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February 17, 1995 - Image 82

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1995-02-17

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CLOTHES page 9

fit and the tailoring," he says.
"This stitching — rarely will you
see stitching that straight. Just
like a ruler."
But what ultimately has kept
his company going, Mr. Lisnov
believes, is service.
He tries to produce exactly
what the public wants (one of his
top-selling pairs of pants — "it's
ageless" — is lean at the leg, but
with an expanding waistline,
which can be subtly covered with

•• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

One by one, we
closed up.

Cy Lisnov

an overblouse). He's friendly, hon-
est, responsible with buyers. He
promptly returns calls. He has
a sense of humor. He does what-
ever he can to please the cus-
Ron Elkus, owner of the Shirt
Box in Southfield, concurs.
Thirteen years ago Mr. Elkus
opened the Shirt Box, which sells
men's clothing. He says the key
to his success is service.
"We're price-competitive and
we always try to put ourselves in
the customer's place," he says. It's
also a matter of knowing some-

body's name, talking with him
about his family. It's a lot like
"Cheers," he says.
Mr. Elkus also uses his busi-
ness as a base for community
work, including a project this
month to donate clothing to
COTS, which provides shelter for
the homeless, and the Friends Al-
liance, which gives direct service
to individuals with AIDS. In-
variably, such programs estab-
lish a different relationship with
customers than a large chain.
The clothing business runs in
Mr. Elkus' family, from his
cousins and uncles (one opened
Todd's) to his father, a former rep
for Levi Strauss. His father used
to meet up with a lot of Jews in
the field when he traveled from
small town to small town. He
says there aren't many today.
Mr. Elkus and Mr. Lisnov agree
that much of that is a simple fact
of business: the retail giants have
taken over.
"It has happened everywhere
you look," Mr. Lisnov says. "That
little bookstore in the neighbor-
hood that used to be successful
— it's out of business. Everything
is big operator, big manufactur-
er. A couple of years ago if you did
$10 million, it was big business.
Now it's nothing to be worth $2
billion. This country has become
an industry of giants." 7

Fax Security

Israeli firm selling software that scrambles
messages between machines.


he headquarters of Aliroo
are a perfect example of a
"start-up" company office.
Far away from any indus-
trial zone, the Israeli firm is
housed in a four-bedroom apart-
ment in a residential neighbor-
hood of Kfar Sava.
In what would be the apart-
ment's living room are two desks
furnished with notebook com-
puters. This is where the compa-
ny's president and vice president
The other rooms of the apart-
ment are used as meeting rooms
and for storing the company's
new software products. The mas-
ter bedroom suite is leased out to
a young woman who lives there
rent-free in exchange for two
hours a day of secretarial work
and cleaning duties.
Her presence allows the apart-
ment to fall under the legal def-
inition of "residence."
In a place of honor between the
two desks is a fax machine — the
concept behind Aliroo is privacy
in faxing. The company produces
software that allows anyone
sending a fax to electronically
scramble their message so that


the person receiving the fax gets
a sheet of unreadable symbols.
That person can then easily
use the software at his end to "de-
code" the fax within his own com-
puter. The paper copy of the fax
can remain encoded, unreadable
to prying eyes.
"For the first 2,000 years of
business correspondence," ex-
plains Aliroo president Yitzhak
Pomerantz, "people used paper
to pass a message and an enve-
lope to keep it private.
"Then, about eight years ago,
the fax machine took over busi-
ness correspondence. Today, the
natural way to send a letter is to
fax it rather than to send it by
mail. It's cheaper, faster, more
"But we have essentially
moved from communicating by
letters to communicating by post-
cards because a fax is essential-
ly a postcard. It's open for
anybody to read. For eight years,
we had to sacrifice privacy in or-
der to be able to compete as far
as speed and convenience are con-
Judging from the response to
Aliroo, we won't be worried about

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