It has been a long time since I worked at Langrock, and, at 79, my memory isn’t as strong as, say, 10 years ago, but here goes.
I worked at Langrock’s after school in 1956 or ’57 as cleanup person and gofer. I enjoyed the experience, but as a teenager I personally thought Mr. Decker was a tremendous retail leader and a very, very nice man. I worked at the first store, across the alley from the last store. I was smaller. There were three salesmen, Mr. Decker, and Mr. Frank. One of the salesmen was related to Mr. Decke — I have forgotten has name. Rene Carroll was another, and the third was younger.
I have always thought Mr. Decker was the drive behind the success of this store. When someone entered the store, the senior available salesperson had first call if he wished to handle them. Everything was done professionally and very low key. If I was working on a Saturday and it became busy, they would tell me to take care of tie and shirt sales. There was a tailor, and two or three seamstresses, all of whom were Italian-American and lived in Bristol, PA.
This store was run very old-tyle. At the end of the day everyone would be near the front door, and when everyone was free, all would leave together and go through the door by seniority. There were never any exceptions. Every teenage boy wanted to work at least six months, because from then on through your schooling you only paid cost plus tailoring.
Also, when you left they had a closet where your name and when you worked there were etched in the wood. I and a lot of others thought moving across the alley was not a good idea. Princeton in those days was a very interesting place to grow up. Always well dressed and polite.
I now live in Steamboat Springs, CO, and have worn a tie twice in 15 years. — THOMAS SHELTON
For the hardcore historian, here’s a case of a 1937 lawsuit involving Langrock.
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Golden Days. I entered college in fall 1957. Bought a huge shearling overcoat there in 1959 or 60.
Does anyone know why the shop was called Langrock? Was there ever a Mr. Langrock?
Also, interesting to read that the shop’s tailor was Italian and not Jewish (not that there’s much of a difference 😉 ).
The photograph is not contemporary though…..the cars in the reflection are relatively modern. Late 60s, early 70s….
@GS: I assume David T. Langrock: https://www.cfgnh.org/About/NewsEvents/ViewArticle/tabid/96/ArticleId/23/The-David-T-Langrock-Old-Masters-Art-Fund.aspx
Alan Frank’s wife was part of the Langrock family: http://www.ivy-style.com/unruffled-by-change-the-story-of-langrock-owner-alan-frank.html
A lot of factors, social, financial, caused the closing of so many stores like this: family owned, family and friend staffed by long term pros, carrying quality merchandise. I might understand it, but I sure as hell don’t have to like it.
Yes, David T. Langrock. At one point there was something like 54 Langrock College shops.