kautz started his retail accouterment career 43 years ago in the above burghal business.

The Gentry Boutique amid on Utica Ridge Alley in Davenport offers men’s and women’s clothing.

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The Gentry Boutique confused from burghal to Utica Ridge Alley in Davenport back the Utica and 53rd Avenue aisle was abundantly cornfields.

The Gentry Boutique offers a array of ties.

The Gentry Boutique amid on Utica Ridge Alley in Davenport offers a array of apparel and custom tailoring.

The Gentry Boutique buyer Greg Kautz talks about his 43 years in the retail accouterment business in Davenport. The Gentry Boutique is amid at 5515 Utica Ridge Road.

The Gentry Boutique began as a men’s accouterment store, but began to action curve for women in the 1980s.

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