Bjorn’s is a family-owned business that has been in Kenosha for more than 35+ years. It is the largest men’s clothing store in Wisconsin. We sit down with second generation owner, the one and only Brett Bjorn for this exclusive q&a.
Q. Can you tell us a little about the long-standing history of Bjorn’s Fine Clothing and how you got involved in the family business?
A. My dad and mom, Mike and Judy Bjorn, started the business in 1981 after saving up their hard-earned money. My dad worked for other menswear stores, so he was familiar with the industry. Mike and Judy decided to open a store, but of course with their own artistic spin on it! I grew up with the business and have been invested in it my entire life. It’s my parent’s legacy and I’m happy and honored to be a part of it!
Q. Can you describe what Bjorn’s is all about?
A. Bjorn’s is probably the most unique clothing store in the entire country. We specialize in menswear for events of all kinds. We’re known for having a extensive amount of inventory at extremely fair prices. We cater products for anything from a casual dinner outfit to a top hat and tails.
Q. How does Bjorn’s compete with the big box and online store?
A. Bjorn’s provides personalized customer service that can’t be beat by box stores or online shopping. We provide a welcoming atmosphere for all, with a unique, quirky charm that’s found nowhere else.
Q. How has the men’s clothing game changed over the past few years?
A. We’ve seen a big uptick in formal weddings. It seems like more and more couples are opting for black tie events, versus a more laid-back affair. They seem to want a more special event for their big day!
Q. What are some of the hottest trends in men’s clothing for 2023?
A. The earth and jewel toned colors are coming back in full force! We have been seeing a trend of people looking for suits and accessories in sage, terra cotta, hunter green, desert rose, and other similar colors. People have been becoming more unique with their accessory pairings and Bjorn’s is uniquely suited to help with those accessories with our thousands of ties and bow ties to choose from.
Q. Brett, as a member of the Downtown Business Improvement District (B.I.D) what would you like to see improve in Downtown Kenosha?
A. I’d like for the area to keep improving the aesthetics and atmosphere of the downtown. I’m a strong believer in lighting that improves the ambiance of the area. I’d also like to see more holiday decorations throughout the year to set a fun tone.
Q. What is a day in the life for Brett at Bjorn’s?
A. It starts with 5 cups of coffee before we even open the doors to customers! During prime wedding season, there aren’t enough hours in the day.
Q. Tell us something that customers of Bjorn’s might not know?
A. Customers don’t always realize the volume of suit orders we handle during the busy season. Any given weekend between spring and fall, we have between 150 and 250 individual rentals and purchase orders. We routinely get customers who drive hours for our unparalleled prices and customer service.
Q. What makes the perfect suit?
A. Fit is everything. The guy that buys the expensive suit must tell everyone in the room how much he spent on it. Our suits do the talking for you.
Q. You just don’t carry suits; can you tell us some of the other clothing you carry?
A. We carry a wide range of accessories including ties, bow ties, pocket squares, a recently expanded hat collection, and the widest selection of fun and crazy socks around!
Q. What do you love about Downtown Kenosha?
A. Downtown has a different vibe than the rest of the Kenosha area. We have a strong collection of unique, locally owned businesses and we all seem to share a sense of pride for our little community.
Q. What is the secret to your success?
A. Hustle, coffee, sarcasm and dedication.
Q. What is the key to running one of the most successful men’s clothing stores in the Midwest?
A. The key to maintaining a successful business is dedication and commitment to the highest levels of customer service on all fronts. Myself and my staff are all excited and honored to help our community look their best for any occasion.
Q. What’s next for you and the store?
A. We’re always looking for ways to improve our selection of product and jump on the next upcoming trends.
Q. Can you tell us a little about the great team you have working for you?
A. We’re lucky to have a committed staff that cares about providing the best possible customer service. During prime season we get up to approximately 15 employees, both full-time and part-time, who want to provide a fun and memorable experience for every guest! We try to keep it fun and light here at Bjorn’s, as we’re a tight knit staff who are together 6 days a week.
Q. What makes shopping at Bjorn’s so unique?
A. Our massive selection of accessories. People aren’t always used to seeing such a wide variety of products that cater to all kinds of events. Customers are always telling us that our selection of product and prices are hard to beat!
Q. How do you organize a wedding party?
A. It all starts with a consultation appointment for the happy couple! One of our friendly staff members helps them select what they would like for everyone to be wearing on that special day. With our nation-wide shipping on rentals, we can accommodate wedding parties that span across the entire country, no matter where in the U.S. they may be.
Q. You carry a huge amount of crazy socks, what made you get into having one of the biggest selections of crazy socks?
A. Hands down, it gets lot of people into the store that wouldn’t normally have a reason to enter a menswear store otherwise. Our unconventional, big, red “Fun Socks Sold Here” sign encourages people outside of our typical demographic to stop in and look around.
Q. What are your long-term goals for the store?
A. Currently we’re working on bringing in more modern elements while trying to maintain the unique, quirky atmosphere of the original look. We’d like to maintain our relationships with customers, vendors, and our local community that mean the world to us, while expanding our range of service and relationships.
Q. What is your personal favorite line of clothing at Bjorn’s?
A. My personal favorite is our wide selection of bold, patterned shirts. My staff are huge fans of our extensive tie wall and sock collection!
Bjorn’s Fine Clothing is located at 5614 6th Avenue Kenosha, WI 53140
Q&A and photos by Donny Stancato • Edited by Jason Hedman
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(This article first appeared in Vol 16. #1 2023 Go Downtown Kenosha Magazine)