Contributed by Sarah Wright, JLM Marketing/Public Relations Chair
The Junior League of Memphis Repeat Boutique recently celebrated its 70th Birthday, which was highlighted with a sidewalk sale on Saturday, Aug. 29.
The JLM is so fortunate to have amazing staff members who serve as the face of our organization to the community who shops at the store. We recently sat down with Gracie Tuten, Repeat Boutique Manager to hear first-hand her experience and how the store has grown during her time with the organization. Gracie, who started her career at Goldsmith’s as a store manager for 20 plus years, has been with the Repeat Boutique since June 2005. She and Jackie Jefferson, JLM Repeat Boutique Assistant Manager, have been instrumental in the improvements and success of the Repeat Boutique. She and Jackie were responsible for re-organizing the shop when they both started more than 10 years ago.
Gracie says, “nothing was organized; we received permission to sell all of the furniture [off the store floor] that wasn’t being sold and gave the shop a facelift.” They began to group items by business – women’s, men’s, children’s, toys and housewares.
Jackie and Gracie were also instrumental in starting the “bargain system.” This allows clothes to always be on sale. Jackie (as well as JLM volunteers) are responsible for tagging and color-coding all the clothes as they go out on the floor for sale. Clothes are priced and on the floor for three weeks before being marked down to 25%, 50% and 75%. Gracie adds that the bargain system “helps clear inventory and keep merchandise looking fresh for customers.”
Not only has the store grown, but the customer base has grown too. Regular customers come in every week with some coming in daily – who Jackie and Gracie both know on a first-name basis!
The JLM Repeat Boutique is so much more than a fundraiser to these two devoted workers. They have countless stories of unique customer experiences including a story about a young family with two boys who lost their home in a fire. They visited the Repeat Boutique and were able to buy clothes that they could not afford at other places. Other stories include customers coming in to buy a suit for a funeral as well as clothes for a job interview. Gracie continues, “it’s so heartwarming that we can help them buy for a special occasion. Our store provides our community to be able to dress to impress.”
Other highlights of the Repeat Boutique include the Saturday Special Sales. Gracie adds, “the sale they love most is the toy sale – kids get toys that they would not otherwise be able to afford.”
You too can help support the JLM Repeat Boutique by making a donation to the upcoming special sales this fall:
Nov. 14: Just For Men Men’s suits, blazers, slacks, shorts, shirts and shoes are the special in November. We will also be featuring accessories such as briefcases, hats, ties, bow ties, pocket squares and wallets, so come check it out!
Dec. 5: Let’s Fill Santa’s Sack! Get in the spirit of the season and get shopping! This sale features brand NEW children’s toys, so make sure to stop in and get something special for everyone on your list.
Store Location: 3586 Summer Avenue (East of Highland)
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.