Josephson's Thrives In Spite of Challenges Brought on by COVID-19

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

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The COVID-19 pandemic has been a challenging time for most small businesses. Red Wing Port Authority has worked tirelessly to alleviate some of the pressure these businesses are experiencing as a result of the pandemic. One way in which the Port Authority has provided assistance has been through COVID-19 relief funds. One pillar of the business community, Josephson’s Men’s Clothing Store and Formal Wear remains stronger than ever because of these funds and the significant community support the store has received during the pandemic. 

For Josephson’s, COVID-19 hit at a very bad time, during prom and wedding season. Josephson’s opened in 1878 and it is known as the oldest continually running men’s store in Minnesota. The clothier has a history of providing men with Tuxedos and formal wear of exceptional quality for special occasions. 

“Because of the pandemic, our store suffered a loss of sales as it hit during prom and wedding season. We were forced to cancel some merchandise and cut hours back,” says owner Tom Withers. 

Tom Withers and his wife, Denise, purchased the business from the Josephson family in 1992, and it has been thriving since. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Josephson’s has had to cut back on hours and is now closed on Thursday nights. Customers are asked to wear masks and to social distance while they shop. Only 12 customers are allowed in the store at one time. 

In spite of these changes, Josephson’s Men’s Clothing Store and Formal Wear has felt immense support from the Red Wing community. 

“We were forced to close for nine weeks and people waited for us to reopen. They did not leave town to shop because they knew we would have what they needed and would reopen as soon as we could. They still supported our small business instead of going to big box stores that were open in other towns,” Withers explains. 

Withers read about the Red Wing Port Authority COVID-19 relief funds in the newspaper and on Facebook and decided to seek assistance in May 2020. Withers says the funds were extremely helpful in a time when many small businesses, including their own, were struggling. 

“Shari and the whole Port Authority team did a fantastic job. We thank them for allowing us to apply. It has helped a great deal,” says Withers.

Tom Withers“The funds helped us pay merchandisers to keep our credit good with them so that we would have brand new merchandise for our customers when our doors opened again!” He continues.

Josephson’s Men’s Clothing Store and Formal Wear has been operating for over 140 years. The business has a theme of customer service, fair prices and current styles. The employees strive to provide everyone who shops there with personalized service. Red Wing Port Authority knows that it is solid businesses like this that allow the local economy to remain stable in spite of the ever-changing economic climate.   

“The Red Wing government supports small businesses and realizes their importance to the economy. Red Wing is my birthplace and hometown, and I love living here,” Withers says.

“In Red Wing, I’m an hour away from everything. I can shop local for anything and I’m only a short drive from the airport. We have the world’s best at our hands! Red Wing is the best place to shop and people from all around come to spend their hard earned money here.” continues Withers. 


Josephson’s Men’s Clothing Store and Formal Wear has survived numerous challenges over the many years it has been providing customers with exceptional service and fairly priced clothing. Show your support by visiting the store in person at 215 Bush St, Red Wing, MN. To learn more about the COVID-19 resources Red Wing Port Authority provides, click here.

Category: News