From a recent article in Newsday about business partners Steve Shore and Barry Prevor:
Summer 1979: Two teenage boys stand on top of a van at the Roosevelt Raceway flea market, shouting into a megaphone. They exhort customers to buy the $1 T-shirts spread out on a tarp at the foot of the van. A crowd gathers, snapping up the bargain T’s.
June 2005: Forty-somethings Steve Shore and Barry Prevor stand in the middle of their Broadway Mall store, Steve & Barry’s University Sportswear. Instead of megaphones, they advertise with graphic blue and yellow signs. Instead of tarps, the selling floor is laid with wood. Their T-shirts are now $8.
In the past 26 years, these childhood friends have quietly built a national mini-empire of stores that deliver basic clothing at what they call “ridiculous” prices. Nothing in the chain’s 70 stores costs more than $10 – from women’s boot-cut jeans to kids’ shorts to heavyweight hoodie sweatshirts emblazoned with a Top 10 college name.
The Port Washington-based company is relatively unknown here in its own backyard. That’s largely a function of strategy: Prevor and Shore keep costs down by finding very inexpensive real estate, often in second- and third-tier malls around the country. Their growth has been concentrated in Midwestern and Southern states.
But now Steve & Barry’s sits on the cusp of explosive growth, with a just-signed lease for its first Manhattan location and plans to double the number of stores over the next year. And they’re not shy about saying they’re creating a revolution in retail, thanks to a formula of rock-bottom prices and smart-looking shops.
The article continues:
Early on, they established a price ceiling of $10 and a reputation as “the good guys,” especially for budget-conscious consumers. For Shore, in particular, this is a deeply felt mission.
He leans forward, eyes shining with intensity as he discusses the company’s pricing policy. “Our slogan can’t be ‘We won’t screw you,’ because that just can’t be a slogan. But they [customers] know they can come to us and not be taken advantage of.”
Still, he and Prevor bristle at the notion that their prices spring from some sense of charity or altruism.
“I’m an Ayn Rand fan, and I don’t like the word ‘altruistic,’” Prevor said. “It’s more that we understand that our self-interest is tied in with our customers’ self-interest.”
Prevor and Shore clam up when the subject turns specifically to their self-interest. After a whispered conference, they offer a tidbit: Sales are in the nine figures, somewhere between $100 million and $1 billion.
But they won’t reveal their annual profits or profit margins. (As a private company, they’re not required to disclose that information.) They simply say they’re doing very well, thanks for asking.
See the full article for more information.