FARGO—A uniform shop's recent big move to south Fargo wasn't all that recent—it's been in the works for two years.
White Banner Uniforms has had a notable presence downtown since 1980 when Eleanor English, who purchased the business from a family friend in 1961, moved the store to its 8,000-square-foot spot at 228 Broadway N.
Accented with an eye-catching retro sign, the downtown store closed for good Friday, Aug. 25. Mary English Luistro, who bought the business from her mother in the early 2000s and bought the downtown building in 2013, said the property is now up for sale.
But that closing wasn't the end of the company that's been in business since the 1940s. Instead, she said it was a calculated strategy to move to a convenient spot to serve the medical professionals, college students, restaurant employees, public safety figures and industrial workers who buy its products.
White Banner opened its south Fargo location, 5675 26th Ave. S., in early June 2015. Its retail footprint there is much smaller than downtown, clocking in at about 2,100 square feet in a leased unit at The Galleria along Veterans Boulevard.
English Luistro said she and her husband, Allan Luistro, who co-owns the business, knew a couple years ago that they'd want to consolidate to that south store eventually, especially as work progressed to build Sanford Medical Center, 5225 23rd Ave. S. The new hospital opened a few blocks away in July.
It's also close to the interstate and boasts plenty of parking, things that she said help White Banner help its regional customers.
"Strategically it was a very significant business move for us because it helped us serve our clients, and we can only be successful if we serve our clients," she said.
Like other businesses operating for more than 70 years, White Banner Uniforms has gone through plenty of changes.
Eleanor English said her store was at West Acres Shopping Center for a while, then moved to the plaza near T.J. Maxx, 4340 13th Ave. S., before she relocated to downtown in 1980 when she purchased the home of former men's clothing store Fargo Toggery.
The brand also opened its second store in 1981, setting up shop in Grand Forks.
"It's just evolved and gone with the flow, so to speak," English said. "That's what you have to do."
White Banner's latest change leaves it with two stores, one each in Fargo and Grand Forks, that English Luistro said draw customers from eastern North Dakota and western Minnesota. The company's reach also continues to grow through its website, she said.
She said the business has kept up with advancements in the uniforms it sells. That includes pants, jackets and shirts made with Certainty fabric that look modern and stylish but also offer antimicrobial protection because of silver that's in the material.
"Brains and beauty," she said about the requirements for uniforms in modern times.
English Luistro said she hopes another business can buy the brand's downtown building and serve its customers with something new. While she'll miss that location, she said White Banner Uniforms has found its home along Veterans Boulevard.
"We couldn't ask for a nicer neighborhood," she said.
What: White Banner Uniforms
Where: 5675 26th Ave. S., Fargo
Hours: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday
Phone: (701) 532-1085