Display offers more than window dressing
By Paul Sullivan For The Courier-News July 16, 2012 4:18PM
From left, Tamara Travis and her sister Thomasina Travis, both summer interns at Claudia’s Closet and students at NIU work on a window display. The 1940 Art Moderne style St. Charles Municipal Building, on the National Register of Historic Places, is a di
Updated: August 18, 2012 6:11AM
The 1940 Art Moderne-style St. Charles Municipal Building, on the National Register of Historic Places, is a distinctive sight for locals and visitors.
The front window facing Main Street offers high visibility for display purposes. Two St. Charles consignment shops, Claudia’s Closet and The Sassy Fox, recently used the space for two weeks to display formal wear and cruise wear.
There is no charge to use the display space for the two-week time limit, said city receptionist Karen Muehlfelt. But there is a waiting list.
“The festivals always go first in the front window, and then we fill in around them,” Muehlfelt said. “Most of 2013 is already booked.”
Before the addition to the Municipal Building in 1995, only nonprofits such as the Scarecrow Festival were showcased in the highly visible front window. With the new addition, a display case on the main floor and another on the second were added.
For-profit companies then were also permitted to display their wares. Claudia’s Closet and The Sassy Fox shared the front window of the municipal building once before, in February.
Claudia’s Closet, 217 W. Main St., is owned by Karla Sitko and her mother Beverly Schmidt. The store bills itself as a lux consignment boutique for men, women and teens.
The Sassy Fox, 323 Walnut S., owned by Marge DeLand and Pat Bailey, sells on consignment clothing for ladies and little girls, plus jewelry, purses and new items such as gifts.
Sitko is on the marketing committee for the Downtown St. Charles Partnership. She said she is cross-marketing with The Sassy Fox. “We’re working together for downtown business. We gotta keep downtown going.”
To that end, the Downtown St. Charles Partnership, Chamber of Commerce, Convention and Visitors Bureau and the city have partnered in a new program named the 3/50 Project, said Lynne Schwartz, executive director of the partnership.
Upcoming events for 3/50 are still in the planning stage. The main idea of the 3/50 Project is for people to select three local, independently owned businesses they would miss if they were gone, then go spend $50 a month minimum collectively at any of the three.
The 3/50 Project flier now in St. Charles stores says: “For every $100 spent in independent stores, $68 returns to the community through taxes, payroll and other expenditures. One hundred dollars spent in a national chain returns $43 here. With online purchases, nothing comes home.”
Said Schwartz, “If we want independent businesses, unique shops and restaurants, we need to support them.”