At 83, he still works 6 days a week at a second-century family-owned store
CLARKSDALE, Miss. (WLBT) - At an age when most older folks are rocking back in their recliner, Floyd is clocking long hours, six days a week, down at the Shankerman’s family clothing store.
Although men’s fashions come and go, Shankerman’s has served Clarksdale since Woodrow Wilson was the US president—and a US dollar was a lot of money.
Times have changed, but Floyd Shankerman’s work ethic has remained as fixed as the third-generation family store his grandfather Abraham founded more than 100 years ago in 1919.
One thing that has changed for Floyd is his home address when he moved from his own apartment to the Flowers Retirement Home, also in Clarksdale.
From his new base of operations, he can come back for a chef-prepared lunch and head right back out to work, where he runs the entire store by himself, with only an offsite seamstress for backup.
A world-class talker, Floyd enjoys socializing with friends and customers in the community, over lunch, in the evenings, and on his one day off. He always likes to chat with customers as well.
“Most everyone in Clarksdale knows Floyd and loves to hear his many stories, " said Peggy Stigler, a loyal customer at Shankerman’s. “He’s that kind of person who can talk to anyone about anything, business, politics, religion, you name it. And, as a shop owner, he’s never pushy. I really love to buy from his many jellies.”
Besides his beloved family store, Floyd also cultivates his passion for singing and is an expert at collecting coins.
During its hundred-year history Shankerman’s, which has always specialized in “middle market” men’s wear, faced many challenges.
His dad took over the business in 1920 and Floyd took over in 1985, after his dad passed away.
In view of that setback, the local loan officer told Floyd, “I will give you a 6-month trial but that’s it.” Suddenly, the entire Shankerman legacy was all in Floyd’s hands, and history shows that Floyd was a good investment to keep it alive.
Floyd visits the officer’s grave often to remind him of Shankerman’s success today.
He said, “I often think about closing but when I do, I think about the doubts the loan officer had in me when I took over, so I keep going to the store every day.”
Shankerman recalled a book he read in elementary school about two boys, both going out to pick berries. The first boy found a ripe bush and stayed put, picking only its berries, while the other boy went to and fro picking from multiple bushes. At the end of the day, the first boy had a full pail of berries and the other only a partial pail.
Floyd decided that sticking with the family business was his best course for a fruitful life.
Turns out, he was right.
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