Two new women’s clothing stores are coming to Stettler to replace two longtime businesses, while a local drug store is relocating to another store that’s closing.
“Lou’s Fashions building has been sold to Auld Phillips from British Columbia,” said Kevin Stewart, who owns who that business, along with K.J. Casuals and Odds ’N Ends.
After the doors close this summer on Lou’s Fashions and K.J. Casuals, the buildings will become the new homes for Suzanne’s and Jenny’s owned by Auld Phillips Ltd., a well-known family-owned-and-operated women’s fashion store established in 1965 in Chilliwack, B.C.
Local staff might be retained for the new business, as Auld Phillips plans to interview current staff of Lou’s and Odds ’N Ends for the new businesses, Stewart said.
K.J. Casuals building has also been sold to a local buyer, though no details were immediately available.
All three businesses are set to close this August, before the new businesses move in.
“We are excited to open Suzanne’s and Jenny’s this fall,” said a statement from Auld Phillips.
“We recognize that we have big shoes to fill following the iconic Lou’s Fashions brand, and with so many similarities between both our companies, we know it is a perfect fit.”
At the same time, the Odds ’N Ends building has been sold to Savage Value Drug Mart, owned by Scott Savage.
“I was looking to buy a building for my store,” said Savage, who has owned the business for 13 years after it operated for many years as Stettler IDA, located at the current site for 11 years.
“We want to get into the new store in November or before Christmas, or if not, by early January.
“We need more room.”
Currently located in premises of 4,000 square feet, the new building will provide 11,600 square feet to grow.
“It gives up opportunity to expand in a few areas and we are exploring different options,” Savage said.
“We need a counselling room, a larger dispensary area, and we always seem to be short of storage space here.”
With 53 stores in western Canada, Auld Phillips says it’s committed to small centres.
“We have always focused our business in smaller communities and towns,” read the statement from Auld Phillips.
“Our success comes from staying close to who our customer is, understanding her lifestyle is critical to understanding her fashion needs.”
Auld Phillips said it appreciates the opportunity to locate in the Stettler market.
“We wish Kevin and his family many more years of success as they begin their new ventures.”
Lou’s Fashions has been a prime business for women’s fashions since it opened in 1955 by Lou Borgland and sold in 1963 to Keith and Dorothy Stewart, parents of Kevin Stewart.
As their business reputation and clientele began to grow, the Stewarts found it necessary to grow and moved the store to its current location in November 1985.
One year later, K.J. Casuals opened its doors to serve younger generations in the Stettler region, and Odds ’N Ends opened in 1996 as a clearance centre.
Kevin Stewart and his brother Greg became involved in the family business in 1978.
RICHARD FROESE, Independent reporter