Name: Fred Rowe
Family: Wife, Amanda Still Rowe. Married 21 years this July.
Years in the Golden Isles: My wife and I moved here right after I graduated high school in Boone, N.C. The Golden Isles has been our home for 21 years.
School: Watauga High School in Boone, N.C., and a lot of experience in retail.
Occupation: Owner of and buyer for Gentlemen’s and Lady Outfitters. Humbly, I sell shoes and clothes.
What are some of your favorite spots in Glynn County? Truthfully I don’t get out much. But some of my favorite local spots revolve around craft beer. I love talking craft beer and trying new beers from around the state with Nate at Weber’s Growler Factory. Also, Silver Bluff Brewing has really been a great addition to downtown – such a great place to sit, drink and talk with friends. I personally can’t wait for Wild Leap Brewing to do a tap takeover at Growler Factory.
Tell us about the family history of Gentlemen’s and Lady Outfitters: Gentlemen’s and Lady Outfitters began as an Athletic Attic franchise in Brunswick and St. Simons started by my father-in-law, (Frank), and aunt, (Elizabeth), back in 1983. After several years of exclusively selling athletic apparel and shoes they added Gentlemen’s Outfitters and then Lady Outfitters. Business evolved as things do, and we grew the southern prep lifestyle that we are known for today. In 2000, after dating Amanda for two-and-a-half years through high school, we decided to get married and move to new surroundings. To make a long story short, I asked Frank to marry his daughter and for a job until I found something else, as well as a vehicle until I could save enough to buy something of my own. He did not want his daughter to go hungry, so he reluctantly agreed. I never did find anything else and took pride in working with family. So, when the time came for them to retire and close shop, I was not ready to change careers. Amanda supported me and they worked with me to transition from employee to owner of the single store. It has been a learning process for sure; I lean a lot on my staff to help with the direction of the ladies apparel and Amanda helps keep me straight in the office.
Who or what influenced you to pursue apparel and clothing? It just happened. I moved here expecting to take advantage of the resorts and booming restaurant industry to get into the culinary field but that did not pan out, so I continued in the apparel industry. Frank continued to give me more responsibility, so I went from overseeing sunglasses and team sports to going to the shows and buying all men’s apparel and shoes. I enjoy the retail shows and talking to sales reps.
What are some trends you are most excited for in 2021? Coming out of the COVID lockdowns and working from home I have seen the customers’ excitement for comfy shoes and travel dresses; this has had me excited all year. Men’s trends do not change, we always enjoy a blue shirt. Our success with women’s styles this season has been with micro-floral prints, flowy maxi dresses, travel performance fabrics and cute and comfy wedge sandals.
What is some of the best advice you have received over the years? I had the privilege of working with Amanda’s grandfather, Frank Still Sr. He retired from Belk and had a wealth of knowledge. Some of the best advice he ever gave was that a store made its money from the small reorders done weekly not the large orders done four times a year. Frank and Elizabeth both emphasized that the only way a retail specialty store will succeed in today’s environment is if the owner works daily in the store, looks customers in the eye, talks to the staff to see what is selling and why and remains trustworthy. The customer needs to know what to expect when they decide to come into the store.