Decades of customer service where the customers are considered a part of the store’s family is a dying breed among retail business.

As the longtime salespeople retire and the generation of corporate-owned businesses take over the market, finding people like Marvin and Pat O’Neill to help with your shopping needs are becoming harder to find.

The O’Neills are retiring from Melvins Menswear after 43 years of service to their customers and the Crossroads.

Melvins was founded by Melvin and Mary Jane Dusek with the goal of treating customers like family. They hired employees who had the same philosophy.

Marvin and Pat say one reason they went to work for Melvins was the business’ family atmosphere.

A big reason why they stayed for so long was the same – their customers became family. In some families, they have served more than two generations.

It is comforting to go into a shop and be greeted by a person who is more than a salesperson but is also a valued friend.

The comfort is extended when that salesperson also knows the style of clothing you prefer and, most importantly, your size.

Those skills go a long way to keep the customer happy and coming back for more clothing. It also cuts out the need for the “let’s guess your size and style preference” routine that many shoppers endure elsewhere.

Customers have fond memories of the O’Neills and other staff for the past decades.

After the O’Neills are retired, Melvins will still have a sales staff who provide the Melvins family-friendly customer service.

We are also confident the store’s owners, Eveline and Kenneth Bethune, will keep the family feel going.

As Pat and Marvin begin their retirement, it will probably be hard for them to see a longtime customer and not be tempted to say, “How can we help you today?” or “You really need to try this new suit; it will look great on you.”

We wish the O’Neills the best retirement as they get to spend more time with their family and grandchildren.

We also thank them for making us a part of their family for more than four decades.

This opinion reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate’s editorial board.

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