Sunday, September 25, 2011
Next to the One City Center parking garage sits the former home of the A. H. Benoit Company, a men's clothing store. At one time, the company had clothing stores in Westbrook, Biddeford, Lewiston, Brunswick, Ogunquit and here in Portland. In 1915 they were the largest clothing stores in Maine. They had a section set aside just for young men called Prep Hall, as I remember with upscale clothing with prices to match. I never remember buying anything there, but I did like to window shop. During my collegiate years, my friend Peter worked there, and I often stopped by while on vacation to catchup with his comings and goings. He had great stories of the latest screw ups by the manager or young ladies who had ventured by. Now, buddy Paul's parents bought all his Christmas gifts at the Westbrook store(The Men's Shop), and usually one night later, we were there returning all his latest fashions for cold, hard cash. I always thought that something wasn't quite right with this, but he rationalized it this way: "I don't need the preppy clothes; I need the money!" For him, it was all about the Benjamins, even back then. HoHoHo! Merry Christmas!