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Bill's Toggery

Fine Menswear in Downtown Shakopee

If you have gone to Shakopee in the past 89 years, you could have bought fine menswear from William Wermerskirchen. Depending on the decade he may have been the original William Wermerskirchen and founder of Bill’s Toggery, his son William, or his grandson Billy.

If you mention Bill's Toggery around Billy’s son William, the cheerful five-year-old will tell you he enjoys playing in the store’s big empty boxes. Perhaps Shakopee will always have a William Wermerskirchen in place.

“My grandfather took a big gamble opening up a store during the Great Depression,” said Billy. “He started out running dry cleaning back and forth to Minneapolis, grew to sell men’s suits and hats, and eventually invested in his own dry cleaning facility. He did it all from the same downtown corner where Bill’s Toggery sits today. 

“My dad was one of six kids – and the only son. Growing up I guess he always assumed that he’d take on the family business one day. My dad encouraged me to go off to college and do whatever I wanted, but in the end what I wanted was to run Bill’s Toggery. This place has always felt like an extension of my home. Even as a little boy I’d play here, hiding in the clothing racks and pretending that the changing rooms were caves.

“The pandemic might have hurt business a little bit, but surprisingly enough the internet hasn’t. Fact is, men will always want to look good when they dress for an occasion. When someone orders a suit online and it looks terrible on them – and it always does – they’re going to come to us to have it fixed. And once they’ve experienced the expert touch they’re going to keep coming back, because real men’s fashion experts are becoming harder and harder to find.

“There’s a lot you should know before you buy a suit, and most people don’t even know their measurements. We’ll take them and keep them on file, so whenever you need a suit you can simply give us a call. We’ll help you choose the right fit, make sure your jacket drapes the right way, and our full-time tailor Shelly will make any alterations your clothes might need. We dress men of all sizes, from 34 short to 60 extra long. We even do free gift wrapping.

“Any store like Bill’s Toggery is going to take care of a lot of men who are getting married. No one really owns a tuxedo, so we offer formal wear rental. Men who decide to tie the knot wearing a suit can get anything they’d like custom made for their big day, and their groomsmen can rent similar matching suits. 

“I don’t want to knock the big name chain stores, but they just can’t tailor their business to their customers like we can. I don’t sell clothes I wouldn’t also wear myself, and I won’t try to sell you something just because it’s on our rack. 

“Owning a third generation business like mine feels as much like I’m passing down a legacy as I am working a job. I’ve read that the odds of a business lasting as long as Bill’s Toggery are ten against one. I’ve kept up with modern times without sacrificing the small store feel that my customers like. At the end of the day, the secret to selling men’s clothing boils down to the Golden Rule: Treat people the way you want to be treated yourself.”

Bill’s Toggery dates back to an era when men’s suits were broad as barn doors, with great lapels and long jackets. While Billy could certainly still dress you like Gary Cooper in Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, his store also caters to the modern gentleman with its wide selection of clothing. When the occasion doesn’t call for a hand tailored suit and dress shirt, you can still count on Bill’s Toggery for high quality sportswear, casual wear, jeans, and running shoes.

Pull a sport coat off the rack and you may find Billy’s son hiding inside it. “Does he have the makings of a men’s clothing man?” Billy asked rhetorically. “Well, he still has a little time left to decide for himself.”

Bill’s Toggery is located at 138 Lewis St S in downtown Shakopee. They are open Monday through Saturday as well as by special appointment. You may learn more about the local men’s clothier at billstoggery.com.

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