Walk into any random building on King Street and you’re bound to find an upscale store that people from all over the country visit for clothing and accessories. But you’ll need to have a little luck if you’re going to find a store as special as Grady Ervin & Co.
From the large storefront display windows to the shelves and racks of clothing to the spacious fitting room at the top of a winding staircase, Chip Ervin and his staff have taken great pains to create a relaxed and pleasant experience for anyone looking for the best men’s outerwear and outdoor accessories to be found in the Lowcountry.
In fact, Grady Ervin feels almost like a social club, where guys are welcome to stop in on a Saturday afternoon to catch some of the football games while they browse stacks of shirts, sweaters and pants that work just as well for a mild autumn day on the peninsula as for quail or dove hunting in the country. And it’s been that way since Ervin opened the store in the mid-1990s.
“We like to say that we offer the best of Charleston for gentleman’s clothing with the comfort of our old-world service,” says Ervin. “We want to make a connection with each customer and form a relationship with them so they will always think of us when they need a new shooting jacket or a new pocket knife. And the best way to do that is to make their experience enjoyable and memorable.”
Many of Ervin’s staff have worked for him for years—even decades—so giving customers a great, pleasurable experience comes naturally to them. As a result, Ervin’s customer base includes local and seasonal residents as well as those who pass through the area once in a while but make it a point to stop in.
Grady Ervin carries an extensive collection of European and American brands, all housed in an 1812 building that was presented with the first Carolopolis Preservation Award in 1953. The showroom evokes warmth and comfort.
Grady Ervin doesn’t carry firearms, but it does stock brands of clothing favored by the hunting set, such Beretta, Dubarry of Ireland, Holland & Holland and Alan Paine, a well-respected “birding” brand. Grady Ervin also stocks popular items from Peter Millar, Polo, johnnie-O, Hickey Freeman, Oxxford Clothes, Southwick and Samuelsohn.
Customers will also find brands that exhibit the store’s passion for the style and craftsmanship of the Lowcountry —companies such as Brackish Original Feather Bow Ties, Free Fly Apparel, HookNHide and J. Stark, all based in Charleston.
Grady Ervin is not only about outdoor brands and fashions; it’s also a great place for formalwear. The upstairs fitting room is as spacious as the rest of the store, a place where staff and customers can relax and get down to the business of finding the perfect fit for jackets, blazers, pants and wedding suits. In fact, Grady Ervin specializes in made-to-measure clothing and is one of the few Charleston stores that offers in-house tailoring. The measuring process is short and easy, usually lasting no more than 20 minutes.
“We take pride in our made-to-measure clothing,” says Ervin. “While most of the work is done at the manufacturer, we can tweak shirts, pants and jackets and fine-tune them for a custom fit.”
Ervin and his staff are excited about their new partnership with Lucchese, a Texas company that specializes in handcrafted cowboy boots. Ervin sees that after a downturn in the popularity of cowboy boots, the style is making a comeback, and he wants his store to be a part of that renaissance.
Grady Ervin offers online shopping at gradyervin.com and social media updates on Facebook and Instagram.
M. Luke Yoder is a freelance writer based in Charleston. Learn more at facebook.com/mlukeyoder.