Drinkwater’s: A Tale of Two Markets

Some great ideas from great merchants who are surviving, even thriving, in a tough economy.

DRINKWATER’S Cambridge Mass.

It would be tough to find a proprietor more dedicated to “honoring his business” than Gary Drinkwater. Everything in his store has “purpose, ” fitting together to create a distinctive experience for his clientele.

Tag Line: “Thoughtfully selected accessible fashion with a focus on American style.”

Key Vendors: Crittenden, Engineered Garments, Carrot & Gibbs.

What Makes Him Tick: “I would never have been happy working at a 9 to 5 desk job, looking at a computer screen all day. I thrive on the energy that comes from meeting new people. Working in fashion (and particularly in such a cultural hub as Cambridge) allows me to meet fascinating people all day long; while the creative, design requirements of the job provide me with an outlet for my more artistic side (my training was originally as a graphic designer).

“It also feels great when a happy customer comes in to let me know that he received compliments on his outfit or when his wife comes in to buy him more clothing because she appreciates his new look.”

Business Philosophy: “We firmly believe that a happy customer is the only advertising we need. Our success has always come from a large, loyal following. Our customers understand we are here to help them look and feel good. This means that we help them make good purchasing decisions for their lifestyle rather than push the latest, trendy label. As a result, we have almost no returns.

“We try to educate customers on what’s occasion-appropriate and how their wardrobes should evolve with their lifestyle. This makes us a trusted advisor and has led to happy customers who bring their friends and families to shop with us as well.”

Favorite Collection: “Based on my long relationship with, and appreciation for, designer Daiki Suzuki, I’m happy to feature Engineered Garments in our store. His collection represents a significant part of our sportswear mix and offers cross-generational appeal with an Americana workwear aesthetic. It has put us at the forefront of today’s workwear-as-streetwear trend.”

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