Our New York Story: Receiving an Award for Innovation

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It is not every year that a store wins an award. Not every year that one is recognized for the things they have been hard at work doing day after day. That is why this year is special for the Foursome. And why we feel grateful to receive the Uptown Downtown Award from MR Magazine for Retail Innovation. It is an honor to be recognized among select specialty men’s stores throughout the country.

The trip to New York was a milestone and reminder of God’s faithfulness in our family business. Monday in New York we walked the market and sat in on buying appointments, which set the tone for our “big night”. In every direction, friendly faces offered their congrats for winning the award, saying things like “We read your whole article” and “Tonight is your night to shine”. 6 o’clock sharp we arrived via yellow cab at the iconic Four Seasons restaurant. The cocktail room steadily swelled to capacity with presidents, designers, and representatives of our favorite acclaimed brands. We tipped our hats to fellow store owners receiving the Uptown/Downtown and Lifetime Achievement Awards. We got to thank Jack Mitchell himself for writing Hug Your Customers, a book that has greatly impacted our leadership over the years. The excitement was high.

The Foursome entourage in New York. Scott Winterbottom, Pat Wright, Beth Engel, Gordy Engel, Nancy Engel, Nicole Chose

The Foursome entourage in New York. Scott Winterbottom, Pat Wright, Beth Engel, Gordy Engel, Nancy Engel, Nicole Chose

At the award dinner, Karen Alberg Grossman with MR magazine stirred up a great applause as she described The Foursome as a friendly and beautiful store, but emphasized the type of person Gordy Engel is. That he spends his spare time ministering to guys in his jail ministry. Together, Gordy and his daughter Nicole received the award with a heartfelt speech. After thanking many important contributors to the business and giving God all the credit for the award, Gordy ended the acceptance speech talking about the legacy his father Ron Engel began and passed down to the next generations in our family. He then said, “my dad would have turned 92 today”. A sigh of amazement hushed across the audience as they pondered the significance of receiving this award on Ron Engel’s birthday. The entire night was truly special.

Foursome award

Gordy Engel and Nicole Chose accepted the award from MR Editor Karen Alberg Grossman

Two things in particular united the stores receiving awards this year. Namely, they have a story behind who they are and how they got to where they are today. And that they found a niche somewhere in the midst of booming retail corporations. These things are true for The Foursome. We were pleased with the article written about us by Harry Sheff with MR Magazine. The attention was not mainly on what we do, but who we are and what we believe. This sets us apart. We are committed to business but are very attentive to the people involved; employees, customers, and community.

From buzzing news of being nominated for the award to the ceremony itself, every step has brought into focus the importance of being acknowledged for innovation in our industry today. Our industry of specialty men’s stores is not the same as it once was. It is smaller and fitter. Any specialty men’s store must be fit to survive. And here The Foursome is, surviving after 75 plus years, being awarded for innovation and continually asking how we can stick to our roots and ever evolve.

– By Beth Dougherty, Third-generation owner and Visual Display Coordinator at The Foursome