Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Born and Thread

The Mitchells are all about service



Walk through the doors of Mitchells in Westport and you will find sumptuous Italian leather, elegant couture, and fine jewelry. But what isn’t as obvious to the eye is something as rare and precious as the luxury goods on display—a large family harmoniously running a successful business.

Approximately 90 percent of family businesses run by third-generation family members fail in the United States. The Mitchell family has managed not only to buck the trend, but even to recently expand the high-end clothing enterprise on the West Coast. “I’m tickled pink,” says chairman, and Wilton resident, Jack Mitchell, whose book Hug Your People has become a bible for customer service. Jack Mitchell’s father, Ed, opened the first store in 1958. He was an advertising and retail consultant in New York City, and at the end of one day stepped off the train and decided he was finished commuting. He and his wife Norma opened their first shop with three men’s suits hanging on plumbing racks and a coffee pot from home to make their customers feel welcome.

If there is an emblem that best represents the Mitchell family’s business philosophy, it is that coffee pot. “We genuinely care about people,” says vice chairman Bill Mitchell, Jack’s brother. Adds third-generation Andrew Mitchell-Namdar, VP of marketing and creative services, “My grandparents viewed this store as an extension of their home. We believe the store is about family so we’ve always made it a family-friendly store.” In fact, that coffee pot is now accompanied by a full-service espresso machine, soda fountain, candy, water bottles, and a children’s corner outfitted with books and toys.

In the corporate offices at the Mitchells in Westport is a veritable potpourri of Mitchells. In addition to Jack, his wife and general merchandise manager Linda, and Bill, you will find the aforementioned Andrew, and two of Jack’s other sons, co-presidents Russ and Bob.

The family also owns Richards in Greenwich, run by Bill’s son Chris. Marshs in Huntington, Long Island, is captained by Bill’s son Chris. And at the helm of the recently acquired Wilkes Bashford stores in San Francisco and Palo Alto is Bill’s son Tyler. So where are the daughters? The family wonders the same. All seven members of the third generation are men, and so far six of them are in the family clothing business. An unusual statistic that is not lost on Bill. “I’m proud as punch of these seven kids,” he says. “They each have a different responsibility, and the respect they have for each other is a marvel.”

No one in the family has a guaranteed ticket into the business. A Mitchell must work outside of the family business for a minimum of five years before being eligible, but even then there is no entitlement. There must be a need for the person’s skill set, and an actual job available.

All the 3G (third generation) members attribute the unusual accord in the family to clearly defined roles and communication. “The only thing that can kill us is not communicating,” says co-president Bob. “Super high-level communication prevents in-fighting.” It’s typical to run into several Mitchells among the clothing racks and jewelry cases. They consider their hands-on presence the hallmark of a store that knows its customers’ preferences. “It gives us an enormous competitive advantage, to see what’s popular and what’s working, and what’s not,” says Bill.

And that one-on-one attention goes beyond the business. “We sell clothes for a living but giving back to the community is in our DNA,” explains Bill. “If you are an integral part of the community, you will have a successful business.” The stores are often opened to groups for events and fundraisers, and the family members participate actively in their hometowns.

The question remains as to whether or not the transition from 3G to 4G will be as smooth as the hand off from brothers Jack and Bill to their sons. But Jack Mitchell has high hopes. “Roughly 80 percent of American businesses are family-owned or –based. I believe it’s the heart and soul of our country.”

Add your comment:

Connect With Us

             

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Catch the Vibe Newsletter

Weekend activities and events in the area
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Content

Commuting Conventions

The Daily Ritual of Getting to Work

Ten Minutes with Ceci Maher

Director of Person-to-Person (P2P)––providing for those in need

Born to Explore

The World Piece by Wiese––Best-selling author and TV show host Richard Wiese

Holiday Toy Drive

Ringers & Singers

Christmas concert “Sounds of the Season”––Dec 16

Profiles

Your Guides to Leading Local Professionals

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Edit ModuleShow Tags

January 2017

Heather Gaudio Fine Art is pleased to announce its upcoming exhibition “Lasting Impressions,” a group show of colorful prints by leading contemporary artists Ross Bleckner, Jim Dine,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: (203)801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Take the Dream Bowl Team Challenge to benefit The Kennedy Center Children's Services for children with disabilities! Your Team could win the game for our Children’s Programs that have...

Cost: No cost to register

Where:
Online only fundraiser contest-www.teamkckids.org
, CT


Telephone: 203-365-8522 x229
Contact Name: Jo Ann McMullan
Website »

More information

In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the Norwalk Historical Society will be hosting, Cards For Kids, a family-friendly Service Day Project in conjunction with the non-profit organization, Cards...

Cost: Free

Where:
Norwalk Historical Society Museum
141 East Ave.
Norwalk, CT  06851
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Historical Society
Telephone: 203-846-0525
Contact Name: Samantha Kulish
Website »

More information

  The public is invited to a reception at Art/Place Gallery for “Two Views”, the oil paintings of new members, Jeffrey Starkes and Elizabeth Higgins on January 15 from 2 to 5 pm....

Cost: free

Where:
Art/Place Gallery
70 Sanford Street
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Sponsor: Art/Place Gallery
Telephone: 203-292-8328
Contact Name: Diane Pollack
Website »

More information

For Chamber music enthusiasts, the Horszowski Trio will perform at the Saugatuck Congregational Church (245 Post Road East) on Sunday, January 15 at 3 p.m.  The members of the Horszowski Trio...

Cost: $30 Non-Members / $20 Members / $10 Students

Where:
Saugatuck Congregational Church
245 Post Rd East
Westport , CT  06880
View map »


Website »

More information

Join us for the 11th annual Martin Luther King Day Celebration, featuring live music, food, children's activities, and a keynote address by Professor Tricia Rose, Director of the...

Where:
Westport Country Playhouse
Westport , CT


Website »

More information

The much anticipated Great Trains Holiday Exhibit: An Interactive Wonderland opens the day after Thanksgiving, and ushers in the most festive season of the year! Dressed for the...

Cost: Free for all children and members of the Society, and $10 for non-m

Where:
Wilton Historical Society
224 Danbury Road
Wilton, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Heather Gaudio Fine Art is pleased to announce its upcoming exhibition “Lasting Impressions,” a group show of colorful prints by leading contemporary artists Ross Bleckner, Jim Dine,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: (203)801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Take the Dream Bowl Team Challenge to benefit The Kennedy Center Children's Services for children with disabilities! Your Team could win the game for our Children’s Programs that have...

Cost: No cost to register

Where:
Online only fundraiser contest-www.teamkckids.org
, CT


Telephone: 203-365-8522 x229
Contact Name: Jo Ann McMullan
Website »

More information

  The public is invited to a reception at Art/Place Gallery for “Two Views”, the oil paintings of new members, Jeffrey Starkes and Elizabeth Higgins on January 15 from 2 to 5 pm....

Cost: free

Where:
Art/Place Gallery
70 Sanford Street
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Sponsor: Art/Place Gallery
Telephone: 203-292-8328
Contact Name: Diane Pollack
Website »

More information

The much anticipated Great Trains Holiday Exhibit: An Interactive Wonderland opens the day after Thanksgiving, and ushers in the most festive season of the year! Dressed for the...

Cost: Free for all children and members of the Society, and $10 for non-m

Where:
Wilton Historical Society
224 Danbury Road
Wilton, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Heather Gaudio Fine Art is pleased to announce its upcoming exhibition “Lasting Impressions,” a group show of colorful prints by leading contemporary artists Ross Bleckner, Jim Dine,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: (203)801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Take the Dream Bowl Team Challenge to benefit The Kennedy Center Children's Services for children with disabilities! Your Team could win the game for our Children’s Programs that have...

Cost: No cost to register

Where:
Online only fundraiser contest-www.teamkckids.org
, CT


Telephone: 203-365-8522 x229
Contact Name: Jo Ann McMullan
Website »

More information

  The public is invited to a reception at Art/Place Gallery for “Two Views”, the oil paintings of new members, Jeffrey Starkes and Elizabeth Higgins on January 15 from 2 to 5 pm....

Cost: free

Where:
Art/Place Gallery
70 Sanford Street
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Sponsor: Art/Place Gallery
Telephone: 203-292-8328
Contact Name: Diane Pollack
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Heather Gaudio Fine Art is pleased to announce its upcoming exhibition “Lasting Impressions,” a group show of colorful prints by leading contemporary artists Ross Bleckner, Jim Dine,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: (203)801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Take the Dream Bowl Team Challenge to benefit The Kennedy Center Children's Services for children with disabilities! Your Team could win the game for our Children’s Programs that have...

Cost: No cost to register

Where:
Online only fundraiser contest-www.teamkckids.org
, CT


Telephone: 203-365-8522 x229
Contact Name: Jo Ann McMullan
Website »

More information

  The public is invited to a reception at Art/Place Gallery for “Two Views”, the oil paintings of new members, Jeffrey Starkes and Elizabeth Higgins on January 15 from 2 to 5 pm....

Cost: free

Where:
Art/Place Gallery
70 Sanford Street
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Sponsor: Art/Place Gallery
Telephone: 203-292-8328
Contact Name: Diane Pollack
Website »

More information

Like trivia? Or other board games? Join Susan and friends at the Westport Barnes & Noble for an adult game night. You can find us at the tables near the Starbucks inside the store. Join...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Barnes & Noble Westport
Post Plaza Shopping Center
1076 Post Road East
Westport, CT
View map »


Telephone: 203-209-2223
Contact Name: Susan R. Holden

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Heather Gaudio Fine Art is pleased to announce its upcoming exhibition “Lasting Impressions,” a group show of colorful prints by leading contemporary artists Ross Bleckner, Jim Dine,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: (203)801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Take the Dream Bowl Team Challenge to benefit The Kennedy Center Children's Services for children with disabilities! Your Team could win the game for our Children’s Programs that have...

Cost: No cost to register

Where:
Online only fundraiser contest-www.teamkckids.org
, CT


Telephone: 203-365-8522 x229
Contact Name: Jo Ann McMullan
Website »

More information

  The public is invited to a reception at Art/Place Gallery for “Two Views”, the oil paintings of new members, Jeffrey Starkes and Elizabeth Higgins on January 15 from 2 to 5 pm....

Cost: free

Where:
Art/Place Gallery
70 Sanford Street
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Sponsor: Art/Place Gallery
Telephone: 203-292-8328
Contact Name: Diane Pollack
Website »

More information

The Westport Arts Center will present the music of The Saxtet led by Darren Litzie on Thursday, January 19 at 6:30 p.m. The Saxtet has developed into one of the Northeast’s most exciting...

Cost: $30 Non-Members / $25 Members / $10 Students

Where:
Westport Arts Center
51 Riverside Avenue
Westport, CT  06880
View map »


Website »

More information

Pequot Library’s acoustically renowned Auditorium will be filled with the music of talented pianist, Alex Beyer, in a concert featuring the works of Haydn, Beethoven, and Ravel on Thursday,...

Cost: Tickets for adults are $20.00 in advance or $25.00 at the door.

Where:
Pequot Library
720 Pequot Avenue
Southport, CT  06890
View map »


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346
Contact Name: Tracy Steneken
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Heather Gaudio Fine Art is pleased to announce its upcoming exhibition “Lasting Impressions,” a group show of colorful prints by leading contemporary artists Ross Bleckner, Jim Dine,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: (203)801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Take the Dream Bowl Team Challenge to benefit The Kennedy Center Children's Services for children with disabilities! Your Team could win the game for our Children’s Programs that have...

Cost: No cost to register

Where:
Online only fundraiser contest-www.teamkckids.org
, CT


Telephone: 203-365-8522 x229
Contact Name: Jo Ann McMullan
Website »

More information

  The public is invited to a reception at Art/Place Gallery for “Two Views”, the oil paintings of new members, Jeffrey Starkes and Elizabeth Higgins on January 15 from 2 to 5 pm....

Cost: free

Where:
Art/Place Gallery
70 Sanford Street
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Sponsor: Art/Place Gallery
Telephone: 203-292-8328
Contact Name: Diane Pollack
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Heather Gaudio Fine Art is pleased to announce its upcoming exhibition “Lasting Impressions,” a group show of colorful prints by leading contemporary artists Ross Bleckner, Jim Dine,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: (203)801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Take the Dream Bowl Team Challenge to benefit The Kennedy Center Children's Services for children with disabilities! Your Team could win the game for our Children’s Programs that have...

Cost: No cost to register

Where:
Online only fundraiser contest-www.teamkckids.org
, CT


Telephone: 203-365-8522 x229
Contact Name: Jo Ann McMullan
Website »

More information

  The public is invited to a reception at Art/Place Gallery for “Two Views”, the oil paintings of new members, Jeffrey Starkes and Elizabeth Higgins on January 15 from 2 to 5 pm....

Cost: free

Where:
Art/Place Gallery
70 Sanford Street
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Sponsor: Art/Place Gallery
Telephone: 203-292-8328
Contact Name: Diane Pollack
Website »

More information

Featuring Rich Vos, Pete Correale, Robert Kelly Barts Tree Comedy Series Laugh it up with comedians from the top comedy podcasts!  Rich Vos, Robert Kelly and Pete Correale –...

Cost: $37

Where:
The Ridgefield Playhouse
80 East Ridge
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Website »

More information

January 21, 2017 - May 21, 2017 The Bruce Museum and the Hôtel de Caumont Centre d’Art in Aix-en-Provence, France, are mounting a major monographic exhibition of the art of the...

Cost: $7 adult, $6 student, member and under 5 free. Free to all on Tuesdays

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-869-0376
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags