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Mayor Sherman Saunders joined other city officials and citizens on Saturday to celebrate the legacy of Abe Koplen Clothing as an anchor business in the River District and the passing of the ownership of this historic store to longtime employee James Cousins.
The store, located at 214 North Union St., has provided fashionable men’s clothing and accessories since the 1880s.
“We appreciate the investment that the Koplen family has made in this community over the years, and we thank you for giving a young entrepreneur the opportunity to continue the legacy of your family,” Saunders said. “James, this store has been an anchor business in this community, and under your leadership we believe it will continue to be an anchor for generations to come.”
In the summer of 2014, ownership of the historic clothing store quietly passed from the Koplen family when Barry Koplen sold the business to Cousins.
“To Barry Koplen and the entire Koplen family, thank you for allowing me to be a part of this great legacy,” Cousins said. “They brought me in at age 19, and I never thought at that time that it would turn in to this.”
He thanked Koplen for serving as a mentor.
Koplen was present at the ceremony. “James has been like a son of mine. I wish he and his family will be here as long as my family has been.”
Cousins worked with staff at the Longwood Small Business Development Center to prepare his business plan and marketing plan and secure funding to make his dream come true.