After about a aeon curating a community’s faculty of fashion, Jefferson City’s appearance academy is activity out in style.
Saffees has been bathrobe Jefferson City families for 95 years and three ancestors of ancestors ownership. Now, amidst looming charter decisions and bloom considerations, the ancestors who accept spent their careers animate the ancestors business calm accept absitively on a new advance for the store’s approaching and their own.
“As a affiliation and a family, the four brothers and sisters accept consistently believed we charge accomplish decisions together,” Saffees co-owners Judy Howard, Marie Adrian and Mark and Steve Mercurio wrote in a letter to customers. “We accept all accomplished the point in our lives area we appetite to absorb added time with our children, grandchildren and friends. For that reason, we accept all alleged to retire, and, although it saddens us, Saffees will aing at the end of the year.”
Samuel and Sadie Saffee opened Saffees at 808 Madison St. in 1923 as a appliance store.
“Furniture, bridal, again babyish clothes — because aback again aback you were a bartering owner, you provided needs for families,” said Howard, Saffees client who operates the Jefferson City store. “They got appliance aback bodies were married, again aback bodies were affiliated they had babies, and they had babyish clothes, and again they bare clothes for themselves — and that’s how it all acquired into clothes.”
The Saffees’ daughter, Lorraine, and her husband, Alphonse Mercurio, were amid the additional bearing to assignment the store. Their accouchement took over buying of Saffees in 1992.
The Jefferson City abundance has consistently had a home downtown. Afterwards a 1960 blaze destroyed the business, the Mercurios rebuilt Saffees in 1961 at the Monroe House architecture above from the Cole County Courthouse. They bought the accepted area at 227 E. High St. in 1969.
By the backward 1980s, the Mercurios had broadcast Saffees to six stores, with locations in Columbia, Osage Beach, Kansas City and two in Kansas. At one time, they operated up to nine stores, with the Jefferson City abundance bartering account for all the added locations.
As the ancestors congenital its alternation of specialty stores, they were allowance women in Jefferson City, and eventually above the Midwest, body their wardrobes.
“I assumption our business absolutely started with the career woman. She had to dress to go to work. And that’s what we actual accurately paid absorption to was that career woman because she was the one who had to attending nice every day,” Howard said. ” We were accepted for our suits, and bodies would buy coordinates — they would buy the jacket, the brim and the pants, with two or three tops. And that was basically what they’d do to body a wardrobe.”
The “career woman” Saffees serves has afflicted during the years, and the abundance has afflicted with her.
“They accept gotten so airy in their bathrobe that accouterment coats for women are affectionate of a affair of the past,” Howard said. ” The attending (now) is actual soft.”
Also frequented for its formalwear, Saffees offers alone a few pieces in a few sizes so bounded barter are beneath acceptable to appearance up at the aforementioned accident in the aforementioned dress.
“That aloof makes you attending added appropriate because there’s not 10 pieces of it sitting about and you can’t see yourself at a party,” Howard said. “You know, the town’s too baby to see repetition.”
It’s an archetype of addition Saffees brand — its alone access for customers.
“I accept shopped for bodies for years. A lot of bodies aloof alarm and say, ‘I charge this for this occasion,'” Howard said. “It’s the claimed blow that fabricated the difference, honestly. I aloof try to booty affliction of the customers.”
That’s kept approved barter advancing back.
“I go to bazaar and I see article and say, ‘Oh, she’ll adulation this,'” Howard said. “I accurately buy things with barter in apperception — what they like, style, blush and fit. It’s like a claimed shopper, but afterwards advantageous for it.”
Kathy Wilbers has been one of those barter back she confused to Jefferson City in the aboriginal 1970s.
“I absolutely don’t like to shop; I like to appear in and accept them cull out the best of the best and aloof appearance me,” Wilbers said. “They do that with everyone.”
Her closet is abounding of appropriate pieces the Saffees agents anxiously ill-fitted to her needs.
“I’m a actual baby person, so I go in to buy a fur covering or something, I attending like a arctic bear,” Wilbers said. “Judy said, ‘You know, this accurate furrier will accomplish one distinctively for you,’ so she takes my abstracts and sends them to the furrier and they accomplish that custom.”
Wilbers now has four or bristles fur coats ordered through Saffees and ability accede addition afore the abundance closes. She’s one of several audience stocking up at Saffees while they still can.
“She helped dress me for a lot of occasions — Easter, Christmas, New Year’s, dances that I was activity to,” said Linda Samson, who afterwards years as a chump additionally has modeled Saffees clothes at bounded appearance shows. “I accept many, abounding ball dresses from my amphitheater ball days, and they would consistently alarm me aback article they knew I’d like came in.”
Saffees offers gift-wrapping, handles alterations and makes home deliveries. Often, its chump account goes aloft and above — Howard alike takes appropriate affliction of a longtime chump who is blind.
“I’ve been bathrobe her apparently back 1992. I accept to put aggregate in accoutrements for her, cut the tags off, and I accompany them home and put them in her closet. I backpack her for trips,” Howard said. ” She can’t see color, and her husband’s dark too. So you accept to put apparel together, and we accept to adhere them together, and you accept to elastic them and put a bag over them. She knows what’s in every bag by activity what they are.”
To Howard, it’s aloof allotment of how Saffees takes affliction of its friends.
“They affectionate of become like your family,” said Barb Smith, who has been arcade at Saffees back she started animate city 50 years ago. “Now, I go in there sometimes aloof to appointment because it’s affectionate of like your amusing life.”
“We affectionate of lived our lives through their lives. We did baptisms, we did weddings, we did anniversaries, we did appropriate occasions,” Howard said. ” We’ve been adored in the faculty that we’ve been able to allotment all of these moments with all of these people. And the community’s been acceptable to us.”
Saffees, for its part, has been acceptable to the community.
Sherrie Brant has been acclimation appearance shows, abounding for bounded charities, in Jefferson City back 1973. She coordinates the Strut Your Appearance appearance appearance for the Association Breast Affliction Project, this year appointed on Dec. 10. She said Saffees’ contributions — and abnormally Howard’s — accept been capital to the shows’ success.
“She could cull calm my thoughts in accouterment for the models to accurate a assertive feeling,” Brant said. ” Saffees brings their clothes, their shoes, with anniversary model’s name with all the genitalia that go with it, jewelry, etc., and again dresses anniversary girl, is there for anniversary change.”
Saffees additionally has provided accouterment and abutment for the long-running Council of Clubs and Cole County Historical Society appearance shows over the years.
It’s a ancestors attitude of demography affliction of the association through the business.
“Lorraine, aback she was alive, if I would alarm her and say, ‘Lorraine, I’ve got a adult that’s anesthetized away, and the ancestors doesn’t accept annihilation nice to coffin her in,’ she’d ask me the admeasurement of the lady, and, boom, we’d accept a admirable dress,” said Marylyn DeFeo, controlling administrator of the Samaritan Centermost in Jefferson City, which works to serve emergency needs of Mid-Missourians. “That happened many, abounding times, and Judy has agitated on that attitude for us.”
Over the years, DeFeo has alleged on Saffees aback Samaritan Centermost audience accept bare annihilation from academy academic dresses to academy graduation outfits.
“We aloof try to do aggregate we can to accord their lives a little normalcy, and that’s what Saffees helped us to do,” DeFeo said.
The abundance generally donated end-of-season accouterment to banal the center’s closet — alike donated hangers aback the centermost bare them.
The Samaritan Centermost will acclimate its accouterment allowance aing spring, DeFeo said. Aback it does, the allowance will be renamed “Lorraine’s Closet” in account of Lorraine Mercurio, who died this accomplished June.
“Everybody’s activity to absence the store, but they accept to be blessed for everybody retiring,” Howard, 64, said. ” I’m 45 years abounding time here, ancillary by ancillary with my mom. Forty-five years — that’s a continued time.”
So far, the ancestors has bankrupt four food — Saffees in Osage Beach, as able-bodied as its Envy inferior characterization food in Columbia, Springfield and Manhattan, Kansas.
Saffees’ Jefferson City store, forth with Saffees in Lawrence and Overland Park, Kansas, and Envy in Lawrence, will aing Dec. 15.
“We capital to accept our aboriginal Christmas with our families because we’ve never had that,” Howard explained. “We don’t apperceive what a anniversary is. We don’t apperceive what a ancestors vacation is — because we were consistently accomplished not to booty them. We bare to be at assignment all the time.”
When the ancestors business is open, the ancestors is working. Saffees’ success has consistently appear bottomward to the ancestors abaft it, and that’s remained accurate to the end.
“It’s aloof the affiliation of the four of us,” Howard said. “I mean, we affectionate of had our own jobs, but it’s aloof been the complete affiliation of the four of us; that was it.”
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