A business that has become an anchor of the Amherst retail community was recently given a special honour.
Mansour’s Men’s Wear, that is celebrating its 95th anniversary in 2019, was recognized as the Lebanese Business of the Year at the 12th Cedar and Maple Gala hosted by the Lebanese Chamber of Commerce in Nova Scotia on May 16 at the Cunard Centre in Halifax.
“It’s really quite humbling,” Mikhial Mansour told the Amherst News. “Honestly it was an honour just to be nominated for the award. It was quite the surprise to be nominated. We didn’t really know much about it at the time, but there were more than 800 people at the dinner. It’s quite an achievement for our business.”
After traveling around to lumber camps and lobster factories selling numerous items, such as clothing, Mike Mansour – who came to Canada from Lebanon in 1914 – moved into the store’s present quarters in 1924. He was joined by Theo Mansour, in 1926, while Mike’s son, Norman, joined in 1944.
Theo’s son, Robert, would join the business in the 1970s and his son, Mikhial, a grad of Saint Mary’s University joined the company in 2015 and has embraced the use of social media to attract customers to both the online store and the physical building in downtown Amherst.
“During my acceptance speech I looked back at the past and honoured those who came before me, like my great great uncle, Mike, and my grandfather, Theo,” Mikhial said, adding it was extra special to win the honour considering how many other deserving Lebanese businesses there are across the province. “I’m just so grateful for everything they have done.”
Mikhail said he enjoys working with his father every day, just like his father enjoyed working with Theo and Norman. He says that togetherness of family and a dedicated staff have been key to the store’s success.
Along with that, he said, offering a quality product with personal service have been the keys to the Mansour’s success – not to mention its ability to adapt to new challenges and opportunities.
“For us, it’s the fact we provide quality products and provide good service by looking after our customers,” he said. “We make sure everything we get here is good and our customers trust us.”
He said the uniqueness of Mansour’s Men’s Wear has also led to success. There aren’t a lot of men’s wear stores around anymore and people have come to appreciate its dedication to quality and service.
“People are becoming more appreciative and supportive of independent businesses, especially during the last 10 years or so,” Mikhial said. “People have sort of become tired of the generic experiences.”
While the store has remained in the same location for nearly a century, Mikhial said, it has continued to invest in improvements including taking out a wall to create a more open look as well as new fixtures and LED lights that have brightened the interior. All this, he said, makes the store more user friendly.
The store now has an LED sign on its exterior.
The growth of its online store has seen product shipped across North America and as far as Australia.
For Robert, the story behind Mansour’s success is perseverance.
“It’s perseverance, coming in every day and doing your best,” Robert said. “There are storm days that we’re here. People would come in saying ‘I didn’t think it would be busy so I came in.’”
Robert said he appreciates the recognition and the Lebanese chamber and everything it does to promote business in the province.