Crimson plush carpet caressed my Red Wing soles as I stepped inside Pal’s Apparel.
This newly minted menswear store on 2nd Street is cemented between the epicenter of Pennsylvania power and forgotten nights downtown. Skyline gray walls, alabaster trim and rich burgundy leather accents invoke a stark—not sterile—sublime. Pal’s, like contemporary Harrisburg, is a story of hopeful vision.
Mohammed Rammouni sells you on his easy stature and smile before his clothes. The 28-year-old shop owner likes to go by “Moe.” His colloquy is calming; his story is inspiring. It’s hard not to root for the guy.
Moe’s entrepreneurial spirit intersects with his love for the capital city.
The CD East grad helped his family run a mini-mart on Derry Street for several years. Once they sold the market, he worked in retail at the Harrisburg Mall. This is where he fell for helping the style-less feel stylish.
“It always stuck with me,” he said. “When they loved that outfit just as much as you did—it was a great experience.”
Moe left high-styling for ground flooring when his family opened up Big Bob’s outlet. Sure, he can wax about wood grain and tile, but his passion lies within denim and cotton. Moe remains a manager at the flooring outlet, helps his brother flip rentals, and also runs Pal’s. Hustle.
Moe said his friends would often travel to Philly, Queens and D.C. to get clothes nowhere to be found in Harrisburg. He saw opportunity.
He traveled to trade shows in Las Vegas and New York as well as spoke with city residents on what they want to wear. Pal’s Apparel proudly opened around Labor Day. Millennium design icons True Religion and Buffalo David Bitton, as well as rare boutique brands like CIVIL and Mondo New York are in the repertoire. Graphic T-shirts, moto jeans, fresh suede boots and edgy leather jackets are just a few pieces currently on hangers.
“Now, you can get New York here,” Moe said.
My question is: Can the Big Apple survive in the Strawberry?
Moe’s T-shirts range from $15 to $40, jeans from $70 to $125, and leather jackets will run you about a buck-fifty. Honestly, that’s a bargain compared to boutiques in bigger cities. Like many things in Harrisburg, it’s not about price but population. Moe has tapped into a niche market he hopes will be a wellspring. I just hope enough street-style savants see eye-to-eye with his vision. Pal’s promise lies within unique trunk shows, DJs spinning after hours, and a willingness to be flexible with market cravings.
Moe styled me in a camo T (CIVIL) and hoodie leather jacket (Buffalo) with distressed moto jeans (RAW-X), boots (Red Wing Heritage Moc Toe) and aviators. I still firmly believe a crisp suit can make you feel sharp. But, man, nothing boosts confidence like wearing attitude. That’s a feeling you can’t put a price on.
Pal’s Apparel is located at 306 N. 2nd St., Harrisburg Moe Rammouni said he soon will offer men’s blazers and button-downs, as well as ladies’ options. For more information, visit www,palsapparelhbg.com or the Facebook page.