Peters Clothiers Keeps It All in the Family

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There’s a strong sense of family within the walls of Peters Clothiers. From the patriarch Peter Arvan to his three sons, the store is revered for its spirit of camaraderie and customer appreciation. The family wouldn’t have seen such phenomenal success over the years if it weren’t for Arvan’s younger brother-in-law, Dennis Maroudas—or as everyone—literally, everyone—calls him, Uncle Dennis.

Arvan & Maroudas

Uncle Den, er, Maroudas was born on the same Greek island as Arvan, but moved away with his father some years later. “When he was 12-years-old, his father took him from shop to shop because his father wanted him to learn a trade. His father didn’t want him to be a farmer like he was,” says Maroudas’ niece Andriana Arvan. “He found a tailor looking for an apprentice who took him under his wing. His first job? Tearing suits apart. Basically turning the suit inside out and rebuilding them.”

Maroudas spent much of his adolescence learning the tricks of the trade. He likes to tell the story of how the tailor tied a thimble to his finger to wear 24 hours a day for nearly a month so he’d learn how to hold it properly. “By 15, he had learned to put suits back together,” says Arvan. “He started building suits all by himself.”

His skills served him well in—of all places—the Greek navy. “He was a sailor and a tailor,” says Arvan. By age 22, Maroudas was assigned to a mine-sweeping ship. “When he first got on board, the commander of his ship had to go to some sort of formal event. Back then they wore white linen uniforms that were hard to press and look right.” Maroudas found it needed to be fitted and took it upon himself to help—much to the chagrin of the ship’s commander who didn’t want a crew member handling his clothes. He wanted his uniform to be pressed by professionals in England. “When the commander saw the suit—it was perfect,” says Arvan. “My uncle ended up becoming the commander’s personal tailor/presser. Eventually, he started doing work for other higher-ups as well.”

That commander was the one who helped Uncle Dennis get his paperwork completed to immigrate to America—and the rest is apparel history. After an eight-year stint working for another tailor, Maroudas joined the Arvan family to bring his years of experience to the table. His skills were legendary, but his friendly demeanor was his claim to fame. “People would come in on Saturdays to say hey—even if they didn’t need anything,” says Arvan. “They just wanted to say hi to Uncle Dennis. Funny thing, sure he was an excellent tailor, but people would wait as long as it took for him to be the one to take care of them.”

Arvan’s sons along with Maroudas and his son Jimmy

Seems Maroudas was just as good at selling suits as he was reinventing them. “We love him. He was really important in our store because he could sell clothes just as well as he could alter and tailor them,” says Arvan. “He knew so much about the clothing—he was the perfect salesman.”

Uncle Dennis with his grand-nephew Petros.

His specialty? Creating the perfect suit for the hard-to-fit gentlemen. A parade of Chiefs and Royals players would visit Maroudas for help in fitting their athletic physiques. He was also instrumental in designing the first suit for many youngsters. “Uncle Dennis was very popular. Clients would seek him out to create a perfectly fitted suit for their sons,” says Arvan. “He was a big draw because kids are often odd to fit—sometimes too tall or too lanky—didn’t matter. Uncle Dennis could fit them. Their families loved our family.”

Even today at age 87, Uncle Dennis is holding down the fort at Peters Clothiers, and, yes, people still swing by to see him on Saturdays. Oh, and yes, he still wears a suit and tie to work. “He always dresses nice. He knows it’s very important to look your best when you present yourself to people,” says Arvan. “He exudes confidence.”

Remember that Greek Naval Commander who helped Maroudas immigrate to America? They crossed paths over 20 years later “and the commander instantly recognized him,” says Arvan. “He’s hard to forget. Once you met him, you’d always remember him. He was able to make you feel like family immediately. People always ask for Uncle Dennis … where’s Uncle Dennis? He’s everyone’s uncle.”

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