The M. S. McClellan Tradition
After spending a seven year apprenticeship working for various Knoxville clothiers, founder and owner, Matt McClellan felt there was a void in the local men's clothing presentation. He set out to fill that void. Traditional men's clothing, at that time, had an ultra conservative, dark sameness, which evoked little or no excitement. His new store would be born with an emphasis on color, style, quality and attention to detail presented with unsurpassed service.
M. S. McClellan & Co. began life as Hansom House in August of 1966 in a small store front on Cumberland Avenue, the heart of the University of Tennessee business district. From the very start the response was overwhelming. Both students and town's people alike found Matt's interpretation of traditional dress to be a welcome and refreshing change from the accepted norm of the day. It soon became obvious that a move to a larger space was inevitable if the store was to continue servicing its ever expanding clientele properly.
When plans were announced for the construction of West Town, the first mall in Knoxville, Hansom House was one of the first stores to sign a lease, and Matt decided to change the name to M. S. McClellan & Co. S. R. Rosenberg of New York City was commissioned to design the interior and created one of the most beautiful and functional retail spaces in the country. From August of 1972 until August of 1987, West Town was home and definitely contributed to the continued growth of the company. Due to the regional attraction of West Town Mall, M. S. McClellan took on more than just a local presence. The store was known all across East Tennessee. A ladies area was created in the new mall store as the space allowed and the style of the day was menswear inspired. Many new and exciting men's lines were added to the product mix allowing the store to better serve its ever-increasing customer base.
Toward the end of the eighties it again became apparent that the existing space could no longer meet the demands of continued growth. Expansion in the mall was not feasible, thus plans for a well located, freestanding space were initiated. In 1986, land was purchased and construction began on our present location in the Bearden area of Knoxville.
As McClellan was shifting locations, fashion leadership, so long centered in the British Isles, had clearly shifted to Italy. It became imperative to search out Italian manufacturers, and new domestic resources whose taste and sense of style most closely resembled what Matthew McClellan represented. Canali, Zanella, Oxxford Clothes, Samuelsohn, and Hickey Freeman filled the bill. These fine lines juxtaposed beautifully with such tried and true performers as Southwick, Robert Talbott, Gitman Brothers, Ike Behar, Ballin and Alden.
Today, as M. S. McClellan approaches fifty years of business, we maintain the same time honored respect for tradition in fine apparel as we did at our inception. There have been changes in fashion as well as locations, but M. S. McClellan's standard of quality and service has always remained a constant and always will.