History of Hansen's

Ole Hansen
"Ole Hansen started in 1898 as Hansen & Geniesse. Ole bought sole ownership in 1902.
Elmore Hansen
Ole's son Elmore started in 1921 and in 1928 took over from his Dad.
Duane Hansen
Now Duane Hansen, son of Elmore, runs the business, the third generation of Hansen's in Spencer, Iowa"

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Hansen's In The News

10/29/2003
Web Wear

Have you ordered something off the Internet this week? More and more people skip the mall and head online to do their shopping these days. It's forced many retailers to change the way they do business, even the small ones.

That's changing the life of a third-generation clothing store owner in KELOLAND. Robert Talbott clothing is high quality and high priced. It's popular on the coasts. But for years now it's also been available on main street Spencer, Iowa. "People say gosh as old as you are you ought to quit."

Duane Hansen is the third generation of Hansens to run the clothing store. His Grandfather Ole started the business back in 1902. And you take step back in time thirty years when you step into this little shop. "Back then, wearing a suit was big business. Everybody wore a suit up and down street. Businessmen wore a suit to work, " says Hansen.

Back in the 1930's Duane's Dad Ole added on the dry cleaning business and this is where he got his start. "That was before the days of plastic bags. That was my first job to make up a stack of those folding cardboard boxes to get prepared for the weekend," says Hansen. But after working in the store for more than sixty years, Hansen was ready to bring it into the new millennium.

"And I wondered if there was some way I could make the Internet work," Hansen says. "He actually called me one day and said I heard how well you're doing with one of the shoe stores in town and is there any way we could do something here. I said sure," says Tim Frank.

Tim Frank (of Emagine Marketing) puts businesses online. In the first month of Hansen's Clothing Internet store, seven thousand people checked it out. And he's getting 2 to 3 orders a day. "Everyday is a surprise," says Hansen. "I thought to myself if I guy like that is getting on the Internet the world is now in cyberspace," says Frank.

Besides Robert Talbott shirts, Hansen sells the popular Bill's Khakis which start at $100 a pair. "Yesterday I shipped pants to Harvard and Georgetown in Washington. So we've got some upscale intellectuals wearing our pants," says Hansen.

He's taken to mapping out his sales, with the Khakis in the red. "I did sell a lady from St. Louis, she ordered some underwear from Robert Talbott," he laughes. "I put her in as yellow."

Hansen's even got New York beat for one customer calling for a specific tie. "And he said how come you've got it and I called Robert Talbott shop in NY and they don't have it?"

It's those kind of stories that have breathed new life into this old shop and it's tailor. "It's a lot of fun. Gets the old adrenaline going again." Hansen himself is a bit overwhelmed by his overnight success in cyberspace.

"For me to sell a shirt to a man in Brooklyn NY who needed it for Sunday afternoon!" But while Hansen's Clothing online may be high tech, business in the store is still done the old fashioned way. It's a place where trust hasn't been replaced by our need for instant gratification. And where as long as Duane Hansen's around, high quality clothes will be too.

Another thing that sets Hansen apart on the Internet and fuels his sales: free shipping and he tailors the length on his Bill's Khakis free of charge.

Angela Kennecke
© 2003 KELOLAND TV. All Rights Reserved.

Items From the Vault


The gentleman in the hat is Ole Hansen


May, 1912


January, 1913