Michael Longcrier invites you to give him a good slap on the face (really) for choosing to close his beloved Uptown vintage boutique.
Monday afternoon, DFW Style Daily confirmed the sad news that Ahab Bowen will shutter on the final day of this month. Yesterday, we chatted with owner Michael Longcrier via phone about the origins of the store, the reason for the closure, and where you can buy Ahab Bowen merchandise in the future. Read on for our exclusive Q&A.
DFW Style Daily: First of all, we’d just like to say how saddened we were by the news. Ahab Bowen has been one of our favorite stores for as long as we can remember.
Michael Longcrier: “Thank you so much. It has been a pleasure for 35 years. It was a tough decision to make. …My employees have been so loyal, and customers have been coming in day after day, and I almost have to get them a box of Kleenex. I’ve actually invited each customer and said, ‘You can slap me once – but not twice!’”
How did you get your start in the vintage retail business?
“Well, 35 years ago when I bought that little house, it was my response to my parents’ desire that I get a college education. I told them I didn’t want a college education, I wanted to open up a store and sell old clothes. Of course, they were horrified! Fortunately, though, they were very accommodating. After they discussed it privately, they decided that the money that they would spend on my education, they would [instead] spend to back me up. We found that little house, which I’d had my eye on since I was 15.”
Why are you closing the store now?
“It comes down to the fact that I do own the house, and the general [state of the] economy. …Prior to the downturn in ’08, our business grew 10 – 15 percent per year. I’ve been really, really proud to say that, in the last three years, we’ve not fired anyone and we’ve not cut anyone’s pay. But, our sales haven’t increased. They have not decreased [either], but they have plateaued.
“Bottom line, I take full responsibility. It came down to my decision: Do I want to continue this after 35 years, or is there something else I might pursue?”
Is it true that Ahab Bowen merchandise will be available at Dolly Python in the future?
“I wouldn’t say that I’m going to take all the ‘leftovers’ to Dolly Python, but what I’m trying to do is take some fresh merchandise, exciting things that have never been seen. When the time comes, anything that says ‘AB’ on the tag at Dolly Python indicates the source is Ahab Bowen. …Don’t think that because I’m closing the store I’m going to be laying poolside!”
Ahab Bowen is located at 2614 Boll St. in Dallas. The store will maintain normal hours of operation through Sunday, July 31st. All merchandise is now 25% off, increasing to 50% off on Monday, July 18th.