96 years ago, Sara and Henry Landau opened the doors to Landau’s, a clothing store. Today, their grandsons Robert and Henry Landau are the third generation owners of the store that now specializes in woolen apparel.
“The business has always been based on the premise that you want to offer people things they want to buy, but it’s also easier to sell them when other places don’t have them,” co-owner Robert Landau said. “For a business to survive today, you have to do things differently than everybody else.”
The bulk of the store’s merchandise is imported from Europe, such as Austria, Germany and Ireland. Many of the products are made of wool, but other items are offered as well.
“We pick areas that we think have merit, and we concentrate on them,” Landau said. “We don’t think we represent everything to everybody.”
One hard-to-find item the store specializes in is its Austrian loden coat, a high-quality product, but one that’s lightly distributed because of its high cost, Landau said. At Landau’s, the price of a loden coat ranges from $695 to $1,495.
The owner also said the company is very sensitive to the needs of the customer in both quality and pricing.
Landau said he has customers from all kinds of different backgrounds and nationalities that seek out the store for the loden coats.
“We still care about quality, and we still care about price. So we have to juggle those two things and make sure we get the quality at prices that people are willing to pay,” he said.
Landau said he didn’t think his business could survive any place other than Princeton.
“What’s unique about Princeton is the mix of people who are here on a daily basis are from all over the world,” Landau said. “So on a weekend, if you were to stand at the door and ask each person who comes in what their country of origin is, I bet you would have 100 different countries.”
And if someone calls from California and wants a coat delivered the next morning, the coat will be there the next morning—and Landau said that’s a situation that’s happened before.
Since first opening their store, the Landau family has taken pride in being first to market with products that proved to be in demand. When the store originally opened in Jersey City, Landau sold overalls to workers during the construction of the Holland Tunnel. After the store moved to Princeton, it featured blue jeans before they were worn anywhere else other than on the ranch.
“We sell things that, if you buy it today, it will be current; if you wear it 10 years from now, it will be current,” Landau said. “We try to sell timeless things that have more value because it’s not a one-season thing.”
Once a Princeton resident himself, Robert Landau currently lives in Baltimore. Landau is located at 102 Nassau St. in Princeton. Store hours are Monday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Sundays from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.