By Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Jimmy Long has been around almost as long as the company he co-owns with Joe Yarber, MLM Clothiers.
Mississippi’s oldest men’s specialty store, located in downtown Tupelo, celebrated its 71st anniversary on Thursday, and Long and Yarber marked the occasion by giving away ties to the first 71 customers, several $71 gift certificates and scores of grilled hot dogs.
Within an hour of opening, all but about a dozen ties were gone. Yarber, however, was keeping the hot dogs coming as a steady stream of customers stopped by for the celebration.
But why mark 71 years and not 70 or 75?
“We did 71 because last year was kind of hard,” Long said. “So we decided we’d do it this year. My father was one of the founders and I’ve been here since 1965.”
MLM has long been a place where one could “dress better than you have to,” but Long said the store isn’t meant to keep away anyone from shopping there.
“Some people think we’re not affordable – that’s the biggest misconception,” he said. “Yes, we have expensive things. But we do have affordable things, too. For example, we have suits for $395 and up. But they’re going to be the best $395 suit you can get.”
MLM draws customers not only from Northeast Mississippi, but also Jackson, Memphis, Atlanta and Birmingham. And customers from New York to California are regulars as well.
Long describes the styles at MLM as “English traditional.”
“But we also make sure we don’t have anything that will get outdated,” he said. “Our suits will last. If you don’t get 12 to 15 years, something’s wrong.”
“Some people may have 30 pairs of pants and just wear four or five,” he continued. “We try to make sure we give them those four or five. It’s about quality – you get what you pay for.”
Contact Dennis Seid at (662) 678-1578 or firstname.lastname@example.org.