Playing ‘dress up’
Glad Rags Resale Shoppe celebrates 30 years

By Dave Fidlin - News Graphic Correspondent

Oct. 14, 2014

Doris Deputy, owner of Glad Rags Resale Shoppe, said historic downtown Cedarburg
has been a great fit for her business.
Photo by Mark Justesen

CEDARBURG - A walk into Doris Deputy’s downtown Cedarburg consignment shop clearly reveals she enjoys fashion.

But Deputy readily admits she also enjoys interacting with people.

Three decades ago, she melded together the two loves. The end result: Glad Rags Resale Shoppe, which got its start as a series of different storefronts in Milwaukee. Deputy eventually settled on Cedarburg in 1989 and has operated in the heart of the city’s business community ever since.

Glad Rags’ mostly second-hand apparel is aimed exclusively toward women and includes an assortment of fashions - from high-end designers to non-designer lines. Rounding out the mix of offerings are various accessories.

Alongside works by such renowned fashioners as Armani, Coach and Prada, Deputy proudly trumpets the fact Glad Rags offers handmade items by locals as well. Case in point: locally designed jewelry and belts - many mirroring vintage pieces - are prominently displayed in the store.

The store is stocked with a plentiful and ever-changing selection of fashion items. 
Photo by Mark Justesen

As is the case with most consignment shops, Glad Rags’ inventory can change on any given day, and that is part of the draw, Deputy said.

“You can find some real good bargains, which makes shopping here fun,” Deputy said. “I like to think of this place as a big closet where you can play dress up.”

Throughout her quarter century in Cedarburg, Deputy said she has developed a loyal customer base. In a nod to the city’s tourism feel, some of those regulars are out-of-towners who visit the shop once or twice a year.

“Some of my earliest customers now have kids who are grown up, and it’s fun hearing about what’s going on in their lives,” Deputy said. “Sometimes they’ll just stop in and say ‘hello.’ Cedarburg has turned out to be a great place for me.”

The recent milestone has given Deputy an opportunity to reflect on her three decades in business. The resale retail industry, she asserts, has grown in popularity.

“The resale business has been fascinating,” she said. “We have come from a ‘oh, no’ to a ‘oh, yes’ way of thinking on resale. It has come a long way to the hip and trendy, fun, adventuresome way of shopping.”

While she has long taken pride in Glad Rags and being a business owner, Deputy readily admits she would sometimes receive blank stares in the 1980s as she explained the type of store she was operating.

With consumer tastes changing in her favor, Deputy said she no longer receives those blank stares.

Although consignment shops dot the retail landscape today, Deputy said she believes she sets Glad Rags apart by offering top-notch service.

“The real joy is putting outfits together and giving (customers) the latest fashion tips,” she said. “I’ve always loved clothes, and I keep up with all the latest trends.”

Day in and out, Deputy said she finds great joy in interacting with her customers - whether it is a first-timer or one of her regulars.

“I sometimes ask myself, ‘How did this happen? How did so much time go by?’” she said of the 30-year anniversary. “I have tons of stories and some very funny ones. This has been a really great experience.”

As for the future, Deputy said she plans to continue to evolve her product line as fashions change. But her core business philosophy of investing in customer relationships will continue to remain a key part of the strategy.

“Every day I put the key in that door, I never know what’s going to happen,” she said. “That’s part of the fun.”

Glad Rags Resale Shoppe
W61-N510 Washington Ave., Cedarburg