A lot has changed in Timmins in the past 100 years. The city has grown in area and population. Air and highway travel surpassed rail to bring people north. Technology has progressed by leaps and bounds.
One thing hasn’t changed. Steinberg & Mahn Ltd. still keeps Timmins men looking sharp.
Darren Taylor represents the fourth generation of the family running Steinberg and Mahn, a store that has served Timmins for a century and is in the midst of celebrating its 100th anniversary.
“Max Steinberg was my great grandfather,” Taylor said. “My great grandfather came to Timmins and started the store. At the time it was known as M. Steinberg and Company. A lot of our ancestors came here at that time because of opportunity.
“A short time later, his good friend Joe Mahn came from Montreal. That’s when Steinberg & Mahn was formulated.”
He continued to explain the family history with the store.
“Then my grandfather Eli, he followed and took over the store as well,” he said. “Then my parents (Don and Anne Taylor) took over the store in 1972. I moved back 23 years ago to get involved in the business.
“My father, Don, is retired and I have the store. So, we’re four generations.
“Mom’s maiden name is Steinberg, that’s the connection. My mom’s grandfather, Max Steinberg, and then her father, Eli Steinberg, then mom and dad, Don and Anne Taylor.”
Right from the start, the store was a perfect fit for Timmins.
“I think it was something that Pop — Max, or Pop, as we used to call him — started back at the time because when people came here, they needed their clothes to work underground,” he said. “It just kept moving forward into suits, haberdashery, and evolved from there.”
While times and fashions have changed, Steinberg & Mahn has endured.
“There were at least 10 men’s wear stores in Timmins at one time. Now, we’re the only ones left,” Taylor said. “Back at the time, gentlemen took pride in the way they looked. They wouldn’t go without a hat. They wouldn’t go without a shirt and tie.
“Back in the ‘50s, with so many ethnic groups in the area, everybody had their own dances, even at the Pav. For guys, everybody wore a suit. Now, of course, everybody is little more casual.”
How has a retailer managed to thrive for 100 years and remain competitive in the age of big chains and online shopping?
“Service, service, service,” Taylor explained. “Even in this world of eCommerce, there are still a large percentage of people who want to be fussed over, pampered over and serviced.”
Professional staff are there to offer advice. Alterations are made as needed. And they are used to helping men seeking clothes just prior to a special occasion, so there is no need to panic.
“One thing about men, we’re a last-minute species,” he said with a smile. “They always come running at the last minute.”
It has also been important modernize to remain competitive. Steinberg & Mahn also has an active website and Facebook page. They have been sharing historic photographs and fashion trends from different decades on Facebook.
“You have to (keep up with the times),” he said. “We get a lot of feedback on social media.”
As part of 100 anniversary celebrations, the store has been holding a series of special trunk sales throughout October.
“A trunk sale, the word trunk was taken when, years ago, salesmen used to get around via the train,” he said. “They used to carry all their samples inside leather trunks. And they would sell to stores out of their leather trunks. Hence the term trunk sale.
“We thought it would be fun, at the beginning of the month, to feature different brands and categorize them. At the beginning of the month, we did a couple of sportswear lines, trousers and shirts and sweaters, then footwear.
“(This weekend) we are doing Jack Victor, which is a big Montreal clothier, and Seven Downie Street, a Toronto based line, designed in Toronto but made in Turkey.
“It (the trunk sale) has been very well received. We’ve been pleased.”
The family is proud to have their business continue to be a vital part of Timmins after 100 years.
“We are very grateful, very honoured and touched that the people of Timmins thought of us and allowed us to dress their men and trust us to make sure things were right for their men,” Taylor said. “We’re very grateful and just want to say thank you.”
Steinberg & Mahn Ltd. is located at 25 Wilson Ave., at the corner of Mountjoy St. S., in Timmins. Store hours are Monday to Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.