Twenty-five years is a big deal! For a friendship, for a marriage, but especially for a small business. In September 2017, The Clothes Secret, our very own Old Ottawa South women’s consignment boutique, celebrated 25 years of doing business in the heart of our neighbourhood.
Twenty-five years of selling clothes, making friends, loyal customers, and contributing to the vibrancy of our business community and charitable causes.
For many of us, it’s not just a shop where we can find great fashion at affordable prices. It’s a drop in centre where we often run into friends and neighbours. It’s 20 minutes of “me time” before the after school pick up. Or salvation for those of us who need an outfit at the last minute—Christmas party, job interview or meet the in-laws—the staff at the shop always has your back. In and out in 30 minutes with something just right, something you’d never have picked for yourself but is just the right thing!
The Clothes Secret is all of that and more and we are happy, and relieved, (what would we do without it?) that this retail success story continues to thrive and grow even after 25 years! Now it’s a family affair, with Valerie, husband Yves, and daughters Chelsea and Nathalie all part of the customer service team. In fact, the girls have literally grown up in the shop, and now there’s another generation about to arrive who will no doubt, spend more than their fair share of hours with Mom, and the grandparents, in the shop. But despite all the changes our community has experienced over the last decades, some things never change. Social media has extended the reach of this best kept clothing secret, 5175 followers and growing! But it's the personal touch that keeps people coming through the door year after year. It’s just like that old TV show, Cheers, a place where everyone knows your name...
Porch sale weekend marked the shop’s birthday, and there’s always cake on hand. This year was special; all day well-wishers popping through the door with hearty congratulations for this happy anniversary.
Well done, Valerie! And here’s to the next 25 years!
Nancy Bickford is a long-time resident of OOS who both shops and works at The Clothes Secret.
Originally published in the December 2017 OSCAR.