Retiring Dalston shop owner of 42 years calls time on business

Jack Harris at his shop, Manhatten Menswear in Kingsland High Street , which is closing down as he i

Jack Harris at his shop, Manhatten Menswear in Kingsland High Street , which is closing down as he is retiring after 42 years in the clothing business. - Credit: Vickie Flores

A shop owner who has catered to the Dalston community for 42 years has announced his retirement.

Jack Harris, 68, of Manhattan Menswear in Kingsland Road, said “the time had come” to close the clothes emporium which attracts people from all over the country.

Mr Harris said: “Through being here this length of time, the business has got such a fantastic, loyal client base and it has really been heart-warming seeing the reaction that we are getting within the shop.

When you are here for so many years, you don’t realise what you are creating. I have so many requests to last for a couple more years, with people saying ‘you are Dalston’ – it has really got to me. I knew it was going to be hard but now it’s a lot harder as I had never, ever dreamt of the reaction that I would actually get.”

Mr Harris has been in the menswear business since he left school in 1969 and opened his first shop in Hackney in 1973.

He opened Manhattan in 1980 and ran both concurrently for decades.

He said: “This shop became like a central point; people would wave and pop in and say hi. Even though we are in a high street in what is virtually central London, we are still very, very much a community shop.

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I think the level of service and respect we provide has been very important. As well as that, there is the different merchandise. I wanted the things I sold to be different from the high street. People came to us because they knew they could buy something different, and then go out and feel good about themselves.”

Now that Mr Harris is retiring, he said he was unsure what he will do next, but said he was excited about the future.

He continued: “My wife says to me I am closing one chapter - a rather long one – but let’s see what the next chapter brings. It will be something different, but I will miss the shop like absolute crazy.”