By Andrew Macdonald
Barry Rofihe retired eight years ago from operating Rofihe’s Mens Wear, a 96-year-old haberdashery and the place to go for discriminating South Shore men.
The Bridgewater store was closed by Barry’s son Jimmy because retail changes across North America killed off many independents in an era of big box clothing outlets, and the increasing popularity of online shopping. Even Sears Canada went bankrupt in recent years.
Barry asked me about another leading haberdashery in Antigonish, my hometown. I told him Donnie MacEachern, now 86, still puts in a full day’s work at Oak Manor on Antigonish’s Main Street. The elderly MacEachern is assisted by his son David.
Across Nova Scotia, the ubiquitous UPS drivers will tell you they are busy delivering L.L.Bean clothes out of Maine and goods from Amazon.
In Bridgewater, about three years ago, the discount American clothing chain, Winners established a beachhead in that South Shore town.
To get a sense of how popular Rofihe’s Mens Wear was in the fabric of male shoppers, I asked a leading Chester biz titan to describe the haberdashery.
The Chester mansion owner did not want to be named, but here is his email description he sent The Macdonald Notebook:
“Good that you got in touch with Barry who is one of my dearest friends.
“After 97 years in business, the Rofihe family decided to pursue other paths. I miss their very personal service after buying my clothes there for many, many years. Both Barry and Jim knew how to take care of their clients and I swear Barry knew everyone’s size from memory.”