Zack Graham co-owns and manages the Haberdashery, a men’s clothing store in Forty Fort, which won the Times-Tribune 2018 Readers’ Choice Award for best men’s clothing store and also received the same honor in Electric City’s 2017 Best Of awards. When he is not keeping up on the latest fashion trends, he can be found performing as a solo musician or with his band, the Groove Berries. He is a 2012 graduate of Abington Heights High School and earned a bachelor’s degree in communication and a master’s degree in business management and leadership from Marywood University. He also is employed by Bold Gold Media and lives in Clarks Summit.
Meet Zack Graham…
Q: What is your musical background?
A: I started when I was 7 or 8 years old with guitar. Originally, I didn’t love it and wanted to quit because I thought it was hard. I stuck with guitar and singing. I like to at least have a handle on a bunch of different things. So, I started playing the drums, then keyboard and now I play bass.
Q: Describe your personal musical style.
A: I’ve really gotten into taking covers and revamping them. I try to make things fit me as a musician. Anything melodic is what catches me in songs. Whether it’s on keyboard, guitar or vocals, I’ve always liked that.
Q: The Groove Berries is your most recent project. Describe its style.
A: We’re a fusion mix of jazz, rock, funk and blues. We’re just a group of guys who have been playing together for more than 10 years. It’s myself, Matt Montella and Matt Domenico. We’ve been playing together since Little Matt (as I call him, Matt Domenico) was 12. As the years went on, we stayed really close. One night, we thought we should play it out sometime. We had no idea how it was going to go. We played at a First Friday, and people loved it. We wanted to keep rolling with it. We know each other so well, so our chemistry as musicians is great. We’re all best friends, and we hang out way more than people would think. If I go two days without seeing either one of them, it’s like a reunion when I see them.
Q: Who are your musical inspirations?
A: Led Zepplin for sure, AC/DC, Frank Sinatra and the band Cream. I love them. It’s a trio, and they’re very rock and roll, bluesy, but have that psychedelic twist. They’re really diverse.
Q: What led you to opening the Haberdashery?
A: I started in the radio world in college. I also really liked TV and did Marywood’s TV station. I was the anchor, and I absolutely loved it. I thought I wanted to be on MTV or something goofy, and that was what I was going to pursue. As time went on, it pulled me away from that. I was in grad school, and my (now) business partner was there. I was wearing a suit because I had just come from work. He said he liked my pocket square. I complemented his outfit, because he was and was always well-dressed. We just clicked and became friends. He worked for a clothing store in Dunmore which was closing, but he wanted to open up a men’s clothing store. I always used to look up to designers and people, so it was something I wanted to do. It was just the right time and place.
Q: Where does your interest in upscale clothing come from?
A: I’ve always loved clothing. Anyone from high school or Marywood can probably tell you that you’ll always see me in something that you won’t see anywhere else. At Marywood, I was known as the Yeti. I wore a big fur coat, I carried a cane, and I wore big dressy boots. Years later, there was a page, and it would say “spotted again,” and it was pictures of me, like a Bigfoot sighting. When I was in grade school, I was really anxious and always wanted to fit in. One day in high school, it hit me like a sack of bricks, and I didn’t want to fit in anymore. I decided I’m just going to do my own thing. I didn’t care if people liked it or didn’t like it; I’m just going to be a good person.
Q: Describe some other elements that go into running your business.
A: There’s so much that goes into it. Right now, we do all of our buying in New York City. We go to Fashion Week twice a year. People think it’s just clothes, but there are 600 to 700 or more vendors. You have to look at the cuts, fabrics and swatches then go to showrooms and do the buying. You buy a year in advance, so in January of 2019, I’ll be buying for January 2020. I see the trends before they’re out, but my business partner and I have to be smart enough to predict what people are going to buy in a year. In showrooms, they give you Champagne and show you swatch books; it’s very elegant. It’s very rigorous, but it’s amazing.
Q: What other hobbies or interests do you have?
A: I am a Freemason member of Lodge 597. We get together for meetings once a month and plan charity events. It’s a great organization that not a lot of people know much about. I’m also a part of the Wilkes-Barre Power Group. It’s young professionals getting together to talk business and network. I love the gym and working out. I also enjoy just walking. I used to always need to be around people, but now in my free time, I like to decompress and go on walks. And, of course, music is a hobby. I always look forward to shows. I also love Netflix, TV and the show “Friends.” I love watches, I collect them, and I love cars, but I can’t afford to collect them. I love spending time with family too.
Q: Have you had a moment or time in your life that helped shape who you are today?
A: I’m very close with my family. We’re all very Italian, and in the Italian family structure, the maternal figure is everything. What my grandma says is gold. I have so many conversations with her, and I noticed that a lot of her conversations start with, “We almost did this, but we didn’t, and I wish we did.” I realized I don’t ever want to regret anything. I’m just going to go for it.
Photos by Emma Black