When it comes to menswear legacies, very few outshine — or have outlasted — Athens, GA retailer, Dick Ferguson's. Founded in 1934, Dick Ferguson’s has outfitted fathers and sons alike for generations. At a recent round table Q&A with Dick Ferguson’s sons – Dick III, John, and Ed — the brothers shared memories of their father, lessons learned working in the store, tried-and-true trends that still resonate today, and tales from their annual family golf outing. These guys are both brothers AND competitors forever thanks to the heated tournament known as The Ferguson Cup. This year their sons got in on the action sporting some of their new favorites from the Duck Head Performance Collection. What follows is a recap of our store visit with the family and a day out on the links…
A Legendary Father-Son Legacy
As we mentioned, Dick Ferguson's has been a fashion mainstay in Athens since 1934. When asked what makes this iconic brand and destination a go-to for multiple generations the brothers Ferguson give all the credit to their father, Dick Ferguson, Jr. “Our father was hard-working, shrewd and loyal. A true gentleman who created loyalty by being loyal to others,” said Dick III. That signature loyalty combined with strong customer relations created a repeat Ferguson fan base that still resonates today. Brother John weighed in next. “Being in a college town means that each year thousands of students graduate and move on. And most move away from Athens but many take their loyalty to Dick Ferguson's with them which translates to repeat business and return trips to Athens.” Dick says, “Every man that’s graduated from UGA since 1934 knows the name Dick Ferguson's”. When thinking back Ed added, “When I was coming along there were 6 or 7 men’s stores in Athens, and now there are 2. I think it’s years of our bespoke-style service and the sense of family and community that have made this a stand-alone destination.”
Naturally, the brothers grew up working in the store and feeding that sense of family and community that’s at the heart of Dick Ferguson's. When asked about lessons learned “working the floor” and what they carried with them into their own lives and careers Ed said, “interacting with the people, working with the public and the focus on sales gave us each strong networking and relationship-building skills that are at the core of our careers today”. Dick added, “The power of first impressions...the ability to meet, greet and communicate...it can’t be overstated how important that was to learn at that age”. They would like their sons to have the same experience as it’s a great school unto itself. “A number of very successful business people have worked at Dick Ferguson's over the years...” added John.
Gameday in Athens is like no other, and the spirit in the store goes hand-in-hand with the excitement on the field. Originally on Clayton Street, the store was downtown and part of a stroll that included shopping before and after the game. That same spirit is alive and well at the new store location on Baxter Street. Foot traffic in the store is always strong on gameday and the spontaneous reunions of friends dropping in make a visit to Dick Ferguson's that much more rewarding. Both then and now, alums file in with their brides and kids while underclassmen get outfitted with Mom and Dad. Back in their day, the Ferguson brothers had to draw straws to see who was going to the game and who was going to have to work the floor. Dick III remembers losing at straws but also shared that his father “rigged the game” to keep his son on the floor of the family business that day…
Tried, True, & New
The brothers all remember growing up in Duck Heads and to this day count them as a “tried and true” part of the Dick Ferguson's brand story. When asked about their Duck Head memories, Dick said, “When I was at UGA, the gameday uniform was Duck Head khakis, a white button down shirt and a red necktie of some sort. Everybody wore Duck Heads”. Even some of the ladies. Dick recounted, “we even sold them to girls who would come in and buy a 28” or 30” waist and cut them off to make shorts”. Today, the brothers and their sons are fans of the Pinpoint Canvas Five-Pockets and the Harbor Performance Pants and Shorts. Dick concluded with, “That’s all my oldest son wears”.
Father's Day & The Ferguson Cup
Growing up, Mr. Ferguson had Thursdays and Sundays off from the store. Living on 5 acres meant many of those Sundays the boys were doing yard work while their Dad played golf with the same foursome for over the course of about 40 years. As the sons later pursued their love of the game, brotherly competition ultimately lead to what is now known as THE FERGUSON CUP — a father-son golf “tournament” that has been played at various golf courses and resorts over many years. The winner of the inaugural “tournament” received a “British Cup” style trophy that Mrs. Ferguson discovered in a shop one day. The Cup is now passed to each tournament’s respective winner year after year. While this family tradition has rarely landed on Father’s Day it will always land on a day that fathers and sons are together and celebrated..