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70 Years Young

Posted on 26 October 2017

In 1947, a businessman by the name of Crawford established a men’s clothing store at 325 Yonge St, half a block north of Dundas on the east side of the street. My father purchased the business in October of 1952, and I purchased Crawford Men’s Shop from my father in early 1980.

By these reckonings, Crawford Boys has been in continuous operation for 70 years, 65 of them in my family, the last 37 of them in my charge. 

70 years. I have no idea how many small businesses have been able to adapt to seven decades of change and survive, but it must be a low number. I am most proud to count Crawford Boys amongst that select group.

I remember the store on Yonge St. from my earliest days as a child, working part time on and off through my teens and entering retail as my chosen profession in the early 1970s. The fabric of Toronto and society has diversified, evolved and changed in so many dramatic ways that would have been unimaginable way back then. Unsurprisingly these changes were accompanied by a myriad of shifts in the retail sector and the purchasing habits of customers. In the long run it was most definitely a case of adapt or disappear.

That Crawford Boys has not disappeared is proof that we successfully negotiated the twists and turns and overcame the challenges that came our way. One of our most radical shifts was moving from our original home on Yonge St. to our Lawrence Plaza location in March of 1989. The most significant challenge was in the realization that our future lay in becoming a specialist in the field of boys’ clothing, then becoming that specialist. Even with that major refocusing long completed, in the years since we have had to adapt and further evolve in order to remain vibrant.

Over these past few years - and with the help, enthusiasm, and energy of a new, younger generation of Crawford Boys staff - we have moved from brick and mortar to the brave new world of ecommerce and social media.

70 years. My memory is full of retail businesses no longer with us. And I have seen so many come, make a big splash then disappear a few years later. Crawford Boys has never made a big splash and that’s ok. It’s not our style. But in our quiet way we have outlived and outlasted so many. I look forward with enthusiasm to reaching 75 years. And perhaps 80…or more.

With enormous pride,

Paul

Owner of Crawford Boys

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