At a time when many businesses are struggling to survive in a down economy, The Clothing Cove at 414 N. Main Street in downtown Milford has just celebrated a quarter-century as a lakes area women’s fashion institution.
On Tuesday, Sept. 25, an all-day party was held at the store to commemorate its 25th anniversary.
The day began with door prizes, prize drawings, and refreshments for loyal customers and other visitors.
When night fell, an invitation-only event was held with the store’s employees dressed in elegant clothing from the store. Over $14,000 in gifts were given away.
The store’s celebration will continue for the rest of the year with parties on the 25th of each month, which will include 25-percent discounts on select items and a $250 gift certificate awarded each month to a lucky customer.
The celebration has served as a testimony to how far the store has come since its owners, Eric and Genise Horsley, first started their business at 332 N. Main Street back in September 1987 — not as a clothing boutique, but as an exercise studio and fitness wear store called California Toning.
“As the business progressed, we just thought that people are a lot less interested in exercise than they are in clothing — and I can either talk myself to death trying to help them (get) healthy or we can play and have fun at this, as well, and go into clothing,” Genise Horsley said.
Over time, the business expanded to the point where it needed to be moved in 2004 to its current location, in order to have more space for its selection of women’s clothing, jewelry and accessories.
In 2009, The Clothing Cove set up an online store at its website, theclothingcove.com, and has built a loyal customer base that has expanded outside the state.
“What separates us is that we give one-on-one service and if there’s something specific that you’re looking for, we will do our best to find it,” said Rachel Horsley, the store’s manager and Eric and Genise’s daughter.
The Clothing Cove doesn’t keep fashion confined to its store, as it has also hosted trunk shows, parties, and special events, in addition to fashion shows and accessory demonstrations to raise funds for local hospitals and charities.
The Horsleys also travel to fashion shows outside of the state to keep their eyes on the newest fashion trends and help the store adapt to the newest styles.
The Horsley family doesn’t just credit customers and a staff of more than 27 employees for the store’s longevity, but also the family’s faith.
“We thank God for all of our business and all of our customers. We believe that He’s given us every increase that we could possibly have gotten and everything has come through Him,” Rachel Horsley said.