J.S. Iupe’s celebrates 25 years
MADISON — For 75 years the Iupe family name has been synonymous with the clothing business in Madison County and was one of the premier clothing stores in Mississippi.
Joe Iupe has carved out his own part of that legacy with J.S. Iupe’s here at the current location for 15 years. The previous 10 years he was in Ridgeland off Highway 51.
J.S. Iupe’s mostly does team apparel whether it is fan gear for local high schools or uniforms for various youth sports. He said he even does the occasional bachelorette party or family reunion.
“We decorate everything we sell,” Iupe said, distilling his business model to the five-word sentence.
“The business has evolved as I have seen the need to adapt to changes and trends.”
This month, J.S. Iupe’s is celebrating 25 years and has been celebrating with a sale this week.
Iupe said he remembered his parent’s store, Iupe’s on the Square in Canton, doing summer sales and that his 25th anniversary was as good a reason as any to hold one. His parents were Joe and Jeane Iupe. He worked in the store with his siblings Pat, Beth, Linda and Bill.
Iupe said they lived blocks from the store so he spent a lot of time there. His first job when he was 9 or 10 years old was doing odd jobs for his parents. He remembers putting together boxes specifically.
“Everything in the store went out in a box,” Iupe said.
He said even though the products he sells are different from the ones they sold in his parents’ store, the core principles are the same. For example, a specialty in the Men’s Department at Iupe’s Canton was the Hart Schaffner & Marx tailored suits that some of the leading businessmen out of Jackson and elsewhere came to be fitted.
“What we sell is totally different than what my parents did but it still revolves around service,” Iupe said. “We are still taking care of the customer. ‘Service, selection and savings’ was an old slogan of the Canton store that I still think of today.”
The Iupes have been legendary in service for nearly a century.
That face-to-face interaction, Iupe said, quickly turns customers into friends and neighbors. He said he has been in business long enough to supply multiple generations with apparel in some cases.
“Some of the same people that were 6 and 7 and 8 years old when they got their first uniforms are now coming in to buy uniforms for their kids now,” Iupe said. “It's amazing.”
Before the store, Iupe played competitive golf. During his time at Canton High School, the team won two state championships. He would go on to play at Mississippi State where he was a letterman for all four years and graduated in 1979.
From 1979 to 1993 he worked in his parent's store in Canton while pursuing an amateur golf career. During his time playing he picked up several significant wins including a then record-setting five wins at the MPGA Invitational in 1978, 1981, 1982, 1983 and 1986.
Iupe said his golf career was sidelined by an eye condition that has required several surgeries but in 1993 he took a job as General Manager and Director of Golf at Annandale. All in all his career in the sport netted him a Mississippi State Sports Hall of Fame induction in 1989 and a Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame induction in 2005.
He said around the end of his tenure at Annandale in 1998 he opened J.S. Iupe’s, moving a clothing printing business he had started out of his house into his first building on Highway 51. Just a few years earlier his parents closed their store in Canton.
He has been married for 36 years to Sheri, who taught for 22 years at Madison Station. They have three children, Rachel, Joseph and Andrew. He said they have eight grandchildren among them.
“My family has been blessed,” Iupe said. “We have had a number of great employees and it is like extended family.”
Iupe will be 65 in July and he believes he still has a few more years in him. He has been getting back into golf more.
Visit jsiupes.com or stop by 101 Village Boulevard suite D, Highway 51 in Madison.