"I'm kind of like a floorwalker," said Arthur A. Adler, describing one of the differences between his men's clothing shops and other retailers of men's wear.
"At most stores, people who run the place stay in their office . . . but I insist that the people here see an Adler," he added.
Adler, who came to Washington from New England some 36 years ago and helped introduce to the local market a fashion with which he already was familiar - the Ivy League style - recently opened his largest store here.
The new Adler store is the first to open in a new retail and office complex at 1101 Connecticut Ave. NW at L Street. Called "The Connecticut Connection," the two-storey retail mall is located atop a subway station and next to the Mayflower Hotel.
Other stores and services that will open in the near future include a branch of Perpetual Federal Savings and Loan, Theodore Nye jewelers, the August Max women's specialty chain. New Yorker Bakery, and leather, newspaper, gift, health food and pizza shops.
For Adler, the move to Connecticut and L represented a shift from 822 15th St. NW, where he had conducted business for three and a half decades. In addition, the new store has some 5,500 square feet of selling space on the new mall's second floor - triple the space in the older outlet.
Adler also operates a branch store on Wisconsin Avenue in the Friendship Heights area across the street from Saks Fifth Avenue.
On weekdays, Adler walks the floor of his new store; on Saturdays, he can be found at the suburban store. He owns the business with two sons, John and Arthur Jr., who often and be found in one of the stores. John Adler is active in running the business; brother Arthur Jr. is an investment counselor.
Founder Adler said he thinks his store is at the right place at the right time. The trend in men's fashions favors the natural shoulder style of suits and jackets that Adler always has featured, along with such accessories as narrow and more traditional ties and button-down shirts.
"It's a softer, more genteel look," said Adler, showing off the broader selection of suits and added sportswear, such as sweaters and car coats, at the new store. Prices for suits start at $225 and peak at about $400. Prices for sports jackets start at about $150. TR FOR AD 3
Adler's lines attract professional men, members of Congress, "people pretty much from all walks of life but up in income," he added.
Because the store is located near a concentration of office buildings west of 16th Street, Adler said business should grow. A branch in Northern Virginia is possible in the future.
The new site is located across Connecticut Avenue from a proposed mall that would be much larger - with a new Brooks Brothers store to replace an existing unit and a branch of a major department store, such as Bloomingdale's. A large Raleigh's store is one block north.
Adler said he is not concerned about the competition because of his firm's emphasis on personal attention for customers and a long-established special order department, which permits customers to select English fabrics at special showings.