On Time Fashions celebrates 40 years

Published 9:48 am Thursday, April 7, 2016

A local clothing store is marking 40 years in downtown Vicksburg with memories and gratitude.

Mary Rantisi and her husband Elias opened On Time Fashions at 1411 Washington St. four decades ago.

“We had it from the beginning, and he passed away three years ago,” Rantisi said.

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When her husband died, Rantisi planned to close the store and retire, but a few loyal customers changed her mind by asking her to stay open. This is her third year at helm of the store.

“It’s happy and sad,” Rantisi said. “I’m keeping the legacy going.”

On Time Fashions is a men’s clothing store with tuxedos, shoes, cologne, hats, suits and other clothing items. The store is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

“It’s an honor for me to be here 40 years,” Rantisi said. “I love this business.”

Rantisi enjoys outfitting groups, like wedding parties and church choirs. One of the couples in a recent weddings she did asked her to dress the men in peacock colors, and she picked out ivory suits with purple, lime and aqua ascents for the men.

“It was the highlight of my three years of having it on my own,” Rantisi said. “They looked so good. I even went to the wedding. I really enjoyed it.”

She said her biggest business competition is people shopping on the Internet. To compete, Rantisi orders items specially for customers from catalogues, even women’s clothes now. She also offers complimentary hemming.

“I show my customers what I can bring here for them, and they order according to what they like,” Rantisi said.

She genuinely finds enjoyment in her job and getting to know her customers by name. Rantisi said she owes everything to the people of Vicksburg who have been wonderful to her and told her not to worry after her husband died.

“I can’t tell you how much I love my customers,” Rantisit said.

There is never a dull moment at the store, she said, and there are no strangers either.

“When they come here they are not just customers,” Rantisi said. “They are one big family.”

She said people walk in all the time just to say hello and grab a piece of candy. It’s even become a meeting place for people. Customer support is why she is still open today and has no plans to close.

“I just don’t see myself closing this place because I live for this place,” Rantisi said.

The Rantisi’s opened the store as a family business. She said her father also had a retail store, and when the couple got married they chose to start a business of their own. Her husband was very fond of the store.

“He loved this store,” Rantisi said. “The store was his life. I’m just happy that I’m able to carry on and do the stuff that he did.”