There are few retail stores that have endured the test of time quite like Bartel’s Clothing & Shoes located in downtown Chehalis. With a legacy of personalized service Bartel’s is celebrating their Centennial Anniversary this year.
Bartel’s was originally founded by Howard Bartel in 1922, and has since moved locations and changed owners hands 4 times over the past century, but has remained locally owned and in downtown Chehalis.
The new owners, father and son duo Boyd and Brady Calder, have owned Bartel’s since July 2018. Since taking ownership they have brought in some new brands like Grunt Style, expanded their Kühl brand and added more accessories to both Men’s and Women’s selections. Even with over 100 years of service Bartel’s focus remains the same; Men’s suits & tuxedos.
Bartel’s may not carry Women’s formal wear, but they do offer alterations, and are happy to recommend other nearby Women’s boutiques that offer those goods and services. “ We are experts in Men’s wear. Supporting other local businesses that carry women’s wear helps the area. Tangible differences between pre and post-pandemic have a conscious effect of feeling the community support. Without that community support and patronage to us and other shops we wouldn’t be successful, “ comments co-owner Brady Calder.
As time passes, Bartel’s has seen business improve since the pandemic. As with most other businesses, Bartel’s has felt the strain of supply chain disruptions. When it may have been easy to focus on keeping the store stocked with easy to get items, the Calders chose to work with their suppliers to stay focused on their high quality goods that patrons have come to expect from Bartel’s over the years.
While some things may still be hard to stock, the one good Bartel’s will never run out of is their exemplary, personally tailored customer service that they have become known for. The community comes to Bartel’s for their big moments in life; outfitting, and in many cases saving wedding party attire, helping teens look sharp for prom and homecoming, helping grieving family members needing formal wear, dressing missionaries and providing much needed last-minute alterations for others.
Boyd bought his first suit from Bartel’s from the previous owner, Joe Mount in 1980. “Bartel’s understands that these moments are rights of passage and we take these life events seriously. We strive for the highest level of customer service, so we take it hard when we fail,” states Brady Calder.
In this modern age of mass-produced, one-size-fits-all clothing, Bartel’s offers something hard to find: high quality Men’s and Women’s clothing, alterations and a caring staff ready to assist customers. With such a rich history, and legacy of exceptional customer service, Bartel’s is a true Chehalis tradition.