Chamber News

BUSINESS OF THE WEEK

Chamber Business of the Week

Article and photo by Abby Hess, Quill Staff Writer

Greater West Plains Area Chamber of Commerce Business of the Week pick is Maurices.

Employees of women’s fashion retailer Maurices in West Plains have plenty to celebrate: a charitable community, new trends in personal styling and each other.

“We are here to inspire women of all shapes and sizes to look and feel great,” said Store Manager Olivia Johnson. “We celebrate style.”

Celebrating style means making it personal, said Johnson and assistant manager Carlea Badolian. Each woman has her own individual sense of style, and it’s the job of Maurices staff to help her find the clothing and accessories to highlight her confidence, they explained.

Since 2006, shortly after the company was purchased by dressbarn, Maurices has offered plus-size clothing and carries sizes from 0 to 24.

Over the summer, the women’s fashion retailer began something new: offering personal style sessions.

“You book one, an hour or two with the stylist of your choice,” said Johnson. “Tell us the event or style you are looking for and we select complete looks for you, ready to try on, and we help you find the right looks from there.”

It sounds a lot like a subscription box such as StitchFix, which sends boxes each month to customers based on style preferences, entire ensembles including shoes and accessories. But Maurices style sessions have some advantages. For one, there’s no chance forgetting to return unwanted items on time.

Johnson pointed out that the looks at Maurices are created by a stylist the customer already has a connection with, giving it a personal touch which can’t be found in a box shipped from several states away.

The new service has already gotten the attention of local high schoolers. The store works closely with the J.A.G. (Jobs for American Graduates) program at the high school, said Johnson. She said the store has already helped several students find the perfect look for a job interview.

Johnson added that the service has also been used for students benefiting from the West Plains R-7 Bridges program. That program aims to help meet the needs of disadvantaged students so they can focus on learning.

The retail store recently held a back-to-school drive to benefit Bridges, offering 20 percent off purchases made in the store for customers who brought school supplies to donate to Bridges.

Across all Maurices stores, the $1 billion company expresses a strong commitment to charitable giving and community support.

Each store has a charitable giving budget to use locally and is encouraged to donate clothing in the event of a natural disaster, according to Johnson. The company also encourages staff to contribute to their communities, matching time and monetary contributions up to $500 per employee each year to eligible nonprofits.

An employee-funded program, “Dimes from the Heart,” helps associates in crisis. Employees experiencing a home catastrophe, natural disaster, domestic violence or caring for an ailing family member can apply to receive as much as $2,500 in grant funds from the program.

The West Plains store has eight employees and will soon hire holiday staff, said Johnson. It has been at 1410 Preacher Roe Blvd. for 27 years, since first opening in 1991.

The company is headquartered in Duluth, Minn., and operates 1,000 stores. As of 2014, Maurices is owned by ascena retail group, which also owns dressbarn, Justice, Lane Bryant, Catherines, Ann Taylor, Loft and Lou & Grey, and employs about 60,000 associates in 4,000 stores in the U.S. and Canada.

Business hours at Maurices in West Plains are from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 12:30 to 5:30 p.m. Sundays. To see the latest styles offered visit maurices.com.

For more information call 256-8650.