Founder, Assembly 88
Santo has owned and managed stores in Allentown since 1999, but he’s a relatively new resident of the Lehigh Valley. It’s been five years since he and and his family moved to Allentown’s West End neighborhood.
Santo is the son of Sicilian immigrants who learned the menswear business on the streets of Reading and Allentown where remaining innovative and knowledgeable about retail trends has helped him succeed.
Located in the heart of downtown Allentown, Assembly 88 is “aimed at the mature male who wants to look smart and confident, whether in a board room or at a ball game.” The retail shop has been voted Best Place to Buy Menswear in the Lehigh Valley for the past two years.
His favorite part about running a business is getting to meet the customers and interact with people, and success to him means being a sustainable part of the community.
“When choosing the products we carry, I really want to make sure everything in here is something that I would want to buy myself. The other important part is their backstories, whether it’s how they run their companies or how they make their product. Is it sustainable? What kind of company are they? Do they give back like Patagonia with the park system or their initiatives around workforce benefits, being environmentally conscious, things like that.”
Santo and his family moved to the Lehigh Valley to be closer to his business. That decision was bolstered by the extra amenities that Lehigh Valley offers, like things to do, cultural amenities, and the restaurant scene. “Nothing against Reading, it’s my hometown, but just stacking them up next to each other Allentown and Lehigh Valley had a lot more to offer us.”
The store is open six days a week, but Sunday is reserved for family time and getting out as much as possible to experience things they can do with their toddler son, whether it’s the parks in Allentown or places like the Lehigh Valley Zoo, Crayola Experience, and Dorney Park.
Live like a local:
Favorite place to eat: Tacos & Tequila (Allentown)
Favorite date night spot: Youell’s Oyster House
Allentown’s hidden gems: America on Wheels, Mack Truck Museum, and the Liberty Bell Museum
Favorite outdoor activity: Hanging in the parks with his family, including Cedar Beach and Trexler Park