The Clothing Company, featuring outdoor and lifestyle clothing for up north, is Charlevoix's only third-generation, family-owned clothing store! Since 1975 they've been known for their quality clothing, shoes, and accessories that truly suit the Up North Lifestyle. Walking into The Clothing Company feels like home, experiencing its charming fixtures and unmatched hospitality for yourself. Charlevoix's cornerstone store is open all year!
Anne Oosthuizen answered some questions about The Clothing Company so that we could learn more about this destination business in downtown Charlevoix.
Briefly describe your business to someone who has never been there:
The Clothing Company is one of Charlevoix's cornerstone stores, in business since 1975. We carry outdoor & lifestyle clothing, shoes, and accessories for Women and Men.
What problem does your business solve?
We are open 7 days a week! We do close for the occasional holiday, but otherwise we are open all year too. The merchandise we carry is exactly what you need to live your life in Northern Michigan! Boots, water shoes, swimwear, coats, gloves, socks, hats, jeans, slippers, base-layer, etc. Though we do sell dress clothing, pajamas and loungewear too, we carry practical and unique pieces meant to be worn every day.
How does your business enhance the lives of people in Charlevoix?
We strive to greet every one who walks in the door, making this connection with people is always worth it. We love to engage with our community too! We've planned Earth Day Clean-up contests, hosted local artists for pop-ups and small businesses to showcase their product. We truly live local, and we try to keep that in mind with everything we do.
Name at least 3 things that your business has/does that makes you truly unique.
We offer alterations with an amazing local seamstress, give us a call for more information!
We've been family-owned and operated since 1975. Currently a 3rd generation business!
In nearly 49 years of business, we've had a lot of amazing staff! In fact, this summer we had a crew member start his first job with us... come to find out The Clothing Company was his mother's first job too!
Name one service your business provides that competitors may not.
Alterations, complimentary gift-wrapping, kindness!
What is your (owner/owners/manager) background and experience?
Cole and I have become owners of The Clothing Company recently. We both have a background in the arts, and worked professionally in our fields before moving back to Charlevoix in 2018. Cole and I have worked retail before, but never ran a store! We are still learning so much every day, it is very humbling. It is not easy to define our roles because we wear many hats and every day is different. You may find us at a buying show in Kansas City or scrubbing gum off our side walk, like I said we wear many hats!
What is something about your business that customers do not expect?
Customers are always delighted to know we carry a simple range of Men's dress clothing: blazers, khakis, belts, dress shoes and dress shirts. People also are always excited to know we work with a seamstress!
Do you have employees? If so, share ways that you help make them feel valued.
We have wonderful year round and seasonal crew members, they are the pulse of this business! We have a few ways we ensure our crew feels valued! We offer paid personal days, PTO, bi-yearly reviews, we pay a living wage, bonuses, and clothing allowances (free clothes!). We've been inspired by many Michigan businesses such as Zingerman's Deli, Bear Creek Organic Farm and Sister Pie (to name only a few), who have become successful with "Human 1st" leadership. This is where employers see the whole person, not just the employee. It is unconventional and challenging at times, but there is no other way we'd steer the ship!
What is one of your favorite customer testimonials your business has received?
We hear kind words every day, my favorite will always be when a customer goes out of their way to share a compliment about a crew member. "Autumn was so professional," or "Sue, is such a helpful person," those never get old!
Does your company have a personality and an attitude, and if so, how would you describe it?
I hope people feel our store's atmosphere is warm, familiar, inviting and inclusive.
Does your business participate in any partnerships with other local businesses?
Yes! We love our partnership with local metalsmith, Christine Leader. A few times a year she joins us for a pop-up shop. She creates beautiful Michigan inspired jewelry made with local stones, recycled metals, beach glass, and gems. A Michigan line we carry is Stormy Kromer, you may recognize their signature cap around town in the winter. Their products are made in the Upper Peninsula! They make vests, coats, hats, mittens, and small bags too.
Why did you choose to own a business in downtown Charlevoix?
"We didn't choose, my grandparents did in 1975. But I'm sure glad they did, we have quite the view!"
How has the City of Charlevoix DDA been valuable to your business?
We enjoy participating in the City of Charlevoix DDA's ad campaign every year. It is a fun project to prepare for that includes photos, video, and writing. It is nice to have a package all set and ready to go for busy business owners to promote their shop. We also appreciate the people who clear our snow all Winter, and make town sparkle in the Summer!
Stay connected to The Clothing Company Outdoor & Lifestyle Clothing for Up North:
Website URL: www.myclothingco.com
Facebook page: @theclothingcompanycharlevoix
Email newsletter?: Yes, sign up here! https://www.myclothingco.com/contact-us
Online ordering/shop?: No online store, but we do sell our gift certificates on our website for easy ordering for our far-away customers!