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Clothing store sports fresh look downtown

October 04, 2005|By BONNIE H. BRECHBILL

bonnieb@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A 75-year-old women's clothing store is sporting a fresher, younger look.

Worth's has been in four downtown Chambersburg locations with as many owners since Milton Horn started the store about 1930.

Luann Fretz took over the business Aug. 15, made some dcor changes and is targeting "a broader range of ages of customers," she said.

Fretz, 34, said she will cater to the over-35 woman with very classic looks. The target age was older under the previous management, and "we're trying to bring that down with some younger looks," she said.

She has added Icelandic sweaters, boiled wool jackets, Henry Lee dresses and Venesha angora coats and has updated the Ingenuity line.

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Ingenuity includes washable, classically-styled suits made in Canada.

"They wear forever," Fretz said, noting that her grandmother, who lives in a nursing home, has one. "It has been commercially washed for five years and it still looks like new."

Strawberry and olive are Ingenuity's new colors this fall, she added.

The daughter of Tom and Mary Stonesifer, who own Park Avenue Pharmacy, Fretz said she "grew up in the retail business. And I enjoy clothes."

One thing Fretz did not change is the layout of the store, with most of the racks along the walls.

"Shoppers appreciate the roominess," she said.

Worth's carries moderately priced women's clothes including foundations, night wear, dresses, blouses, skirts, coats and sweaters.

Saleswoman Pauline Wenger has worked at Worth's for seven years. On a recent morning, Wenger, dressed in a black skirt, white blouse and orange sweater, greeted customers as they walked in.

"Customer service is a big draw," Fretz said. "Customers are greeted at the door and, from the dressing room back to the door, they get personal service."

"We're honest," Fretz added. "We're not going to say something looks great if it doesn't."

The ledges above the shopping area are decorated with chairs and family quilts. A popular change is the addition of a sitting area with two large, white wing chairs and an area rug. "Older men bring their wives in, and (the men) can sit here and relax," while the wife tries on clothes, Fretz said.

The husband of a customer did just that on a recent morning. The customer was shopping for a suit for a wedding with Wenger's assistance.

Wenger said she helps customers to look nice and to feel good about what they're wearing.

"I like to be pleased as well as they are when they leave," she said.

Fretz is pleased with the store's location on South Main Street.

"The downtown is really coming back," she said. "A nice salon just came in beside us. Things seem to be picking up. Many events are scheduled from now through the Ice Festival" in January.

Fretz said she has ordered everything for spring, when textures and bright colors will be big.

Fretz, a former teacher at James Buchanan Middle School for 12 years, and her husband, Darrin, have one child and she is pregnant with their second. Darrin Fretz is a teacher at Chambersburg Area Senior High School.

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