“06880” Podcast: Bill Mitchell

More than 90% of family-owned businesses never make it to the 3rd generation.

Mitchells is headed to its 4th.

That’s no accident. Two of the keys to the steady growth, continued success — and future — of the men’s clothing store founded in 1958 by Ed and Norma Mitchell (which now includes women’s wear, and other locations on both coasts) are the founders’ sons, Bill and Jack Mitchell.

The other day, Bill — a 1962 Staples High School graduate, and still a proud Westporter — sat down for the latest “06880” podcast.

The clothier/civic volunteer/philanthropist/all-around good guy describes the 6-decade back story of Mitchell’s. He talks about Westport, then and now. He looks at the current state of retailing here, and its future.

And he does it all with his typical self-deprecating wit, intriguing stories and great enthusiasm.

Click below to hear the newest “06880” podcast. You’ll learn — and laugh — a lot.


11 responses to ““06880” Podcast: Bill Mitchell

  1. I enjoyed watching that. Thank you Bill and Dan. Happy Thanksgiving to you both.

  2. joyce hergenhan

    Loved the Bill Mitchell podcast. Great job by both of you.

  3. Eric William Buchroeder SHS '70

    Dan, I always thought Bill was SHS ’61 same class as my stepsister Pat. Brother Jack was SHS ’60 as I recall. Bought my first sport coat from father Ed while my mother chatted with Norma.


  5. About 25 years ago, I had a part-time job at Mitchell’s. Bill was the warmest person you could imagine. He treated everyone on the staff kindly and with humor. I wish everyone was like him.

  6. Dale Eyerly Colson

    I have such fond memories of the days when Mitchell’s and Travelstar were neighbors and buddies in Colonial Green, along with Muriel’s and Colonial Druggist. Those were the days, my friend.
    Dale Eyerly Colson

  7. Great to hear from Bill Mitchell. Two reminiscences: Back in the day, the Staples Orphenians sang in navy blue blazers with custom “Orphenians” pocket patches, white (or later, in a “radical” change, blue) button-down shirts), and grey slacks or skirts. The blazers, shirts, ties, and patches all came from Mitchell’s, at cost. And, when your high-school singing days were over, you could take the blazer back to the store and they would swap a plain navy pocket patch for the embroidered one, of course, for no charge.

    When I went away to college, I took with me a dozen or so “permanent press” dress shirts, purchased, of course, at Mitchell’s. One of them was somehow defective, and came out of the dryer a wrinkled mess. I took it back to the store, and Bill was suspicious that I didn’t really know how these things worked — that I was supposed to take them out of the drier while they were tumbling, one by one, and hang them on a hanger to cool, wrinkle free. I assured him I knew what I was doing. So Bill and I made a deal — he would take the shirt home with him and ask his wife to wash and dry it and see for himself. The next week I stopped back at the store, and he gave me a hearty wave, a big apology, and, of course, asked me to take a new shirt in exchange.

    Scott Brodie

  8. Carl A. Swanson

    Super podcast. I worked at “Ed Mitchell’s” when it was in Colonial Green and Bill had just graduated from college and I believe was engaged to marry, circa 1965-6-7 I ended up working there summers and Christmas holidays. Bill let me drive his 1965 Chevy Impala (RED)for business errands and as such, BILL MITCHELL is always the KING of the WORLD.

  9. Michael Elliot

    Bill Mitchell is an extraordinary “sock salesman”. Great visit and thanks Dan for your work in bringing the history of our town to life. Along with his mom and dad, brother Jack the entire Mitchell clan make up the fabric of what makes this town so very special. “Once a customer always a friend!” The Mitchell family has lived that mantra for decades. And as another life long Westporter I cannot thank them enough for all the goodness they have brought to the community.

  10. charles taylor

    Ed and Norma coached my mother on what clothes I should wear to Staples in Fall of 1958. I arrived in Westport from rural W KY in jeans and a white t-shirt ala James Dean!

  11. An incredible Mitchell family and that includes all the Fourth Generation – amazing! Its true – many family companies do not make it to 3rd or 4th generation – but their values, hard work and dedication to the Community and Family Business is a testimony to success. It takes a Village.