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Jones to retire after 33 years at store

12-year employee to be new owner

Published: Monday, June 30, 2014 11:08 a.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, June 30, 2014 11:45 a.m. CDT
(Zach Johnson/Daily News)
After 33 years of owning The Dressing Room, Shirley Jones (left) is retiring and has sold the store to 12-year employee Mary Shaw. Mary will take over for Shirley in July.

The Dressing Room Owner Shirley Jones has decided to retire and sell the store to her 12-year employee Mary Shaw. The store will remain open and will continue to offer the same traditional service it has for the past 33 years.

“Nothing is going to change. It will have the same employees and services with one exception: I won’t be here,” Shirley said.

Mary has a mixture of scared and excited emotions when she thinks about taking over The Dressing Room.

“I have a set of pretty big shoes to fill when I take over the store,” Mary said.

The Dressing Room has been open for 33 years and is recognized as one of the longest running retail stores in Newton. When Shirley started the business with her former partner named Karen O’Leary, it never crossed their minds that the business wasn’t going to work.

“I think we were both naive enough that we knew we could do it,” Shirley said. “It wasn’t until five years after we opened that we realized it has really taken off.”

The store has seen many changes in fashion over the past 33 years, as women have gone from dressy to more casual fashions for work and play.

“We have decent clothes. We don’t take things that we know won’t sell,” Shirley said. “We want our customers to go through our jeans and not find 1940s style of jeans, which I have seen in other stores. We only take the best and give it a decent price on all our clothes.”

It wasn’t until a few years ago that Mary asked Shirley if she would ever be interested in buying the store.

“I have always thought of it as being something for down the road,” Shirley said. “It wasn’t until last year when I thought I was getting too old and it was time for me to step away from the store.”

“When Shirley told me that she was ready, the only words I could say were ‘Are you sure?’”

A couple of years ago, Shirley moved to Des Moines and has been commuting to the store. Commuting is one of the things that she won’t miss.

“I will truly miss everyone because they have become family,” Shirley said. “I will still come in and check in on the girls every now and again.”

The one message Shirley and Mary want the customers to know is that the store will truly remain the same when it comes to the people, sales and service.

“We love it when people just decide to come on in to say hello, look around or shop,” Shirley said. “So, come on in and visit the store.”