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

Holiday Toy Drive

Ringers & Singers

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

Born to Explore

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

Shoebox Greetings

A Holiday Card Tradition from the Past

P2P Benefit Captivates Crowd

Liz Murray, author & subject of the movie "Homeless to Harvard" emphasized the power of charity

Profiles

Your Guides to Leading Local Professionals

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Edit ModuleShow Tags

December 2016

Tuesday, Nov. 30 through Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2017 Wilton Library’s Holiday Book Sale  Wilton Library's holiday Book Sale in the gallery is a seasonal delight where bargains can be found - featuring...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Wilton Library
137 Old Ridgefield Road, Wilton
Wilton, CT  06897
View map »


Sponsor: Wilton Library
Telephone: 203-762-3950
Website »

More information

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

Show More...
Show Less...

Tuesday, Nov. 30 through Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2017 Wilton Library’s Holiday Book Sale  Wilton Library's holiday Book Sale in the gallery is a seasonal delight where bargains can be found - featuring...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Wilton Library
137 Old Ridgefield Road, Wilton
Wilton, CT  06897
View map »


Sponsor: Wilton Library
Telephone: 203-762-3950
Website »

More information

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

Show More...
Show Less...

Tuesday, Nov. 30 through Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2017 Wilton Library’s Holiday Book Sale  Wilton Library's holiday Book Sale in the gallery is a seasonal delight where bargains can be found - featuring...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Wilton Library
137 Old Ridgefield Road, Wilton
Wilton, CT  06897
View map »


Sponsor: Wilton Library
Telephone: 203-762-3950
Website »

More information

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

Tuesday, Dec. 6 Breaking Code – A One-Hour Entertaining Lesson in Coding, 1 – 6:30 p.m.  Wilton Library is joining Computer Science Education Week, a national movement to promote...

Cost: free

Where:
Wilton Library
137 Old Ridgefield Road, Wilton
Wilton, CT  06897
View map »


Sponsor: Wilton Library
Telephone: 203-762-3950
Website »

More information

You don't have to live with back pain! Learn about treatment options from ONS pain and rehabilitation experts, Christopher Sahler, MD and Alicia Hirscht, DPT, SCS, CSCS. The program...

Cost: Free

Where:
Greenwich Hospital
5 Perryridge Road
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Greenwich Hospital
Telephone: 203-863-4444
Contact Name: Brigitte Lundgren-Foscante
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Tuesday, Nov. 30 through Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2017 Wilton Library’s Holiday Book Sale  Wilton Library's holiday Book Sale in the gallery is a seasonal delight where bargains can be found - featuring...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Wilton Library
137 Old Ridgefield Road, Wilton
Wilton, CT  06897
View map »


Sponsor: Wilton Library
Telephone: 203-762-3950
Website »

More information

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

Clear Vision Productions Presents the Social Shopping Event of the Year ~ The “Fun Girls Night Out” @ Lord & Taylor. Wednesday, December 7, 6-9pm.  Ladies will enjoy NYC Style...

Cost: $40.00

Where:
Lord & Taylor
110 High Ridge Rd
Stamford, CT  06905
View map »


Sponsor: Lord &Taylor
Telephone: 203-745-4946
Contact Name: Charlene Chiaro
Website »

More information

The GUERRILLA GIRLS are anonymous feminist activists who expose inequity in the art world.  After shaking up institutions from Shanghai to London, these activists are taking on the...

Cost: $50 - $95

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


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Kick off the season with a Holiday Market on Thursday, December 8th between 10am-5pm. There will be unique items including jewelry, clothing, plants, food and much more. This holiday...

Cost: $10.00

Where:
New Canaan Nature Center
144 Oenoke Ridge
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Website »

More information

Thursday, Dec. 8 Author Talk: Jeff Benedict - QB: My Life Behind the Spiral, 7 – 8:30 p.m.  Just in time for holiday buying, Jeff Benedict comes to Wilton Library to discuss his new...

Cost: free

Where:
Wilton Library
137 Old Ridgefield Road
Wilton, CT  06897
View map »


Sponsor: Wilton Library
Telephone: 203-762-3950
Website »

More information

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

Tuesday, Nov. 30 through Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2017 Wilton Library’s Holiday Book Sale  Wilton Library's holiday Book Sale in the gallery is a seasonal delight where bargains can be found - featuring...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Wilton Library
137 Old Ridgefield Road, Wilton
Wilton, CT  06897
View map »


Sponsor: Wilton Library
Telephone: 203-762-3950
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: Admission is 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

It’s designed to celebrate all things Harry Potter and we’re hoping for lots of costumes, dancing and music. There will be activity/coloring stations, crafts, photo ops. The store will...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: (203) 221-9192
Contact Name: Tricia Tierney
Website »

More information

MTC MainStage's Moss Hart Award-winning production "It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play," adapted for the stage by Joe Landry. The holiday classic brought to life as a live...

Cost: $30-$55

Where:
Music Theatre of Connecticut
509 Westport Ave
Norwalk, CT  06851
View map »


Website »

More information

Tuesday, Nov. 30 through Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2017 Wilton Library’s Holiday Book Sale  Wilton Library's holiday Book Sale in the gallery is a seasonal delight where bargains can be found - featuring...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Wilton Library
137 Old Ridgefield Road, Wilton
Wilton, CT  06897
View map »


Sponsor: Wilton Library
Telephone: 203-762-3950
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: Admission is 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...

On Saturday, December 10, 2016 stop by the Norwalk Historical Society Museum between10:00am and 6:00pm for some Holiday cheer! Enjoy warm apple cider and holiday cookies as you make your way around...

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

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

Food and cookbooks are part of every holiday! Bring the family to enjoy this exhibition of rare books on display in Cooking Down the Ages. As part of the ongoing series of changing exhibitions...

Cost: free

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


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346
Contact Name: Front Desk
Website »

More information

MTC MainStage's Moss Hart Award-winning production "It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play," adapted for the stage by Joe Landry. The holiday classic brought to life as a live...

Cost: $30-$55

Where:
Music Theatre of Connecticut
509 Westport Ave
Norwalk, CT  06851
View map »


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: Admission is 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

Tuesday, Nov. 30 through Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2017 Wilton Library’s Holiday Book Sale  Wilton Library's holiday Book Sale in the gallery is a seasonal delight where bargains can be found - featuring...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Wilton Library
137 Old Ridgefield Road, Wilton
Wilton, CT  06897
View map »


Sponsor: Wilton Library
Telephone: 203-762-3950
Website »

More information

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