Small local business reflects on half a century of success

Emme Herrle, The Yellow Jacket

With its trademark location and striped awning, Mickey’s Mens Store stands on the corner of N. Washington Street and E. High Street in Waynesburg. Within the walls of the roughly 3,000 square foot, two-story building is a family that has dedicated their lives to the business’ prosperity and history of serving the community for just over 50 years. 

“I want to keep the business going for my father for as long as I can,” said Victoria Bruno, owner of Mickey’s Men’s Store and daughter of its original owner.

Mickey Bruno founded the business in 1967 after an almost 20-year career in retail. He worked for Carl Spragg and Calvin Heasley selling men’s dress and casual wear for a business that he would one day adopt as his own. 

“He was very well known, very well-liked, a good family man and put four kids through college debt free,” Bruno said. 

Bruno, along with her brother John, had been running the store since Mickey’s death in 2004.

John Bruno retired about three years ago. Since then, Victoria Bruno has been running the business largely just by pen and paper with the help of some family and close friends. The store now sells mostly work clothing for men, but also carries women’s clothing, some casual wear and a large selection of boots. Many know them as “the Carhart store.”

Carhart is one of their largest selling brands and is a popular pick of the local workers for the oil and gas company that rely on Mickey’s Mens Store for much of their work attire. 

“This is Carhart country,” Victoria Bruno said.

Over the course of the past five or six years, Victoria Bruno said their business has practically tripled due to business from the oil and gas company.

“There’s not a day we don’t see a new face come through the doors,” she said.

Mickey Bruno surely established a well-reputed name for the business, but much of their success over the past half-century can be contributed to their ability to tailor to their consumer market. 

“We have the product that the people at a present time and present place need,” Victoria Bruno said. “And there have been times when the business has been slow, but you have to take the good with the bad. You have to know when to cut back and when to stock up.”

Several small family businesses have found it hard to start up a location in Waynesburg or Greene County, but Mickey’s has flourished by supplying the community with what they need and for the lowest prices possible.

However, Bruno is still uncertain of the future of the business. She has many nieces and nephews, but no particular family member in mind to pass the business down to upon her retirement. If she doesn’t hand the business off to the next generation, she said she would rather close it than sell it. She hopes to honor her father by closing it and ending its lifetime within the operation of the Bruno family.

“I do things the way my dad would want me to do it,” she said.