July 28, 2014

Third generation men’s clothier opens shop in River Market

Houndstooth menswear shop recently opened at 507 Walnut St. in the River Market, selling private label men’s suits, British made shoes, casual wear and locally produced products like locally made leather goods and high-quality KC themed T-shirts.

Jeff Covitz’s grandfather operated a shop in Brookside.

His father opened a shop in Overland Park, one Covitz took over after his father died.

Now Covitz has opened a shop of his own creation, one that combines elements of his father’s and grandfather’s stores in a “very stylized men’s boutique.”

Houndstooth, at 507 Walnut St. in the River Market, recently had a soft opening. A grand opening is planned for late August.

“The River Market is the most dense urban area you are likely to find in Kansas City, and it is growing. And it feels like a neighborhood,” Covitz said.

His shop offers high-quality men’s apparel — everything from its private label suits for $550 to Tellason Denim to Lighting Bolt swim trunks to British-made shoes. Clothing purchases include free basic alterations from Houndstooth’s in-store tailor shop.

Once the shop is established, Covitz may add a menswear-inspired apparel and accessories section for women.

Covitz’s grandfather, the late Leo Zemelman, was born in Poland and was a Holocaust survivor. He came to Kansas City in 1950 and owned and operated Leo’s Tailor Shop in Brookside until the late 1990s.

Covitz’s father, Ricky Covitz, worked for his father-in-law before founding Rick’s Kansas City, an Overland Park high-quality menswear shop, in 1978.

Still, Jeff Covitz wasn’t planning to enter the family business.

As a child he wanted to be a professional soccer player before switching to filmmaking in college. His father’s shop offered him flexible hours so he could pursue his film career. But the shop kept drawing him in, and within a few years he was working at Rick’s full-time. When Ricky Covitz passed away in 2011, Covitz took over the business.

“I’ve been around it my whole life,” he said. “It gives me a real depth of understanding between the construction of the piece and what’s going to work on each particular body type.”

Covitz also wants to tell a “Kansas City story,” since many of the items he sells are by local businesses. They include Charlie Hustle vintage-styled, high-quality sportswear, and Sandlot Goods’ handmade leather goods such as wallets and coasters. He also is selling a line of “manly” air fresheners called Archer Air Superiority under three scents — European sports car, distillery and hunting lodge, as well as its Dish Whiskey dish soap. (Kansas City’s Berk Wasserman is a partner in the Chicago-based Archer.)

Kansas City’s Tyler Kingston Wood Co. used reclaimed wood in the design, as well as new plumbing pipes to build clothing racks with a bit of industrial feel.

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

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