In 1914, McAllister & Howard Clothiers was established at 235 Victoria Street. The men’s boutique store is infused with a history of Italian immigration and neighbourhood relationships. Over a century later, the boutique men’s store stands between a bustling coffee shop and shoe store.
Owner David Fuoco humbly shares his family’s connection to the men’s store. “My grandfather [Ray Fuoco] bought it from McAllister and Howard, years later my dad bought it from him…and I bought it from my dad.” A Kamloops local, David spent many afternoons working for his grandfather at his bookstore, Book 221, or doing homework in the basement at McAllister & Howard. He laughs, “I think my first paycheque was $14 and it was around $1 per hour so that was fun.”
David adds, “I’m very fortunate to the people before me, of everything they’ve done. My grandfather loved downtown. He would throw 200 Block parties. I remember helping him setup bocce in front of the bookstore which people would play for 3 months in the summer. He’d have a barbeque out and would roast chestnuts during the Santa Claus Parade. He would sit down and just talk to strangers, ask them where they’re from, and promote Kamloops. He’d go, “if you don’t live here, move here!”. When you come across those people, it’s amazing. It’s amazing to see the passion and we hope to live up to that.” In recent years, the City of Kamloops gave the 200 block of Victoria Street the designation of Ray Fuoco Block to honor Ray Fuoco’s community contributions.
In 2008, David bought McAllister & Howard from his father, Reg. He adds, “I went through university for engineering design, but realized it wasn’t what I wanted. I went back to university and pursued a Bachelor of Business Administration degree. At the same time I got more involved here at the store and really enjoyed it. I’m not sociable so being in front of people all day was a challenge, but quite fun.”
Today, McAllister & Howard carries brands such as PULLIN, Victorinox, and Tommy Bahamas. David and his team emphasize customer service and quality above everything else.David admits, “I’m shy, quiet and reserved, but I use clothing to fix that. Clothing doesn’t have to be the most expensive but if it fits properly and you look good in it, you’re going to feel good throughout the day. It gives you that self pride. Watching guys realize that and rediscover their confidence is a lot of fun.”
David’s kind demeanor and stylish inventory is a unique find in Kamloops. We look forward to not only watching David carry on his family’s legacy, but personalizing his storefront at 235 Victoria Street!