Myers’ Fashions nearing 70 years in enterprise | Information, Sports activities, Jobs
ALPENA – It’s not easy to be a small business owner, especially in the midst of a year-long pandemic. But it’s fun and well worth it, according to Myers’ Fashions, Etc., third generation owner Ellen Gould.
The shop celebrates its 70th anniversary in November.
A little history
“My grandfather started the business as a fur business,” he said. Gould said of her grandfather, Samuel Myers, who was married to her grandmother, Mildred (Hamburger) Myers. “And they moved to Alpena in the early 1950s” but she added that they had been making fur sales since the 1930s.
Gould’s mother was Adrienne (Rosenberg) Myers, who died in July 2007. Her father was Alan Robert “Bob” Myers, who passed away in October 2014. They owned and operated Myers’ Furs since Samuel Myers passed away in 1958.
“We were on River Street” she remembered when her father took over the business. “In fact, the Alpena News owned the building we were in. The building is gone now, but our old fur vault is still there – it has the mural in Pocket Park on River Street.”
She said the vault was still standing because they didn’t want to compromise the integrity of the structure by trying to remove it.
They moved to their current location at 136 W. Chisholm St. in 1971, she said. Years later, they dropped them “Furs” from the name and it became easy “Myers’ Mode, etc.”
Gould has worked in the store since she was a teenager, about 49 years, she said. She became the third generation owner when her father passed away in 2014.
“My family has a long history, dating back to the 19th century, doing business in downtown Alpena.” She said.
What makes it unique
Myers’ Fashions, etc. specializes in women’s clothing, outerwear, and costume jewelry.
“In our industry, what we sell is seen as a commodity at moderate prices.” Gould explained. “And we try to find the most unique style with the best quality, taking into account the price for the region we are in.”
Gould said the store has the largest selection of costume jewelry in northeast Michigan, including the label she founded in honor of her mother after her death. The label is called “Ellen and Adrienne for a love of style.”
“After my mother died, I just wanted to find a way to keep her connected in the store.” Said Gould. “And she loved jewelry and she loved fashion, so we just started our own private label and we carry the line. It’s just unique to us and it’s just a lovely homage to my mother. “
Gould also started a private fashion label named after her first granddaughter “I love you, Ella Rose.”
“Ella Rose is the name of our granddaughter” said Steve Gould, Ellen’s husband. “And it was named after the two grandmothers Ellen and Rosie. She is such a little darling. “ he added the 18 month old.
How they survive the pandemic
“We have a very loyal clientele” Said Ellen Gould. “Our customers are great.”
She attributes her success to customers who return generation after generation. In addition, they planned ahead and the suppliers were more than accommodating.
“We actually closed a week before the governor closed the store.” Said Gould. “And it seems like 100 years ago and it seems like yesterday at the same time… in early March, when we could see the handwriting on the wall that we wanted to close, I delayed everything. At this point, I was just asking everyone to postpone our shipments for two weeks so we wouldn’t have a lot of goods and a shop to pay for. “
So after two weeks it’s easy “Turn it all off” and just said “Hold everything.”
“Our suppliers were just fantastic, as far as they understood there was no cash flow and they had goods in hand.” she remembered. “And when we opened in May, it was May 22nd, we had to start bringing in our things … so we could weather the storm very well. We were very lucky. “
She said the suppliers gave her 30-60 days to repay and manufacture them “Very, very easy to work with.”
“Our customers came back” She said. “When we closed, I was selling on Facebook and they were very supportive of us buying gift cards … and we did roadside service and home deliveries and anything that could keep us going.”
Customers are family
“If you spend 50 years, over time you get to know your customers and they become friends and family.” Said Gould. “You are so important to us and you have supported us a lot.”
She said summer was the busiest time of the year.
“We also have a real loyal clientele outside of town” She said. “A lot of people who have summer houses here have been coming in for years.”
Even more customers come over during the year.
“Lots of people are discovering us right now” She said. “Now that we’re the only ladies’ shop in town, people come in and see what we have.”
JCPenney went out of business at Alpena Mall in Fall 2020 and Peebles closed before JCPenney in early 2020. Women’s clothing is still sold at Maurice, Walmart and Meijer, but Myers’ Fashions, Etc. has a different selection than these stores.
“People may think our prices are a little higher than them,” he said. Gould said, encouraging people to stop by and look around to see that goods are high quality and affordable. “As soon as they come in, we always have a large evacuation department for people to look for. We try to keep something for everyone.
“We have some really good core lines and that’s where most of our business lies.” She said.
A rewarding job
Gould’s favorite part about her whole life in retail is helping customers find exactly what they’re looking for.
“It’s in my blood somehow” She said about working in retail. “The people – when you give them a good feeling of what they look like, go out happily in their outfit and are equipped from head to toe, it’s really a nice feeling.”
She said she equips people for special events or milestones in their life.
“To help you find exactly the right thing – that’s important to me” She said. “That’s what we’re here for.”
Kudos to the staff
“As in any other business, you are only as successful as the people who work for you.” Steve Gould said.
Ellen Gould said they could plan an anniversary celebration later in the year.
“We always have our big anniversary sale in November” She said.
For updates see “Myers Fashions Etc.” on Facebook.
The shop is open Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, call 989-354-3698.
A tribute to Bob Myers
Gould added that her father, Bob Myers, taught her everything she knows about the business.
“Most people knew my father. He was quite a guy. “ She said. “He had a great sense of humor.”
She said she learned from it when he entrusted her with the budget of doing business in the market when she was only 18 years old.
“I learned a lot from him” Gould noticed. “A family business is both a blessing and a curse. We had a very close relationship and a good working relationship. I miss him much.”
News Photos of Darby Hinkley Ellen Gould (left) and her husband Steve Gould hold up framed pictures of models in fur coats hanging in the old Myers’ furs that belonged to Gould’s father, Bob Myers. Gould is a third generation owner of the company now called Myers’ Fashions, etc., which specializes in women’s clothing, outerwear and costume jewelry. Myers’ Fashions, etc. sales rep, Cathy Hendricks, left, and owner Ellen Gould pose with the winter coats in the boutique fashion store. One of the shop windows was lit at Myers’ Fashions etc. in the evening.
Myers’ Fashions, Etc. owner Ellen Gould points to the jewelry label she created after her mother died. It’s called “Ellen & Adrienne for a love of style”.
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