Video by Zoe Meyer & Rachel. Written by Ian Bauer & Zoe Meyer
Years before Will Brideau was the owner of Jackson & Connor, he used to spend his lunch breaks window shopping at the men's clothing store on the second floor of Thornes Market.
"I would take a break and just come in here and look at all the beautiful stuff and all the things I could never afford," Brideau remembers.
Originally from Rochester, New York, Will came to the Pioneer Valley in 2004 as a student of Hampshire College and stayed in the area after graduating in 2008.
In 2010 he was laid off from his job, but that didn't stop him regularly visiting Jackson & Connor. He continued to spend time there, offering to work at the store part-time.
"I begged my way into this job," Brideau says.
Finally in November of 2010, owners Tara Brewster and Candice Connors offered Will a part-time job, making him Jackson & Connor's first employee.
"It was only a day or two before I got bit with the bug. I saw this really spectacular black three piece suit and said 'I want to look like that.'"
Will worked closely with the owners for three years, and became owner in November of 2013.
"It's a lot more than just taking on a really big job, it does tend to consume your entire life in a lot of ways that I wasn't really aware of when I got into it," Brideau says with a smile, talking about the responsibilities of taking over a local business. In the end, though, he adds genuinely, "I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world."