Three years ago, Ryan Meserole opened Suited.co. The small shop offers high-quality, hand-crafted suits. Its Railroad Place location is convenient and — surrounded by neighbors like Indulge by Mersene, Sports Attic and a few restaurants — cool.
But small retailers have a tough time. And Commuter Coffee is just the latest business to announce it may close.
Ryan grew up in the fashion industry. It’s his life’s work. He’s amazed to see so many clothing stores fleeing Main Street.
He firmly believes that customers are here. However, he notes, “They won’t always come to you. Sometimes you have to go out and capture them.”
A couple of months ago — sitting in his shop, wondering why foot traffic has declined — he suddenly realized: People are now dropped off at the station by Uber.
“I can’t expect my window display to get customers in the door — even though I’m always complimented on it,” he says.
“But if I drove for Uber, I’d have my audience. And they’d be attentive.”
It took him just a day to sign up to drive for the service. Almost immediately, he hit the road.
He wakes up at 5 a.m. He drives during rush hour, until 9 a.m. An hour later — the same as always — he opens Suited.co.
At his store, he reviews his passengers’ names and addresses. He sends them a personal note, with a gift card to see him and the shop “after our lovely little chat in the car.”
(It’s quite an incentive: a free custom shirt, or $150 off a Suited.co purchase.)
Bottom line: Ryan’s sales are up nearly 30%. Plus, he says, “I’m being of service to my community. I’m expanding my customer base to Fairfield, Weston and Wilton. And I’m being paid by Uber to do it.
In his long retail marketing career, Ryan says, “this is the only campaign that ever paid me back.”
But he doesn’t need the Uber money. So he donates it to charity — a different organization each month. Most recently, it was the March of Dimes.
You never know who your Uber driver will be. That’s part of the intrigue of the app.
In Ryan Meserole’s case, that seems to suit his — and his driving/custom suit customers — just fine.