We love that you want to know more, who we are, the story behind "John's" and each of us behind the scenes..
John's has been a locally & family owned business in Barrhead, AB for over 60 years! We strive for excellent customer service & community feel and want to share that small town shopping experience with the world... all of YOU!
With that said lets start with the man that started it all, over 60 years ago.. John R. Litke
John R. Litke (September 17,1926-May 24, 2019)
John was born and raised in Hanna, AB. Like most people living through the great depression on the prairies, John was greatly influenced by these difficult times and hardship, developing a thirst for success, a tremendous work ethic and great resiliency. As a young man, John moved to Calgary to begin to seek his way in the world. He enjoyed his time in Calgary during the post world war II boom, working for a prominent clothier downtown where he met and married a young bank teller Wanda Kirkham.
Opportunity called from Robinson, Little and Company to move up to Grande Prairie, AB to service the area as a dry goods salesman for the booming Peace River area. John fondly remembered the small towns, dusty roads and colourful characters of the mighty peace.
As much as John loved working on the road, John and his young family sought more permanence, and in 1957 John and his partners bought a men's wear store in Barrhead, AB from a local businessman Frie Bredo. The renamed store "John's Mens Wear" quickly became an integral part of the Barrhead business community, and it remains so today under the direction of John's daughter and son in-law Heather & Karl Baker.
At the helm of his own business for the first time, John put into effect the lessons he learned both from the clothing business in the competitive downtown Calgary market and from his travels throughout the Peace County to create a special kind of store.
Over the years, John's Men’s Wear developed its excellent service, but also for it being a social hub for lively conversations about sports, politics, business, farming and current events. John was an avid promoter of the Barrhead community, particularly in areas of sports and business. He was involved in the creation of the Barrhead Jr. Elks hockey club and sponsored the Barrhead Blue Jays for a few years as well as many minor sports teams. In the community, he volunteered for many projects as a member of kinsmen and K 40's. He also was highly engaged in the progressive conservative party for the Barrhead constituency. In addition he was the chairmen of the Barrhead Police commission for a number of year and was quick to volunteer for ad hoc committees that helped host events or complete projects for the town of Barrhead.
John's connections and sense of citizenship also took him outside town affairs. Provincially, he sat on Board of Directors for Alberta Terminals LTD, and nationally he became the President of the Retail Merchants Association of Canada. He was also appointed to a Federal department of Industry, Trade and Commerce committee as an advisor on textile and clothing, the first time anyone from the small business sector had been approved.
Over the last few years as the owner of John's Menswear, unfortunately were tough for John with detorating health and age not only himself but his wife Wanda as well. This ended travel, much of his ability to connect with the community, and the formally known "John's Mens Wear" was purchased in the mid 2000's by his daughter & son in law. Recently re-named John's after the man who started it all, whom left this world with his customary grace in the community that he embraced and served. His legacy will forever live on.
Karl & Heather Baker (Current owners of John's)
I'm Heather, daughter of John Litke. This store has always been a big part of my life growing up and even now as I have my own career and still enjoy being involved with the store as much as possible. I love visiting and assisting everyone that comes in while I am there!
Hey everyone, I’m Karl, husband and part owner of Johns. I love sports and have been involved with sports as long as I can remember. Clothing and fashion have always been a passion of mine, as fate would have it, I married into a family who owned a Men's wear store.
Around the age of 25, I made a career change and joined John's, not then knowing how working for my father in-law would pan out. Thankfully, John was very patient. In 2003 ( 15 years later), my wife and I bought the store. John suffered a heart attack and his doctor told him he needed to get rid of stress, it was either the store or his wife... so he sold the store. This is what he told everyone that asked why he was quitting. In those 15 years I worked along side of him, he taught me the importance of service, quality and value. Things that were important in 1957 and still are today. Even in this ever changing world of retail we believe it's as important, if not more. It's become our creed, it is what keeps a small town family owned business like ours alive for over 60 years. Speaking of change, our daughter Brittany has really taken "the bull by the horns" and has put us into the now with social media "outside the box" window displays and a much larger women section.
Oh hey there friends!
It's me Brittany (Daughter to Heather & Karl) I'm the one who is behind the scenes, expanding ladies wear, all the social you see and hopefully the next in line to own the family business. I am a wife to my best friend Scott & mama to 3 fur babies, lychee - 12, king - 12, minoo - 5, yes I am a animal lover .. especially cats.
Growing up I was a major tom boy, baggy clothes, ponytail, dirt, outdoors & tools were my thing! As time went on, as boys came into the picture and my auntie Connie brought more fashion into my world. I started working part time after school for my grandpa John at the store doing displays which I'm still doing today! I am a full time RDA, Registered Dental Assistant by trade (Monday - Friday), for the past 15 years and it wasn't until about 3 years ago that I truly found my passion, my calling for fashion as a part time Stella & Dot stylist.
You see, for many years friends & acquaintances had asked me for outfit styling advice, shop my closet, or ask for their hair and makeup done for events. And then it hit me....Ding Ding - maybe this fashion thing is my calling. The next couple of years I incorporated my knowledge in style & textiles at my Stella & Dot trunk shows and quickly excelled in the field. Maybe it was my success with Stella or maybe me batting my eyes, whichever it was, my dad decided to trust in me and share my vision for John's going forward.
Let me be honest - I have no schooling nor am I at any measure an expert at fashion/technology, but my passion and dreams are so much bigger,friends. I want you to feel beautiful everyday, in everything,at every stage of life.After all,your best accessory is a smile and being a part of that,brings me joy. Here’s to new beginnings and the future of something good.