Archive for Thursday, March 2, 2006

Ashley adjusts to altered location for shop

March 2, 2006

After years of living in Lawrence, Susan Ashley said she felt Eudorans have a unique perspective on things when it comes to distance.

She recently packed up her alterations business, Ashley's Alterations and Tux Rental, on Main Street and moved seven blocks to the C&S shopping center.

The move by Lawrence standards really wouldn't be that far, she said.

But to her surprise when she told locals of her planned move they asked "Why are you moving all the way over there?"

Now that Ashley has completed her trek "all the way over there," she's planning to keep her business successful by supplementing her alterations with a renewed emphasis on tuxedo rentals.

"I never for one moment thought I'd fail in Eudora," Ashley said.

Although she hasn't failed, after three years in her old office she felt the need to grow.

Ashley had looked for an appropriate place in the heart of the city, but found none that would have been a significant improvement, she said.

When the new office opened up at 1402 - C Church Street, formerly home to Dimensions Hair Studio, she snapped it up.

"It's easy to move this type of business because there's no inventory," Ashley said.

The most challenging point came as she had to move her sewing machinery, she said.

She also had to find ways to continue to bring in her clientele.

For the first few weeks in her new office she used a flashing strobe light to draw attention.

She later added a new marquee sign and will soon replace the strobe with an open sign.

With the new markings and digs, Ashley said she has had steady business, but seemed unsure of how it compared to years passed.

"It's hard to say because in January and February it's usually a slow time," she said.

One thing has definitely grown, Ashley said.

"I've definitely rented more tuxes here," Ashley said.

When she left her shop on Main Street, she also left a pet project of hers.

Last fall, Ashley had attempted to start a downtown business organization, the Downtown Entrepreneurs Association, but the project failed because of an inability to work around schedules.

With Ashley's departure, the association is in a permanent hiatus.

"It's not an underground movement; it's still an above ground movement," Ashley said. "I just don't know how it's moving."

Ashley still supports the downtown district. She'll eventually set an area in her store to hold information about downtown businesses and restaurants to entice her out-of-town clients to explore the city.

"They could see Eudora is more than a dying community and it's vibrant," Ashley said.

The vibrant and potential growth of the community also helped influence her choice for the new office.

It will be a central location as the town expands, Ashley said.

With the tuxedo rentals coming in and her own altering work remaining steady, she might need to hire an assistant soon, Ashley said.

But in the meantime, she'll continue serving the public and finishing her own personal move to Eudora.

"I think that's enough for me for this year," Ashley said.

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