Men's Clothing Store In Monroe To Close After 61 Years
MONROE, LA (AP) — Brothers Ronnie and Richard Haneline have seen men's fashion fads come and go, from polyester pants to Nehru jackets to leisure suits.
Yet one men's fashion classic never went out of style — iconic Haneline's Men's Wear in Monroe.
But after serving four generations of men who were among the market's best dressed, the Haneline brothers plan to retire and close the haberdashery their father Herschel founded on DeSiard Street in downtown Monroe in 1955.
"We put it off as long as we good, but nothing lasts forever," said oldest brother Richard, 69.
"It's bittersweet, but we both know it's time," said Ronnie, 67.
Haneline's has always paid homage to its past through its store decor even while displaying the latest fashion styles, whether it be a framed 1950s newspaper ad offering fine suits for $18.50, antique radios Richard has restored or an old Neville High School auditorium chair that was repurposed for the shop.
There were the unforgettable TV ads of the 1980s featuring Richard and his friends singing in a barbershop quartet and the family's decision to remain in midtown on Louisville Avenue — the third and final location of the store — rather than move to Pecanland Mall when it opened in 1985.
The late Herschel Haneline bought the original location with a nest egg nurtured by his wife Virginia while he served overseas in World War II. He continued to be a presence at the store until his death in 1996, although he had long since turned over the business to his boys.
And there are connected generations of customers who come in almost daily just to sit on the front bench to socialize and philosophize. Haneline's is as much a community touchstone as it is a business.
"When you ask what we'll miss most, it's the people," Ronnie Haneline said. "Our customers and friends have expressed genuine sorrow and sadness. And we've had wonderful employees who have worked here 30 or 40 years."
But business isn't as brisk as it once was. Today many men may wear a suit only twice — when they're married and buried.
"There really aren't any dress codes anymore," Richard said.
The brothers said they rarely argue and even spend Sundays together, though weekend walks have replaced their ritual of catch. "Our shoulders are shot," Ronnie said.
Both will miss the customers and the business, "but someone told me I'd know when it's time," Ronnie said. "I know."
Still, both brothers say they know they will be emotional when closing the doors for the final time, which could be Christmas Eve.
"I'm sure there will be some tears," Ronnie said.
– by AP/ Reporter Greg Hilburn with The News-Star