Charles X. Block, a third generation family business on West Broad Street in Tamaqua, is under new ownership.

"We'll never get rid of what has made the store so great for 88 years," said new owners Ralph and Jeanette Richards of Jim Thorpe. The Richards, who purchased the store last July, said they wanted the formal transition of ownership to be slow, as to allow them to get to know their customers and their needs. "Even though Charles X. Block has new owners, we will keep the name of the store the same," stated Ralph.

Ted Block, who has run the store since 1963, when his father Charles X. Block, passed away, stated, "Ralph has worked side by side with me since October 2010 before deciding to purchase the store," adding, "Our customers will continue to receive great service and values as we've provided all these years."

Ted also mentioned over a 100 years of family traditions revolving around his family's strong involvement in the men's suit and clothing industry; pointing out both his father's and grandfather's long successes of being in the local forefront of the men's clothing industry. "In years past, there used to be five men's clothing stores in Tamaqua. Ours was the only one that survived," stated Block.

Recalling a personal letter from President Harry Truman, Block stated, "I remember when my father sold a hat to one of Truman's secret service guards for the President." Block, who pointed out that the President's hat size was seven and one quarter, said, "President Truman stated his gratitude for the fine hat."

"Richard Gibson (who has worked at Block's for over 30 years) will remain as the store's manager, as well as being the continued corner stone of our business," said Ralph. "The business was built on the caring reputation of Ted and Rich and we don't plan on changing that."

In addition to offering all the apparel and services Block has offered in the past, such as men's suits, tuxedos, rentals, shoes, gifts, accessories and tailoring services, Ralph stated they are offering a number of added men's apparel items, such as additional casual sport shirts, school uniforms, hats, gifts, jewelry, dress shirts, pants, sweaters, jeans, jackets, top coats, sunglasses, outerwear and more.

The store is a drop off location for dry cleaning and also offers clothing alterations, bridal wear restoration, personalized vinyl banners, shoe resoling and more. "You don't have to travel far to find an affordable gift. We have something for everyone," added Jeanette.

Both Ralph and Ted mentioned that they will continue to offer the many traditions involved with tuxedo rentals, such as providing "swatches", or pieces of fabric, for customers to browse before selecting from their large selection of custom ordered American made suits ranging in all sizes.

Jeanette noted that all the women who entered the store brought up the lack of women's attire or accessories. Adding a little twist to traditional inventory, Jeanette is adding affordable, high quality brand name women's clothing accessories to the store's inventory, to include fashion jewelry, one of a kind fashion handbags, custom made head and hairbands, scarfs and more.

Charles X. Block, 251 W. Broad St., who are also members of the Tamaqua Chamber of Commerce, will be holding a customer and community appreciation day Thursday, Feb. 9, from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the store in celebration of Tamaqua's economic growth and the store's new ownership. Special Valentine's and new ownership specials will also be on display. Free refreshments and other items will be offered.

The Richards also pointed out the store's continued commitment to the community, pointing out the store's availability of providing fundraising opportunities for nonprofit organizations. The store's hours are Monday to Wednesday from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Thursday and Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. They can also be reached at (570) 668-1112 or via Facebook.

Ralph said, "We will continue to be a community minded business, with the idea of understanding the great benefits of shopping local."