Louisville Magazine

APR 2012

Louisville Magazine is Louisville's city magazine, covering Louisville people, lifestyles, politics, sports, restaurants, entertainment and homes. Includes a monthly calendar of events.

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No. 35: It brightens Louisville's shopping picture. More than a few Louisville merchants call it a second Christmas. Tey're talking about Derby fashion season. "Tere is nothing else like it at any of our locations. Nothing," says Melody Westendorf, chief operating officer of the 29-store chain Von Maur. "It's just a huge portion of spring business for us." Wes- tendorf says Derby season adds an extra 12 percent in sales. As a whole, local merchants see Derbytime sales that equal or exceed the business they do at Christmas. "I could not believe how big the season www.sarfoundation.org www.orvwbc.org was," says Terri Waller, co-owner of Blink Boutique, who opened her store nine years ago this month and was stunned by the de- mand. "Spending for Derby is one of our customers' largest budget (items). I have no doubt." And how much do they spend? Typi- cally, it's $400 and up. In some cases, way up. Westendorf sees $900 for a dress, $1,500 for a hat, $500 for shoes — often on several outfits. "We do a good spring sale business in other parts of the country, but in Kentucky, it's just a crazy frenzy," says Kasey Gordon, sales director for New York clothing designer Shoshanna. "Tey're buying two, three dress- es at a time." "Tere is no other event nationally that I can think of that is geared so much around fashion," says Crush Boutique owner Deb- bie Russell, who used to live in Indianapolis. When asked if the Indianapolis 500 inspires a similar mass shopping spree, she laughs at the comparison. And this is men's fashion as well as women's. Painted neckties? Tat started in Louisville. Derby is one time when a city in the mid- dle of the country is a fashion leader. Westendorf says the store's New York sup- pliers "are always stunned at the things we get in. (Tey will say,) 'Tat's never going to sell. It's just way too fashion forward.' But there it goes! Tey have learned a lot through us." — Jenni Laidman [18] LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 4.12

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