Mobile Retailer SetsUp at Senior Community Shop
Susan Guynn, Frederick News-Post
“I could use a pair of black pants in size 8. With pockets. Elastic waist is OK,” Avadna Coghill said to a shopping assistant.
“It used to be you could go to a shop downtown and get personal service like this,” she said. “I don’t like shopping in big stores. You wander around by yourself and there is no one to help you.”
Coghill was one of several residents at Homewood at Crumland Farms who took advantage of a mobile women’s apparel retailer’s visit to the home for seniors in Frederick on a recent spring day.
The retailer is TaylorMarie’s and Maryann Priddy has the first Maryland franchise. She and an assistant load up a 16-foot box truck with 23 garment racks full of the latest in women’s fashions and travel the state visiting senior homes and fundraisers for various other non-senior organizations. Priddy joined TaylorMarie’s three years ago. Bringing the store to senior communities is “a great upbeat thing to do,” she said. “We have from size 4 petites, misses and women’s sizes up to 3X, and a full display of accessories,” including jewelry, handbags and scarves, Priddy said. The apparel is not specialized clothing for seniors, but is current fashions from labels such as Alfred Dunner, Tribal, Ruby Road, Erin London and Southern Lady, a label well-known among snowbirds (those who travel south for the winter, returning north in warm weather). “It’s popular in the Carolinas and Florida,” Priddy said. The spring and summer collection includes tops with tropical prints, jazzy crochet jackets and sweaters with embellishments such as beading. From Ruby Red, a boutique label, there are denim jackets with ruffles, blouses with flecks of sparkle and animal print fabrics, always popular in spring and summer, Priddy said.
TaylorMarie’s was founded in 1982 by Heidi Welbig in Minneapolis, Minn. Shopping was something she enjoyed doing with her grandmother. But after her grandmother had a stroke, taking her shopping became a difficult experience. Welbig saw a need for bringing the store to customers like her grandmother.
Customers shop right from the rack, with a selection of stylish clothing ranging from casual to dressy. A make-shift dressing room is set up and Priddy and her staff can assist with everything from finding the right size to trying on a garment. “That’s part of our service,” Priddy said.
At senior homes, residents often invite family members to the shopping day.
“We do this about four times a year,” said Julie Norris, activities director at Homewood. “The residents really enjoy coming down here (to TaylorMarie’s store). They like the jewelry. Our staff take advantage of it, too.
“It’s great for the person who doesn’t get out and can’t shop. It comes right to you. Can’t beat that,” Norris said. “It’s a service all our residents look forward to.” Homewood is home to about 400 people who live independently, in assisted living or are healthcare residents.
“We do take shopping trips to Frederick, but this is a lot easier.
They’ve become friends with Maryann,” Norris said.
“I love it because I can’t get out and shop like I once did,” said resident Frances Shober. “It’s very convenient for people who live here.” Resident Mary Lou Whitefield said she likes the personal service. “They are very nice to you.” Priddy has also set up shop for a day at Buckingham’s Choice in Adamstown.
“We try to have events that bring a lot of life to the community,” said Michael Conord, executive director at Buckingham’s Choice, with about 300 residents. “A lot of our residents go out and are engaged in the community. But to have it come here makes it real special. How many people have a store come to their home?”
On the day Priddy’s mobile store set up there, Susan Smith, of Clarksburg, came to shop with her mother-in-law, Hilda Smith, a resident at Buckingham’s Choice.
“She was interested in seeing the clothes,” Susan Smith said. “As always, I can look, too! She was interested in finding some new clothes. She was excited to do some shopping.” Hilda Smith was shopping for nothing in particular, she said. “I need to perk up my wardrobe,” she said, explaining that she has had little time to shop recently due to “an ill husband.”
“I think this is a good idea,” she said, looking at some knit tops on a clothing rack. “If (the other shoppers) are like me, walking is tough.” She turned 90 in May.
“It’s a good way to get a good look at the clothes,” said Buckingham resident Edith Bierly. Her daughter, Celeste Cersley, shopped with her.
Bierly found a mint green Alfred Dunner knit top that paired nicely with the slacks her daughter gave her as a Mother’s Day gift.
Some senior centers and organizations turn the mobile shopping event into a social one with a fashion show.
Neither center did that this visit, but several residents volunteered to model clothing for photographs.
Priddy said she has from 15 to 18 events every month around the state.
Not all are senior events, she said, listing civic clubs, Red Hat Society clubs and church groups among her clients.
“I think this is a great idea,” said Edith Duff, a resident at Buckingham’s Choice. “Stores have sales to get you in, but the convenience of (TaylorMarie’s) can’t be beat. Their clothes are lovely.” “I come every time and I usually buy something,” said Meryl McWilliams, also a Buckingham’s Choice resident. “I love to shop. I shop anywhere!”
TaylorMarie’s doesn’t carry men’s apparel because, as Priddy said, men are not good shoppers. “Age doesn’t change that,” she said. But men will come to buy a gift for their wife or daughter. At some events, the men will dress in their Sunday best and serve as escorts for the models. Priddy said she loves her work.
“You bring joy into these communities.”
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