By Claudie Benjamin

Everyone knows, according to Danny Koch, owner of Town Shop at 2270 Broadway, that there is a good side and a bad side of Broadway on the Upper West Side. His family business was located on the “good” west side of the avenue since 1936 when in 2013, Danny and his father decided to move the women’s bra, lingerie, and swimwear business across the avenue to new, very spacious quarters. The new space combined a part of a store that was selling linen and home goods leased from old friend Alan Laytner, with a store leased to them by Saul and Stanley Zabar who had known the Koch family for many decades.

By then, Selma Koch, long-time doyenne of Town Shop, had passed away. Earlier, “she had made us vow that we would never move across Broadway. But the opportunity was too good, and we hoped she would forgive us.” Before the lease was signed, Danny was crossing Broadway when he encountered Saul on the central island. “Saul told me, ‘You know that’s the wrong side of Broadway.’  Later, Stanley told my father the same thing.” Even though the Kochs and the Zabars knew that the east side of Broadway had somewhat less foot traffic, they were not worried. Confident in their store’s reputation for outstanding customized fitting, design, and customer service that had endured through a number of moves since 1888, when the business was founded by Samuel Koch, Danny’s great-grandfather.

Originally called Koch’s, the name was changed to the Town Shop to give it a more contemporary, upscale tone when it moved to 57th Street. Later once on the UWS, the store occupied two different locations (on the west side of Broadway) before moving to its current location. The move was wrenching for Selma who was used to “her old home,” said Danny. But, there was clearly a need for more space. He described one of the former dressing rooms as so small you bumped your elbow when you fastened your bra.”

Danny is a fabulous storyteller who keeps you asking to hear more about his family and how their business has evolved. This is not surprising as he’s not only a garment business entrepreneur, but also an actor with many TV commercial credits to his name. A commercial he made for Aqua Fresh toothpaste was so lucrative it allowed him to buy his first apartment on Riverside Drive. (See him in action for Irish Spring Soap HERE) Over the years, he has lived in a number of wonderful pre-war buildings on the UWS until he acquired a place with a wood-burning fireplace in his dream building in the neighborhood. The purchase was made with his grandmother’s support: she vouched for him saying he would one day own the business.

Danny, his brother, and his sister grew up on the UWS. The siblings and their mother, Peggy, all went to PS 87. As a young man, Danny had no intention of going into the family business. First in NYC, then in California, he pursued acting. Returning to NYC in the late 1990’s he was tired of relying on waiting tables, and other side jobs to support himself between acting gigs. My grandmother thought I would be really good at it,” and encouraged me just to try working at Town Shop with the agreement that I could still pursue auditions and acting jobs. It turned out that I was extremely busy with both” he said. And, over time he recognized that he was very good at business, especially adept at ordering items in an expanded range of sizes and styles that became hot items, (sometimes without his grandmother’s knowledge) to attract new customers. He also brought in a computer with a software system for business operations, that he and his Dad used, but his grandmother resisted. Later he introduced and expanded online sales at

Unfortunately, no one in the family ever thought of buying a building. “If they had, I’d be golfing now (though I don’t golf),” he said. Possibly, but you get the sense he lives and breathes the business. He truly loves the loyalty customers feel for the store coming in year after year, mothers coming in with their daughters with the certainty that they’ll get “very personal service from a staff person who knows what they are talking about. “Customer service goes back at least as far as his grandmother, who frowned upon tape measures. “You aren’t going to wear a tape measure out of the store. You need someone to help you get a good fit,” he recalled her saying.

A wall display of memorabilia, including photos of grandmother Selma and other family members and articles, has traveled along as the store has moved locations over the years.  “We have some very cool things,” Danny said. “Come by and see.”

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