Monday, November 30, 2009
The image below was taken from the 1924-25 edition of the "Directory of Westbrook" (page 204). It lists the clothing businesses operating at that time. Benoit's is the business where Pepere started working as a fourteen year old boy.
I remember when my brothers and sisters used to visit Pepere at the Men's Shop. It was like we were entering sacred ground. Even though we were kids, he'd always greet us like we were VIP's, and was always happy to see us! There was a time I worked in the backroom folding clothes but I hated it just like Pepere did when he first started working at Benoits. Like him, I preferred to be interacting with people.
When I asked some of my students the other day what their earliest memory was, one girl said she remembered ushering as a little girl at her church. She must have viewed going to church as a special place because of the importance her family placed on its role. We viewed the Men's Shop in the same way - a special place where the magic of selling and cultivating customers was going on.
Pepere was president of the Westbrook Chamber of Commerce for a time and around 1960, he received one of the most distinguished recognitions in the clothing industry - the Brookfield Clothing Award. The article shown here came from one of my mother's scrapbooks. The source is most likely the Westbrook American.