HAMDEN – A popular men’s clothing store is back.
Hamden businessman Donald J. Camerato has re-opened D’Camm Limited on Whitney Avenue at the corner of Dixwell Avenue.
His new shop, residing in a commercial complex he helped design in the 1980s, offers high quality shirts, ties, suits, custom tailoring, and consulting services. Camerato hopes that his unique wares and attention to detail will draw customers in an age of mass production and online shopping.
Growing up on Bradley Avenue in Hamden, Don Camerato got his start in business in his early 20s. After working retail and acquiring a passion for clothing, he decided to open his own store at 22 years old. He opened his first location in 1964 and named his clothing line D’Camm Limited.
He had his small shop built from the ground up in 1967 and before long, two more locations sprouted- one in Fairfield, and one in the newly developed Hartford Civic Center.
At one point, he was offered the presidency and 40 percent of Kramers Fur, a furriery that did more than $6 million in sales at the time. Despite the lucrative offer, Camarato turned it down, preferring to focus his attention on his own brand. In 1973, he became the youngest president of the Hamden Chamber of Commerce.
While Camerato contemplated what’s next, his marketing manager suggested returning to Hamden. Despite the financial burden that it entailed, Camerato closed his Fairfield and Hartford locations to focus on developing his Hamden store. He had an idea for a “town center” where small, unique businesses would attract customers to a safe shopping environment.
His idea led to the development of Whitney Center. To do that, he purchased 10.5 acres held by 13 different landowners, consolidating them and developing the land. The project, built from 1979-1984, invested more than $40 million to develop the space for small businesses, along with two large office buildings.
Commercial Union Insurance was the first tenant and space in the complex filled up quickly. The space was about 98 percent leased by 1987.
Although Camerato worked hard to make the project a reality, he decided to end his involvement in Whitney Center in 1987, and briefly worked at the firm of the architect hired to construct one of the Whitney Center office buildings.
In 1989, Camerato decided that he needed to refocus his efforts on D’Camm Limited. Over the next decade, he tried a couple different locations throughout Hamden, finally settling on Whitney Avenue, where he had been for the past 16 years. Now, in a humorous twist of fate, he finds himself opening at his new location in Whitney Center- the same plaza he devoted so much time to developing.
His store is located at 2323 Whitney Avenue, behind Mickey’s Restaurant.
Being a native son of Hamden, Camerato believes that the town is a special place that needs to flaunt its assets and better utilize its local talent.
“I want to see the town converse and collaborate with the movers and shakers in the pockets of Hamden” he says. “We should talk about the positives of Hamden- it has a good school system and the services that the taxes provide are great.”
Camerato still believes in selling the hype of Hamden. He believes that the town should work with the business community to provide a unique culture and experience for Hamden residents and customers, and in making people excited about the uniqueness of Hamden and inspiring pride.
“Whether you’re rich, middle class, or poor, everyone should be able to feel pride in where they live,” he said.
To learn more about D’Camm Limited, visit http://www.dcammltd.com.
To contact D’Camm Limited, call (203) 230-9494 or e-mail at email@example.com.