Longtime downtown clothier Rutledge’s is preparing to expand both its shop space and product offerings within the next month, according the building owner and proprietor.
Construction is scheduled to begin within the next week to restore the historic Perkins Shearer building at 102 N. Tejon St. to its original layout, said Jerry Rutledge, who runs the area’s oldest retailer.
The expansion comes shortly after the exodus of Al’s Formal Wear, a company specializing in tuxedo rentals and sales, which moved its merchandise into its Chapel Hills Mall location earlier this month.
“We’ve been wanting to do it since I bought the building,” Rutledge said. “But [Al’s] had a lease and they were good tenants. And then they had a [five-year] option, which they exercised. But we wanted this space all along.”
Renovation of the building’s southeast corner will result in a 25 percent increase in floorspace for the company, Rutledge said, adding that the store currently has about 6,000 square feet of usable sales space. Upon opening the shop’s new wing, the company will also expand collections from high-end companies including Lucchese Boots, Allen Edmonds, Bohlin Company and Robert Graham, as well as introduce a few new lines of footwear.
“We’re really the only store in this town that carries quality shoes and boots, so we’re really excited about this. We will more than double our offerings because of it,” Rutledge said. “We’re always looking for new products.”
Rutledge said that the men’s fine clothing company, which will celebrate its 47th year in business this December, moved into the century-old structure at the corner of Tejon and Kiowa streets in 2004. According to public record sale information from the El Paso County Assessor’s office, Rutledge paid an even $2 million for the property.
The owner said that he has hired Springs-based contractor G.E. Johnson to undertake the minor construction project, which he said should begin sometime within the next week and last about 30 days.
“To have businesses that are growing and growing significantly — that’s what makes the downtown cook,” Rutledge said. “The thing that makes it work are the business owners and the storefronts. They make you want to come downtown.”