A longtime Burlingame Avenue businessman is getting ready for a slew of changes this new year.
In 2014, Sam Malouf, owner of Sam Malouf’s luxury menswear store on Burlingame Avenue plans to open a women’s boutique, bring some of his clothing sales online and sell his brand of knits to other retail stores.
Malouf, who hails from Lubbock, Texas, has retail sales in his blood. The fourth of eight children, he has various other siblings who own retail stores and his father runs his own clothing businesses. The Malouf family currently owns five different businesses across the country. He himself is married now and has three children of his own.
“I grew up with business,” he said. “I liked photography, painting, loved art, aesthetics and clothing. I had an actual passion.”
In 1991, he purchased the store Robert W. Gates eight doors down from his current location and opened the clothing store Malouf’s. He transitioned to Sam Malouf’s about three years ago. He said he enjoys that his block of the street has more independent stores, as opposed to the other parts, which are mostly chains now.
“Having a mix of independent and chain stores is better,” he said. “Every dollar you spend in the community keeps 65 cents in the community.”
The store is Neapolitan themed and focuses on a polished and casual look, Malouf said. Items for sale include shoes, accessories, jackets, pants and ties from brands such as Ermenegildo Zegna, Kiton, Loro Piana and Brunello Cucinelli.
“It matches with the Bay Area,” he said.
He took a break in between his current business and old one to spend time with family, he said. The new store has been a success for him, he said, and he travels to New York and Italy to look at new products.
“We’ve seen a 10 percent increase in sales every year,” he said. “The products are all good quality and this store is more focused on authentic craftsmanship.”
Malouf is also looking forward to the beautification of Burlingame Avenue through the streetscape project, which will shut down his block of the street starting this month.
“I’m excited about Burlingame Avenue getting a remodel,” said Malouf, who lives in San Mateo. “It’s a project that’s been in the making for 18 years.”
Malouf actually presented the idea for the revamp to the Burlingame City Council himself after he moved to the Bay Area, noticing the street seemed outdated. With the necessity of replacing the sewer lateral system, the plan finally came into place. He does worry a bit about the project’s impact on traffic.
“I saw a wonderful little avenue,” he said. “Now I see improvements that create a feeling of a boulevard over an avenue.”
He puts in about 60 hours a week to the job and said those interested in entrepreneurship should embrace mentors. For him, living in a family of businesspeople, he ended up learning by osmosis while working as a young boy during junior high school and high school.
“You have to put your heart and soul into it,” said Malouf, who is now in his mid-50s. “It’s good if you want to control your own destiny.”
Will his daughters, ages 2, 8 and 11, follow in his footsteps?
“I don’t want to push them toward it,” he said. “Retail is good for helping you learn to socialize though. Social skills are important in going far in life.”
He also acknowledges his daughters have more opportunities in the Bay Area as opposed to Texas since they’re exposed to more here.
The new women’s boutique will be in Burlingame, but the opening date is still to be announced.
In addition to the clothing, shoe and accessory sales, Sam Malouf’s offers personal shopping, alterations, home delivery and shipping, gift packaging, shoe repair and other services. The 1460 Burlingame Ave. store is open 10:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday and will open on Sundays once the streetscape project is completed on the 1400 block. For more information visit sammalouf.com.
(650) 344-5200 ext. 105