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Interview with David W. Perlis

Meet the president and co-owner of Perlis

How did you get into the business? I didn’t get the job I wanted out of college at the exact moment the employee who guided Perlis to buy their first sophisticated computer software program resigned. My father had no one to install the program; that’s where I stepped in.

Why didn’t you leave? Because I kept finding new opportunities to evolve the business from new Cajun Clothing Co. stores to our Mandeville location and now Baton Rouge. Also, I love what I do and I love our family, employees and customers.

How do you stay successful with all the big brand and online competition? I believe retail is about having the right product and providing the right service to people. Big chains struggle to do both. We are in touch with our customers, the climate, the parties, etc., so we can buy for them and their lifestyles. We can also offer true personal service whether you’re buying underwear or a tailor-made suit.

Who would you most want to dress? Probably the President of the United States; I believe we’re one of the few places that could help him with all his wardrobe needs from socks and shoes to white-tie and tails for the inauguration.

What do you think of New Orleanian style? I think we have a different approach from almost anywhere else. There are so many events, parties and festivals, etc. People dress special for every occasion, and I think it’s great.

You are the third generation; do you think there will be a fourth carrying on the business? Out of the five children in the next generation, I would say two definitely not, one maybe and two are hopefuls!

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