DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Celebrities, athletes and even a former president have taken style advice from downtown mainstay Price Stores.
The company’s towering golden building has anchored the corner of Jefferson Street and 4th Street since 1950.
“The brightest corner, 4th and Jefferson, is still here six days a week, with the brightest people and the nicest stuff and it’s still the best deals,” said current owner Edd Wimsatt.
Wimsatt and his wife are the third family to own the company. He worked for the Price Stores founder when he was in college and purchased it in 1996.
“I got my prom tux here a hundred years ago,” Wimsatt laughed about his longtime connection to the store. “My son and his friends got their prom tuxes here and now I’ve got grandkids doing the same thing.”
Local customers aren’t the only ones who’ve heard about Price Stores. Wimsatt recalled encounters with famous athletes and actors like Harrison Ford stopping inside, but he said a visit from John F. Kennedy has become the most celebrated visit.
The store keeps a framed letter and photo from JFK, who stopped by during his presidential run in 1959 to rent a tuxedo for an event. It’s a thank you note to staff for returning $105 the future president left in a pocket. He also enclosed a $25 reward for their kindness.
Wimsatt takes pride in the company’s history and his customers’ loyalty. He calls them ‘family’ and credits their devotion for sustaining the store through the area’s economic hardship and recent flooding.
Price Stores is now navigating the revitalization of downtown Dayton, including the Fire Blocks District it calls home. Wimsatt said he’s heard rumors about boutique hotels or restaurants taking over the space and he’s currently negotiating with the property owner to maintain several floors in the Jefferson Street building.
As with previous uncertainties, the owner said he’s counting on customer loyalty to keep the business afloat.
“If my customers keep coming and supporting us, we’re going to stay here as long as we can,” Wimsatt said.