Homer Hanson, Quintessential East Side Businessman
Posted by eastsidehistorymadison on January 16, 2010
On hearing of our January meeting topic, Monya Hanson Shenkenberg sent photos and memories of her father, Homer Hanson.
My father and Perry Offerdahl, both long time East Side residents, co-founded Hanson and Offerdahl Men’s Wear and enjoyed several years of business success at 1961 Winnebago Street. At some point Mr. Offerdahl sold his share of the business and my father became sole proprietor. The name was changed to Hanson’s Men’s Wear.
Business Wear such as suits, top coats, dress shirts, ties, dress shoes, and hats were their primary focus, but they also stocked high quality casual wear. They specialized in custom tailored suits, sized to fit.
The personalized friendly service they offered became their trademark and they had many repeat customers, some who frequently stopped by the store just to chat. On Christmas Eve day they were known for their “hospitality suite” in the basement, which was decorated for the event and offered a cocktail and snacks for known customers. It was well attended.
Friendly camaraderie reigned among the business owners of the area and they patronized each other’s business with loyalty. I have fond memories of many of the other owners and their businesses.
Mom also helped out at the store, sometimes behind the sales counter, but especially in the planning and execution of the window displays which changed with the season. People who waited for the bus at the corner had interesting things to view in store windows while they waited, or passed by. Shopping was a convenient walk-over for the many neighborhood residents, which included my parents who lived on nearby Helena Street.
Business began to suffer after the advent and popularity of outlying shopping centers grew. Parking could be a problem at Schenk’s Corners and a bus line location was not enough to pull customers into the store. Dad liquidated Hanson’s Men’s Wear in the early 1960′s, as I recall. He maintained his interest in men’s clothing and went to work at Spoo and Son Men’s Wear which was located on the Capitol Square. Some of his loyal customers followed him.
Can you identify any of the men who played on the H and O softball team?