Cover photo: Brothers George, Jerry and Spiro Arvanitakis have taken over the family business.
By Jill Draper
A partially vacant shopping center on State Line Road just south of 123rd Street will be redeveloped by the Arvanitakis siblings, who recently opened Peters Clothiers, a men’s specialty store situated between Jovito’s Italian Cafe and Papa John’s Pizza in the small strip.
But that’s just temporary. The family has hired Rose Design Build to extend the shopping center on the south and reconstruct the façade with a two-story corner tower that will serve as a larger entrance to their store. Until then, they’re selling shirts, pants, suits, sport coats and accessories in the space that formerly housed a bicycle shop.
Peters Clothiers is owned by brothers Spiro, Jerry and George and their sister Andriana, a local physician. They previously owned Byron on the Plaza in the Jack Henry Building, but sold it last fall to relocate in south Kansas City. The siblings describe the move as a homecoming, of sorts. An earlier version of Peters Clothiers, named after their father, operated at College and Metcalf for more than 25 years.
The new store continues to carry their Byron brand of clothing in addition to various higher-priced European lines. Construction plans include adding a 30,000-square-foot distribution facility on the east side of the strip to stock and ship Byron apparel to some 150 men’s stores throughout the nation. Meanwhile, that function is being handled in Merriam.
The men’s fashion scene definitely has changed since their father left Greece and began working for Jack Henry Clothing as a custom tailor, acknowledges George Arvanitakis. He doesn’t expect to sell many ties next week, because “the Father’s Day tie business has completely gone away.” He says there is always a market, though, for men who want to make a good appearance even as styles trend more and more casual.
“Our typical customer wants to be the best dressed man in the office, but not look like he’s trying too hard,” Arvanitakis says. Sport coats are good for many occasions, he notes, and most men can always use a new shirt or a better fitting pair of pants. “The big thing right now is more tailored fits—not tight, but not baggy or boxy. Otherwise, a man looks like old news.”
Arvanitakis also emphasizes the importance of modifications to achieve the right shape and size, and likens the store’s tailor shop—a cluster of sewing machines, steam press and multi-spooled thread rack in plain view on the sales floor—to a restaurant with an open kitchen. “We’re kind of celebrating what we do better than anyone else in Kansas City. Between in-stock and custom, we can fit any man.”
The three brothers have been managing the business on a day-to-day basis since their father died 15 years ago. “We all grew up working with customers and we have a passion for the upcoming trends and all the tailoring that goes behind them,” says George Arvanitakis. “We’re excited about elevating this section of State Line Road. There’s a lot of great new energy, and we’ll be a great neighbor.”