PORT HENRY - The Fashion Corner has been selling gowns, dresses and more for a quarter century. The secret to its success?
"It's supposed to be fun when you're shopping for a special dress," said Natalie Clark, Fashion Corner owner. "You're preparing for an important event, it should be enjoyable. We try to make it that way."
Apparently Clark and her associates Jeanne Suddard and Candy Baker succeed.
"The girls always say 'Thank you for letting us have fun'," Clark said.
The Fashion Corner is marking its 25th anniversary in 2011.
Ida and Tom Ruch opened the boutique Nov. 26, 1985. Clark started work there the following April and Suddard a few months later. When the Ruchs moved in 1992, Clark bought the store.
"I enjoyed working here," Clark recalled of her decision to buy the business. "When Ida and Tom wanted to sell it made sense to buy it. I still enjoy coming to work every day."
While Fashion Corner customers are allowed - even urged - to have fun, there is more to the store's success.
"We have a good reputation, word of mouth advertising is very good for us," Clark said. "We have good customer service; we keep our prices very competitive; we keep up with current styles."
While its located ina small town, the Fashion Corner is big-time in the dress world. With an inventory of more than 500 prom gowns, more than 200 wedding dresses, more than 400 mother's dresses, bride's maid and flower girl dresses, tuxedos for men and more, the Fashion Corner attracts business from miles away.
"People drive three hours to shop here," Clark said. "We sell dresses to people from Quebec, Potsdam, Albany, St. Johnsbury, Vt., all over. We have a very large selection, one of the largest."
In 2010 the Fashion Corner sold 292 prom dresses and 100 wedding dresses.