Clothier Jack Henry is closing on the Country Club Plaza after 83 years

05/27/2014 1:23 AM

06/03/2014 10:17 AM

After 83 years on the Country Club Plaza, Jack Henry is closing.

The men’s clothing store has shut it doors to mark down items for a going-out-of-business sale that will start at 9 a.m. June 5.

“When the clothes are gone, the Jack Henry brand will be gone as well,” said Spiro Arvanitakis, a partner in the family owned business. He called the closing “the end of an era for a Kansas City icon.”

“The traditional needs of business clothing have more than evolved; they’ve dramatically changed,” he said. “Jack Henry doesn’t meet the current needs, which are more contemporary.”

Jack Henry was founded by Jack Downing Henry, a native of Liberty. He studied merchandising at William Jewell College in the early 1920s before dropping out to work full time in a Liberty haberdashery.

Later, the store’s owner helped Henry land a position at the famed Woolf Brothers.

In 1931, Henry went out on his own, opening a Plaza haberdashery that specialized in just hats and accessories.

The shop expanded and moved on the Plaza several times before Henry sold the store to his largest supplier in the late 1960s.

By the 1980s, Jack Henry stores were operating in area malls, as well as affiliated stores in Omaha and Wichita. But a decade later only the Plaza flagship store was still in operation.

Arvanitakis and his brothers, George and Jerry, bought the shop in 1995 and in 2001 moved it to a building they own at 612 W. 47th St.

Jack Henry had special meaning for the family.

When their father, Peter Arvan, emigrated to Kansas City from his native Greece, one of his first jobs was as a tailor at Jack Henry, where he said he received “invaluable” advice from the founder.

Arvan later owned his own store, the former Peter’s Clothiers in Overland Park.

Jack Henry also expanded its offerings over the years, carrying such brands as Burberry, 7 for All Mankind, Diesel and Michael Kors, as well as custom orders.

Jack Henry, which has about 25 employees, plans to close permanently in early September.

Though this is the end of the Jack Henry brand, could the Arvanitakis brothers carry on with another clothing store, one that would be a better fit to today’s clientele?

“I can’t comment at this time,” Spiro Arvanitakis said.

To reach Joyce Smith, call 816-234-4692 or send email to jsmith@kcstar.com. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter at JoyceKC.

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