Family-owned and operated businesses have contributed massively to the growth of the American economy since the nation's earliest days. The Glik's chain of stores is a good example of that phenomenon.
Joseph Glik launched a small store in St. Louis in 1897. Today the company is still Glik-family owned and managed. The third and fourth generation of Gliks are at the helm - including Joe Glik, the 87-year-old grandson of the founder and who is the company's chairman. In the 116 years since its creation, the enterprise has expanded to include 60 stores in nine states - Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. One of the two Glik's stores in Iowa is located at the very center of Fort Dodge's Crossroads Mall near the food court.
Glik's features a wide array of clothing for both men and women. Its business philosophy is summarized on the company website as "big city fashion, small town service."
-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Alicia Taylor, manager of Glik’s in the Crossroads Mall, looks over a pair of jeans made in the U.S. The entire rack of clothing at her left features U.S.-manufactured items.
Shoppers have become accustomed to finding that much of the clothing offered for sale in American stores is not manufactured in this country.
At Glik's that is changing.
Bob Glik, part of the management team at Glik's corporate headquarters, said his family is transforming the company's marketing strategy by featuring an extensive array of products made in the USA.
He stressed that the emergence of a group of companies in the Los Angeles area that manufacture high-quality, trendy clothing at competitive prices is making this possible. Glik said it also is enabling Glik's to have the latest fashions available on its website and in its stores quickly. He said these American manufacturers are identifying fashion changes faster and making products available to retailers sooner than is typically the case with overseas competitors.
That point was underlined by Alicia Taylor, who manages the Glik's store at Crossroads Mall.
"That's what makes this 'Made in the USA' (marketing campaign) so wonderful - being on the cutting edge of what's trendy and popular," she said. "Trends come and go so quickly and people want them when they are popular. Generally, with Made in the USA, we can get our hands on products from the L.A. market and get them in Fort Dodge in right near a week."
She said that means when something is "hot" there is no delay in being able to purchase it at the Glik's store locally.
"When they are hot, we can get them right away," Taylor said. "If they are hot and we're selling them, we can get our hands on more. ... If something comes in and it is blowing out of here, you don't have to go overseas and wait three months and hope that it is still popular. It is right back in here."
Taylor said the Glik's store in Fort Dodge stocks an extensive selection of popular brands in a wide array of sizes and attracts a broad mix of customers. She said it is important to have the products people want, but it is also crucial to provide top-notch service.
"We have the best customer service in town," Taylor said. "We will help you head to toe to get what you want, make you feel comfortable. We have a wide variety of items to offer a person."
She also said shoppers on a budget will find that Glik's has many bargains.
"We constantly have different promotions going on," Taylor said. "They start on a Monday and run through a Sunday. That's part of being trendy - getting rid of the old and in with the new and constantly moving the inventory through the stores. ... Our freight is constantly coming in weekly and our sales - our promotions - change weekly."
She stressed that one reason the store attracts many repeat customers is that the merchandise selection is constantly being refreshed with exciting new options.
"We're on top of it," Taylor said. "Our inventory does change over very quickly."
Meet the manager
Taylor, who graduated from Fort Dodge Senior High in 1991, is a Fort Dodge native.
"I've been in retail management my whole life," she said. "My No. 1 thing is definitely interacting with the customers. Getting to know them personally. Helping them out. One on one."
Glik's is open the normal Crossroads Mall hours - Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday noon to 6 p.m. It has a staff that normally numbers about seven people, most of whom work part time, Taylor said.