For the Past 10 years, men’s clothing shop J. Novachis had occupied an Edina block in the 50th and France neighborhood. This spring, owner Anthony Novachis made the big decision to move the beloved store to Excelsior, his new hometown. Of course, anyone who’s stepped inside knows what sets it apart from other clothing shops—its styles are high-trend yet one-of-a-kind, expertly designed yet individually tailored, professional yet incredibly personal. To understand what makes J. Novachis so special, we talked with Anthony Novachis about his dad, John Novachis, the late founder of the store, and about moving the shop to the lake area.
John Novachis was a father, a friend, a soldier, and a man of impeccable taste. He founded J. Novachis in 2006 with an eye for quality, after decades working as a clothier at another local company. Even as a young man, John always had a passion for clothing. While he served in the 101st Airborne Infantry during the Vietnam War, John was known to carefully fold his clothes before his troop moved camps. He understood that the way a person values his clothes is often a reflection of the way he values himself.
John wanted to provide men with a shopping experience that was personal and tailored to their individual personalities, and for over 40 years, that is exactly what he did. John was especially gifted at assessing each customer’s personal style and advising him accordingly, a skill that he passed on to his son Anthony, who took over the family business in 2014, after John retired, and shortly before he passed away from pancreatic cancer at age 67. Anthony remembers spending lots of time in the shop as a child. “I grew up on 54th and Abbott in Edina, walking distance from the store. I would find myself in the back room among the team of tailors and fine clothing. Other times, my dad would lay out a suit, and similar to putting together a puzzle, he would have me search the store for missing pieces. It was here that I discovered I shared my dad’s passion for fine garments,” Anthony says.
Edina to Excelsior
Anthony’s decision to take over J. Novachis wasn’t made lightly. But in the end, he knew there was no other place he would rather be. In addition to talking about their transition, John and Anthony discussed the possibility of moving the shop to the Excelsior area. For one thing, Anthony now has two boys of his own, and he knew he wanted to share the great experience of growing up with J. Novachis with his sons Mike, 11, and Dominic, 9. Since Anthony and his family had been residents of the lake area for over 15 years, moving J. Novachis to Excelsior seemed like a logical next step. “It’s a beautiful fit to be in a community that values small businesses,” Anthony says. “It adds to that unique, personalized experience that J. Novachis is founded on. Excelsior holds on to that.”
In February, J. Novachis officially shuttered its Edina location, and opened its doors at 218 Water St. in March. Anthony explains that, although the move was emotional, it wasn’t sad—maybe just a little bittersweet. “At the end of the day, clothes are just clothes,” he says. “It’s the people who make J. Novachis so special.” He compares the shop to a house—it’s made into a true home by the employees and customers. In addition to some much-needed space, the new store offers J. Novachis the opportunity to move forward without forgetting where it all began. John Novachis’ passion for people and fine clothing are being carried on by the next generations of his family, and customers who knew him well still frequent the shop to share memories. Anthony has approached the move with typical style and class. He says, “I’m so excited to be home.”