Old-time Orchard St.
lives on in suit seller
BY ETHAN STARK-MILLER
As soon as a customer walks into
Global International Menswear,
before he even has time to notice
the fl uorescent lighting and suitlined
walls, Samuel “Sammy” Gluck
greets them with a warm smile and a
Gluck, 65, has sold suits on the
Lower East Side for 35 years, since the
days when people fl ocked to the famed
enclave for discounted goods and oneon
one customer service. But now the
neighborhood is populated by trendy
bars and art galleries, and old Jewish
merchants like Gluck are a rarity.
Gluck inherited the store from his father,
Isaac Gluck, who fi rst opened for
business in 1970. Gluck said that, in its
heyday, Global International Menswear
was a three-fl oor mini-department
store that was always busy.
“We had lines on the street to come
into the store,” Gluck said.
But, he said, the Lower East Side has
experienced signifi cantly less foot traffi
c in recent years, which caused many
fellow merchants to leave the neighborhood
or go out of business.
The reduced foot traffi c also has led
to a drop in the number of his own customers.
Gluck said that he has outlasted
other mom-and-pop stores because he
owns his building and because he still
loves selling suits on Orchard St.
When Gluck’s store opened, Orchard
St. was populated by Jewish merchants
who peddled designer fabrics for discounted
prices. In addition, Jewishowned
stores remained open on Sundays
when blue laws prevented most
businesses throughout the city from
opening on the Christian Sabbath.
Tim Laughlin, president of the
Lower East Side Partnership business
improvement district, said the repeal of
the blue laws and the advent of Internet
shopping have caused a signifi cant
drop of foot traffi c in the area. Laughlin,
35, said that legacy merchants like
Gluck now face challenging times.
Lower East Side business conditions
are constrained because there are a lot
of low-level buildings, there isn’t a critical
mass of residents, “and there aren’t
a lot of daytime uses here that are attracting
folks to come to the neighborhood,”
Gluck agrees that reduced foot traffi c
has made conditions more challenging,
noting the signifi cant drop-off in the
number of customers he gets each day.
“You don’t know,” Gluck said, “one
day slow, one day busy.”
The news site The Lo Down reported
in late 2017 that Gluck had posted
a “for rent” sign on his front window.
The haberdasher said he was considering
renting the space but decided to stay
in business for the immediate future.
His friend Sammy Goldman, 45, said
Gluck makes a good income from the
other real estate he owns, and keeps
the store open because of his familial
Sammy Gluck, holding a photo of his father, in his Orchard St. menswear
store. Gluck’s father founded the store in 1970.
and community connections.
“He’s so in love with the people from
Orchard St.,” Goldman said.
Jamel Oeser-Sweat, 42, one of
Gluck’s customers, is impressed with
Gluck’s old-world sales approach.
“He’s a hard-working guy,” Oeser-
Sweat said, “and his dedication to making
PHOTO BY ETHAN STARK-MILLER
things happen is a lost art.”
Gluck admitted that he stays in business
because he still loves going out
and talking to people on the street and
taking care of his customers.
“Main thing is that you show them a
personal feeling,” Gluck said.
“It’s all about connecting to people.”
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Schneps Community News Group CNW November 15, 2018 11