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Jack Spade Store: The Cure for Boredom in New Canaan

Damon McCool, out in front of the Jack Spade store he manages at 143 Elm St. in New Canaan.
Damon McCool, out in front of the Jack Spade store he manages at 143 Elm St. in New Canaan.
The most predictable thing you'll find at the Jack Spade store, a men's clothing and accessories shop at 143 Elm St., is something unpredictable.

Go there and you can find "a fine men's suit from a brand in Massachusetts [...] Southwick, that's been around since 1929," said Damon McCool, manager of the store. U.S. presidents have bought clothing from Southwick, he said.

"But we also sell a cool bag that you can write on with chalk," McCool said. "You'll always be surprised, I guess."

Jack Spade also supplies the chalk.

The four-employee store opened last October not far from the corner of Elm and Park streets, downtown. The company was founded by Kate and Andy Spade in their Tribeca loft, with the first sale a supply of bags to a hardware store.

Now Jack Spade is a brand with items in stores like Bloomingdale's, as well as in its own 10 stores in the United States.

You can find utilitarian, urban, functional clothes and accessories there -- along with more whimsical items, including the used books you're invited to borrow from the "Jack Spade Lending Library" as McCool calls the small cart usually parked outside the store.

There's even a dog bowl out front for passing-by pets (although the staff at Sara Campbell, the women's store next door, will tell you their dog bowl was out first).

Jack Spade stores particularly target men in creative fields like architecture, teaching, engineering and art, McCool said. "We call them the creative class." But no one's going to ask you for your business card.

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