Shopping for the cool guy in your life just got a whole lot easier thanks to Dustin Fishbook, Meghan Paterson, and Jeff Petry. In December, the three partners opened Mr. Lee’s General Store & Haberdashery (109 East Broadway), one of the coolest men’s stores in all of SoMa. (It’s named after Mr. Lee, the man who used to run a convenience store in the same space.)
It all started about two and a half years ago when Fishbook opened the doors to his highly successful Belmont Barbershop (111 East Broadway). It wasn’t long before he set his sights on branching out into an old-school, one-stop lifestyle shop for gents.
“Dustin was the one who wanted to have a haberdashery, like a men’s outfitter, to outfit the men of Vancouver,” explains Paterson—Fishbook’s life partner, as well as business partner—who sat down with the Straight at Mr. Lee’s. “He’s all about providing a service of haircuts and shaves and all that, such that he wanted to extend that into hats and accessories and all the other stuff a guy might need.”
Mr. Lee’s also carries things a guy doesn’t necessarily need but might very well want, like Mo’s bacon chocolate bars ($9) and goat-hoof-shaped candles by D.L. & Co ($160)—both of which sold like hotcakes over the holidays.
Set up like a ’30s-style general store, Mr. Lee’s sells everything from candy to men’s magazines to Lucky Tiger Cru-Butch Control Wax ($8) for your hair. It also gives a nod to old Canadiana and Americana with some outdoorsy basics like Stanfield’s long johns ($55) and Stanley thermoses ($55).
Several items were must-haves for Paterson, who is head buyer for the store. For example, she was adamant about stocking the Hill-side, a Brooklyn-based accessories company that specializes in scarves ($80), ties ($75 to $80), and pocket corners ($40), all made from salvaged Japanese denim and chambray. Other staples include American Optics aviators ($75) (think Don Draper from Mad Men) and Buddy Holly frames ($105).
The store also carries Stumptown beans from Portland, Oregon. (Anyone who’s ever stayed in an Ace Hotel will know this coffee, which goes for $17 per 12-ounce bag.)
“I have to overnight it from Seattle because he [Stumptown owner Duane Sorenson] wants it sold and then consumed within 14 days, so he roasts it and sends it to me the next day,” Paterson says. “It’s insane.”¦People come in for it every day.”
Fishbook says it took months to track down all the merchandise in time for the store’s grand opening last month. “We were on the computer till 2 in the morning most nights, trying to find shit, blogging, checking out blogs.”¦Friends turn you on to certain brands that are linked to other brands.”¦So it’s just like a giant spider web.”
A barbershop customer suggested vintage field jackets, which they sell for $75 to $150.
“That was kind of an accident,” says Paterson. “But it’s an awesome thing to have. Normally this stuff goes to Japan”¦but we got a guy.”
With vintage and new, outdoorsy and hipster, mid-range and dirt-cheap, there’s something for everyone at Mr. Lee’s. In fact, we predict this SoMa hot spot will become everybody’s favourite gift shop for men.