Open Today, Sun, Jul 21 12:00pm - 5:00pm

Regular Hours

Mon
10:00am - 6:00pm
Tue
10:00am - 6:00pm
Wed
10:00am - 6:00pm
Thu
10:00am - 6:00pm
Fri
10:00am - 8:00pm
Sat
10:00am - 8:00pm
Sun
12:00pm - 5:00pm

An interview with Will Brideau

We had a chance to sit down with the owner of Jackson & Connor, Will Brideau, to talk about his journey from employee to owner, being part of the Thornes community, and what trends currently excite him — stepping out of your comfort zone in bold summer fashion.

Could you give us a little history about Jackson & Connor and your perspective as a business owner?

Sure! I started working at Jackson & Connor in 2010, when Tara Brewster and Candice Connor owned the store. I really loved working there, so in 2013, when Tara and Candice sat me down on the back couch and told me they were planning to close, it was tough news to hear. That’s when we started a conversation about how I could buy the store from them and take it over. I honestly had no idea how to run a business at that time, and wasn’t sure how I’d find the money. They said they could work out a deal for me to take over, which would involve Tara training me for about 6-8 months until I felt ready to be on my own.

I learned how to buy for the store, curate collections, and manage a team. I also got to add my own spice to things, purchasing some things that perhaps we would not have brought in before. It really felt like the right place, right time, and right opportunity, and it has been an incredibly rewarding experience. I’ve had an array of jobs over the years, from line cook to making chocolates to cleaning curtains, but selling clothes to people who really want to look great has been the most fun and fulfilling job so far.

When people emerge from the dressing room,  look at themselves in the mirror, and say, “I never thought I could look this good”, that’s what I live for. That moment of joy is truly moving and meaningful—it’s amazing to witness that transformation. We also work hard to make this a safe, comfortable space for everyone. We want people to know they are respected and accepted here, no matter how they identify or what they are shopping for. Some customers haven’t worn a suit for years—or perhaps never—and we’re here to make the process as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. I really believe that if you feel passionate about your work, that enthusiasm translates to your customers and they will have a better experience and be apt to return.

 

What are your favorite things about owning a business in Thornes?

Thornes is the unofficial flagship of Northampton with incredible offerings and a real community of different people who work here. We are truly like a little family, supporting each other, checking in, and shopping at each other’s businesses. Many of us are long-timers here and have been in the trenches together at various times, especially over the past several years. Having this type of community and support in such a well-known mainstay building in Northampton is pretty incredible and unique.

What is something exciting/new you have coming up at the store?

I’m always excited about the summer—we get some beautiful stuff in. I love fall and winter for fabrics and darker colors, but spring and summer are fun because we deal with a lot of brighter colors and funkier prints.  We encourage people who might not normally wear short sleeves with wild colors and prints to splash out and have some fun. Sometimes, the most normally conservative dressers will try on a vibrant shirt and realize that they actually look great in it! We definitely encourage customers to broaden their horizons, but in a gentle and understanding manner. Ultimately, we want people to feel their best in whatever they choose, and hopefully find pieces they will want to wear over and over again.

This job keeps you humble and always learning. I really appreciate feedback from customers, both the compliments and the constructive criticism. That type of input keeps me on my toes and ever-evolving as a business owner.

 

 

Any fun facts about yourself you’d like to share?

Sure! When I’m not at Jackson & Connor, you can find me hosting a radio show at WRSI, which I really enjoy. I’ve also been playing harmonica in Bo and Janny Henderson’s group, The Hendersons Blues Band, for a few years now.