SIOUX CITY | Nathan Sadoff lived the American dream.
As a young man, he traveled alone to Sioux City from Russia for a chance at a better life. He started selling merchandise from a cart he pushed around downtown. In 1900, he opened the Up to Date store at Fourth and Court streets.
With his business savvy, his store evolved into Sadoff's Men Clothing, which suited Siouxland men's fashion tastes for 112 years. The current owner, Arlen De Zeeuw, starts the store's going out of business sale Thursday.
"My son, Michael, said it is like an end of an era," Maita Sadoff said.
Nathan Sadoff was Maita's father-in-law. Three generations of the family owned the business until she sold the store to De Zeeuw in 2002, after the untimely death of her son, Lester. He was 49.
Sadoff's is one of the last family-owned clothing stores in Sioux City. Gone are such men's stores as Grayson's, Jack Robinsons, Morey's and Raymond's and Weatherwax. Women used to shop at family-owned stores including Fantles, Fishgalls, Jean's and Williges.
Bob Sabel, the second generation owner of Jean's Women's Apparel, said it is increasingly difficult for a locally owned business to complete. He closed his store 10 years ago because he wanted to retire. His mother, Bess, opened the shop in 1942.
"More chain stores are working their way into Sioux City and are playing the 'price game,' " he said. "Competition is really fierce."
Even though local stores compete with the chain store prices -- or sell their merchandise cheaper -- it takes more than good prices to keep customers, he said. Maita Sadoff and Sabel agreed that personal service, selling quality clothing and knowing their customers were keys to their successes. Sadoff's employed men's tailors so they could custom fit everything from suits to shirts to jeans.
Sadoff's moved eight times during its 112 years in business. In the late 1940s, the family operated two stores -- Sadoff's and "The Store Without a Name." That happened because the Three Sisters, a women's shop, wanted the space Sadoff's used next door on the south side of Fourth and Douglas streets. Sadoff's rented a building on the north side of the street, but had to move in while the original store remained open.
In 1994, Sadoff's moved for the last time, to Marketplace Shopping Center, at 3023 Hamilton Blvd.
Maita Sadoff's husband, Sam, ran the store after his parents moved to Louisville, Ky. After Sam died in 1982, Lester, took over. She also worked at the store part time until she retired in 1991. Although all three Sadoff's sons grew up working in the store, Michael and Jerry were not interested in the family business and live in the Chicago area.
Under Lester's leadership, the store started selling clothes to fit big and tall men, when those sizes were hard to find locally. The store's catchy slogan caught on: "Big, Tall, Small, We Fit Them All."
Maita Sadoff understands why De Zeeuw retired at age 70, since he commutes daily from his home in Hawarden, Iowa.
"Although I didn't know him before he bought the store, he and his wife have become good friends."