We sat down with Jacq Dipert, 2nd generation owner, to learn a bit more about this destination business so many have learned to love. Read on for insider scoop behind the magic that is The Clothing Company!
How long have you been in business?
The Clothing Company was opened in April of 1975 by Jim and Sue Mabee…going on 44th year!
Why did you want to be a small business owner?
I didn’t think I did want to own my own business after spending my young adult life working the store. It is quite a commitment and I was ready to try a 9-5 job after I graduated college. Turns out I found that a little boring, and came back north to work for my parents and eventually buy The CloCo from them. It becomes more an extension of your life than a ‘job’ and I love that about it. I can put in as much time and effort as I want or as little, but those choices directly effect the bottom line for me personally. Total control of my own destiny.
Why did you choose to open a business downtown Charlevoix?
The choice was made by my father, a man ahead of his time! He traveled north on hunting trip and fell in love with this place called Charlevoix. It was like a scene from Green Acres when he told us we were packing up and moving from the city to Charlevoix! The rest is history and I wouldn’t change a thing. Charlevoix has a unique combination of a very loyal local and summer resident customer base as well as the transient tourist traffic. The location of our main street, surrounded by water, with a state highway running through is the perfect storm.
Tell me a little bit about your business.
Our company has followed the traditions established by of its founder: we carry quality, functional Women’s and Men’s apparel, footwear and accessories that our customers can wear for work, play and home and we all truly enjoy the interaction with our customers and providing them with outstanding service. We treat each guest like they have entered our home, because that is what it feels like to us, our home…and our team is all on the same page. It makes for an awesome shopping experience and an enjoyable place to call work. We merchandise the store like you would arrange your own furniture, keeping similar product lines together and adding a few surprises with antique props we have collected over the years. We love to display our merchandise and show our customers how it all works together.
What do you enjoy most about living and working in the Charlevoix area?
The sense of community is what I most appreciate about living and working in Charlevoix. We can’t take for granted that we are constantly surrounded by people who care about what happens to us, as a business and as an individual. Plus it’s not a bad view…
Hard to pinpoint one thing here…I would say what makes us most unique is that we are a thriving, year round destination retail clothing store in a summer resort town, with no internet business presence, yet a customer base that comes from all over the country.
What is something unique about your store/business?
How would you describe downtown Charlevoix?
Downtown Charlevoix is like a scene from a beautiful old movie. The view is just amazing from wherever you stand. The shops are quaint and our restaurants are unique and plentiful. Local and summer residents and their pets greet you as you walk down Bridge Street, a short trip to the local bank can take an hour, depending on who you meet along the way. We have a grocery store, movie theater, library, drugstore, banks and water everywhere you look. It is a safe, comfortable, inviting place to live and work. We are so fortunate.
How has Main Street helped your business?
Main Street has rallied our fellow entrepreneurs into a group. The energy downtown is positive and forward thinking. Main Street volunteers have made great headway in bringing folks into town on the off-season. Main Street, together with the City of Charlevoix, our Chamber of Commerce and the CVB...a great group of people in sync and a win win for our downtown and in turn the community.
What’s your favorite thing about your business?
The people (and their pets). Our customers are amazing, our staff members are family, our neighbors are great friends, even our UPS and mail-persons make it a great place to go to work each day.
What’s your favorite Charlevoix event?
All our events are important to our business and a lot of fun to boot! I have to say my personal favorite is the Community Christmas Tree Lighting and Parade. It is such a heartwarming family centered event and everyone enjoys the simplicity of it. The whole town coming together to watch our hometown little parade in (usually) very bad weather is a joy to behold. I remember years past when our town was so quiet on Black Friday, as everyone left to hit the sales in bigger cities than ours. The sense of community overwhelms me now on that day.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
I think I have said enough!
Pictured: Cole & fiance, Annie, one of Jacq's daughters who recently moved back to Charlevoix.