Adele’s Dress Shop and Gentlemen’s Exclusive Menswear in Colton showcase resiliency amid COVID-19

Photo Manny B. Sandoval: Although Adele’s Dress Shop and Gentlemen’s Exclusive Menswear continue to lose much of its business and clothing vendors over the years, its resiliency and purpose remain the same 81 years later.

Adele’s Dress Shop has been locally owned and operated for 81 years in the city of Colton, its initial owner Adele Simon, opened with a $300 loan she borrowed from her parents.

The dress shop that initially opened inside the legendary Anderson Hotel began operations during a time where shoppers flooded local stores and virtual spaces lacked prevalence.

Photo Abe Simon: Adele’s Dress Shop began operations inside the Anderson Hotel (pictured bottom right) in 1939.

After Adele’s passing in 1994, her son Abe Simon and his wife Linda Simon continued operations, along with their own store, Gentlemen’s Exclusive Menswear, which opened in 1968.

“This current pandemic is the worst we have seen in all 81 years of both business operations. At the time of opening Gentlemen’s Exclusive Menswear we averaged about 15 to 18 shoppers at any given time and fast forward to today…we only get about two to four shoppers per day. Some days nobody comes through our doors,” said Abe Simon, owner of Adele’s Dress Shop and Gentlemen’s Exclusive Menswear.

He also alluded to three Inland Empire businesses that contributed to the significant loss of business over the years.

Photo Manny B. Sandoval: Gentlemen’s Exclusive Menswear carries quality clothing brands ranging from casual to business and formalwear.

“The Inland Center Mall opened one year after we began operations at Gentlemen’s Exclusive Menswear and that slightly affected our sales. But then the loss of the Norton Air Force Base and Fontana Steel presented us with a significant loss of business and loss in revenue,” continued Simon.

Although the businesses encountered many setbacks, Simon and his wife raised their children and forged a life through the success of the two businesses.

“In 2020 it’s not feasible to raise a family off of a clothing store. This COVID-19 pandemic has completely killed our business. People are not going out and people do not have a purpose to purchase new clothing at the moment,” Simon said.

The reason he and his wife continue to operate is because they are forever tied to the Colton community and enjoy connecting with the shoppers they do encounter.

“I still enjoy mingling with people that enter our doors. I don’t want to go home and look at four walls. Being present in the public all these years has taught me so much and has kept me informed on what’s happening around the city, the state and the world,” continued Simon.

He says that much has changed in terms of his clientele and friends occasionally stopping by the store to say hello, due to many of them passing away in recent years.

“This shop was my mother’s life dream and I was inspired to do the same over the years; and my wife and I will continue to do so,” concluded Simon.

Adele’s Dress Shop and Gentlemen’s Exclusive Menswear both carry clothing ranging from casual to formal attire.

Both shops’ temporary hours are Monday-Friday 11:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., Saturday 11:00 a.m. -2:30 p.m., and closed on Sunday.

Adele’s Dress Shop is located at 349 N. La Cadena Drive; Gentlemen’s Exclusive Menswear is located at 345 N. La Cadena Drive. For more information, call 909-825-1602.