Words by Alyssa Stevenson / Images by Will Milne
One of our favorite things about living in Denton is it’s rich history. While Denton isn’t necessarily an old town compared to many, we’re only 170 years old, once you start digging we’re ripe with stories of families who have done some really neat things around town. This is one of the reasons we were so happy to see JT’s move to the corner of Elm and Oak this year - a cornerstone building of the square. Read on to find out exactly how long his family name has been in retail, and why we love to pop in for unique purchases.
In the 1920’s Jimmy Tritt’s grandmother was a teenager who took her first job at Ever’s Hardware on the square. Apparently she was so well liked by Mr. Ever, that when he met her fiance he went into the poultry business with him on a handshake deal. After that she worked in a clothing store for several years before working at Russell’s on the corner. After that she opened her own store, Tritt’s, in Denton Center in the 1940’s. Her store was open and running for more than 40 years. They closed it down when she was 87.
Not long after that, Jimmy’s father opened his own store clothing store, JT’s on Sunset. While JT’s was focused on menswear, their neighboring store, a women’s boutique DeeDee’s was going out of business, so they decided to take over her space and they opened up their retail beyond menswear into ladies as well. They knocked a hole in the wall and sold men’s and women’s clothing, then started opening up their market to boys clothes as well. Right around then Polo by Ralph Lauren hit the market - and they were the only people in the area carrying Polo. They would go to New York twice a year to purchase Polo so that it would be available in the Denton market.
They eventually moved the store off of Lillian Miller around 1984, and were there for thirty years, until they moved to the square this year - bringing the family business back to where it all started. Jimmy himself has worked in the family store for 25 or so years. He stays in the business because he loves the people that he works with so much. He loves educating people on how to dress, how to choose quality fabrics and cuts, and making friends that keep coming back for years.
Now, Jimmy loves helping dress men in custom made suiting. He educates his customers on cotton counts and quality materials. He searches out the highest quality fabrics, buttons, threads and fusing. He teaches his clients about the difference that a quality item can have - beyond the fact that it will last much longer than a lesser made product - but that the fabric will actually lay in a more flattering way, will be softer from the start, and will tend to wrinkle less, because that much more care was put into the crafting of the clothing.
He chooses his vendors carefully - because he truly believes that you get what you pay for, and he doesn’t believe in fast fashion, but wants to make sure that the clothing that is sold there is going to be worth every dollar paid for it in the length of time it lasts. His parents really instilled the sense of best quality for the best value, because he wants to make sure that he keeps his customers happy with the quality of the clothing. One of the best things they bring to town are custom tailored and made to order suits for men.
If you haven’t been yet, make sure to stop by the next time you’re around the square, if nothing else than to check out the amazing work that they’ve done on the space itself. The building they’re in now was Thomas’s Ethan Allen for years. What a wonderful thing that a family business that has been around town for 40 years is taking the space of a business that was in that space for 54 years. The space itself underwent a massive transformation to take it from a furniture store to a retail space that really accentuates the historic value of the building itself. From uncovering the original tin ceilings, taking out the second floor, painstakingly removing the paint from the frosted glass windows, and bringing in historic bricks from Chicago for a brick wall - the space itself looks completely different and is absolutely beautiful.
While we love their quality menswear, from the blazers to the custom cut suits - the women’s side has some pretty legit brands. For example, this is the only place in town we can ever find a great Eileen Fisher selection - who has some drool worthy wool coats and shawls. But if you’re not quite ready to put down that chunk of money, take a look around at their gift items. We’ve walked out several times after spotting the exact perfect thing that was totally unexpected.
Either way, say hi to Jimmy Tritt himself, who is likely running around the store, impeccably dressed, and ready to talk cotton counts and custom cuts with anyone who’s willing.
JT Clothiers is now open at 200 W. Oak St. on the downtown Denton Square. You can find more info on them at their website.