Apparel Express open for business
Madras' newest clothing store, Apparel Express, opened July 17 in the former Factory 2-U Building, to the delight of local shoppers.
They weren't really ready to open, but, "People were banging on the door to get in," said Dory Crowell, who owns both Apparel Express and the Sears Store, which is going in next door. Finishing touches are being done to the clothing store, then the remodeling crew will focus full-time on the Sears side.
Dory's daughter Heidi Troutman will manage Apparel Express, and Dory will manage the Sears Store once it is finished around the end of August. The mother-daughter team will hire five or six employees for the apparel store, and six to eight people to work in the Sears store.
Heidi has 15 years of experience in the retail clothing business, doing buying and advertising for different department stores.
"What we want to do with this store is have quality clothing at a better price," she said, noting they carry several name brand lines including, Columbia, Woolrich, Energy, L.E.I., Russell and Gloria Vanderbilt. Prices range from $6.99 to $29.99.
"We went back to New York to the fashion market and bought most of the clothing there. The Columbia clothing, we buy in Portland," Heidi said.
And business has been brisk. "We've already had to reorder, just since we opened," she said.
The store carries family apparel for men, women, children and babies, plus charm bracelets, towels, backpacks, pillows, socks, women's undergarments, swimsuits, purses, suitcases, kitchen towels, and table cloths.
Both women are commuting from Powell Butte, but Dory plans on moving to Madras. In two weeks, she will leave for Chicago where she will receive training to operate a Sears store.
"The customers have been really great," Heidi said, noting they don't have a checkout counter yet and are just using tables.
"The community has been so welcoming. With as much construction as we've had, they've had to work around the clothing racks being crammed together. They've been wonderful," Heidi said.
The store is located at 510 S.W. Fifth St., and the business phone is 475-4262.
-- Susan Matheny