Wardecker's Menswear is downtown Carlisle's oldest retail store and offers a snapshot of a time gone by. Unfortunately, Wardecker's closed in October of 2020.
Wardecker's Menswear has seen drastic changes in downtown Carlisle and in men's fashion over its 120 year history. First opened by Mose Blumenthal in 1901, the haberdashery has serviced generations of Carlisle men, including the athletes of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School such as Olympic gold medal winner and Football Hall of Famer, Jim Thorpe. In 1941, when Mose's son went into the Army during WWII, James Wardecker filled his spot working alongside Mose and continued on there after the war. James eventually bought the business in 1964, and his son, current owner Fred Wardecker, started working with his father in 1966.
When Fred Wardecker started working for his dad, Carlisle was in its heydey as a downtown, but it was not to last. Two malls opened in the late 60s to early 70s on either end of town, pulling major stores and customers out of downtown. Through the eventual death of downtown in the late 1980s and eventual resurgence in the early 2000s, Wardecker's has survived, a testament to the determination of its owners to carry on.
Today, Wardecker's stands as the lone menswear store in downtown Carlisle, carrying suits and clothing from Hardwick, Enro, Sarno & Sons, and Palm Beach. They do tuxedo and formalwear rentals and custom tailoring, which Fred completes himself on his grandmother's 1938 Singer sewing machine. Wardecker's is a must-see stop in downtown, as they have an extensive local history collection on display, including many Carlisle Indian School items.
To view an interview with owner Fred Wardecker that served as background for this bio, please go here to visit the Gardner Digital Library.
HOURS Due to the pandemic, please see their facebook page for the most up-to-date hours.