The First Ten Years
During the first ten years of the business, the clientele was mainly Latino. The Estrella Family also sold the suits at the swap meet and rented booths at car shows to promote the business. They had now expanded their inventory to include Zoot Suit accessories such as hats, shoes, and suspenders. The store had an extremely positive response from the Latino community. They were happy to see that some of their fashion "culture" and "history" was now readily available to them. The business not only sold the Zoot Suits, they rented them as well. Most of the Zoot Suit rentals were used for weddings and Quincenearas during that time.
They did attempt to franchise their business during that period, and while they had many inquiries over the phone and in-person, they decided against the idea. Their main concern was that they did not want this type of "element" in their shop, and many of the people interested in franchising the store did not seem to have the respect for the image that Phyllis did. They simply did not want their store and brand to be a part of anything that would further the negative connotation that came along with the Zoot Suit. They were wary of the public who claimed that Zoot Suits were associated with gangbangers and troublemakers.
In 1984, the jewelry part of the business was phased out since their Zoot Suit clientele was growing at a steady rate. Even though it remained mainly Latino, the business was making progress. That same year, they purchased a commercial building and occupied one half of the premises, while leasing out the other half to a restaurant. They now employed three tailors who worked out of their homes and provided them with high quality, custom-made Zoot Suits. The cost was $500, and they were the only business in the United States that had them available.
The Second Ten Years (1988-1998)
The second ten years became quite the turning point for El Pachuco Zoot Suits. Their clientele was now one third Anglo and two-thirds Latino. They continued to advertise in Lowrider Magazine, which had become very successful during those years. Lindy Hop and Swing dancing became quite popular during this time, which exposed the Anglo community to the Zoot Suits. Before they knew it, they had clients coming in from as far away as Switzerland, Australia, and the United Kingdom.
In 1992 the section of their commercial building they occupied was no longer able to accommodate the growing business and inventory. At that time, they decided take the chance to occupy the entire building. It was a risk, but it was much needed and they felt confidentenough to take the chance. El Pachuco clientele was expanding, and as years passed, it seemed as though the degree of negativity that the Zoot Suit once carried was slowly fading away. They had a full time crew of employees, which included Phyllis, her father Elbert, her son Ray, and tailors who worked off-site.
In the late 1990's, they became a fashion trend for high school proms. El Pachuco rented suits out to high schools in all fifty states. The overwhelming response was so awesome that the store received numerous thank you letters and photos of the stylish teenagers. When the kids would call to place their Zoot Suit order, they would all express the fact that they wanted to "stand out" at their prom, they didn't want to wear an average tuxedo and look like the rest of the guys.