Father-Son Duo Stir Up Style

It’s a letdown that a majority of men have faced far too many times. They walk into a dull department store only to find the same repetitive and drab pieces in the men’s section. That turns the shopping experience into another snoozefest. But after a quarter-century in the men’s apparel business, father and son duo Michael and Darren Apel still know how to stir up style.

“I’ve been in the men’s business for almost 60 years,” said Michael Apel. “57 years to be exact. Darren has extended the business. I was more street-smart and he [Darren] was more book-smart and that’s a good combination for running and owning a business like Marcello Sport.”

After learning the ins and outs of the clothing profession, the now 78-year-old took the knowledge from his previous job and learned what it takes to create a successful business. Starting in Italy primarily making high-end knit-wear sweaters, Michael Apel worked as a representative for other luxury companies. He stayed in the sweater business shipping throughout the United States for 10 years. And after sportswear gained popularity, he decided to get into it and expand his collection.

Eight years ago, the Apels took over two Florida stores in Sarasota and Fort Lauderdale and re-branded them as ‘Marcello Sport’ — in addition to their flagship location in Boca Raton, and a store in Weston, Fla., which operates under the Fiorelli name.

85 percent of the product is produced by them, mostly in Turkey. Even though Boca is the smallest of the stores, it does the most volume and is closest to their warehouse. Michael and Darren Apel also plan on opening a new store in Palm Beach Gardens this September.

“We’re a wholesale collection selling to all better specialty stores throughout the U.S. in Canada and Mexico,” said Michael Apel. “That gives us a total of four stores and we’ve grown into a full collection.”

Marcello Sport offers an assortment of men’s apparel in classic, modern, and slim fits such as polos, sweaters, dress shirts, jeans, and more. Their products are uniquely designed with attention to specific details to enhance someone’s image. For instance, Marcello’s woven sports shirts offer exclusive styling and feature cotton fabrications with enhanced detailing like hand-selected buttons and contrast stitch detailing. Select styles are available in classic fit or a modern slim fit. For his company’s longevity, Michael credits his son Darren who has been working with his father for over 20 years, and the 53-year-old also has an MBA in Finance.

“Aside from being wholesalers and being retailers we operate a national catalog and we make goods for other people as a private label made manufacturers,” said Michael Apel. “A lot of diversification that fashion concepts have been under the hand of Darren. He expanded the business and he essentially runs it today.”

Darren Apel has also taken the Marcello collection for showings in Dallas, Newport Beach, and Chicago. “I am in the office every day,” said Michael Apel. “We have reps in those areas that we have to get sample lines to and the shows that he does, I used to do. It’s a great change.”

Empty malls, canceled orders, the risks of bankruptcy, and the change of department stores have been a hit to the behemoths of the retail world. At the beginning of Marcello’s existence, they did business with Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus. However, Michael Apel hasn’t had any interest in partnering with any department stores for ‘Marcello Sport’ clothing. “Our best interest is continuing to sell all across the country at the stores we’ve opened up ourselves and offering variety.”

Marcello Sport also offers a variety of belts, wallets, and even cologne. Some of their current popular items include their category of short/long sleeve sport shirts, short sleeve knit-wear, and the launch of their own dress shirt collection that comes out of Europe.

They’ve also launched hand-painted woven shirts and sneakers, selling several thousand units, all done by an artist from Colombia. “The artist hand-paints abstract paint work and over the past two years — we not only sell them in the store but also in our catalog,” said Michael Apel. “Every shirt is slightly different and it’s all hand-painted. We’ve literally sold thousands of those shirts and it’s something that’s exclusive to us.”

As far as the future goes for Marcello Sport: “I think we’ll be able to continue opening some specialty stores and we’d like to operate maybe ten stores throughout the state,” said Michael Apel. “By offering an overall collection and experience that has variety, we’ll only get bigger and better. It’s a lot of work but Darren and I are up for the task.”


Marcello Sport
marcellosport.com

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