By SCOTT AUST, FCEDC Director of Communications
Editor’s Note: This story is part of a month-long series called the 25 Days of Downtown Christmas that will highlight the fantastic selection of retailers in downtown Garden City.
Over 34 years, Leigh Kepley’s business has evolved to meet customer needs but one thing has never changed — an emphasis on great customer service.
“When we started it, it was my mom (Mary Lee Springer) and I and my sister (Sandy Devore), and we started just as maternity and children’s clothing. No ladies, no anything else. We were strictly a children’s store,” said Kepley, owner of Little Britches/Moodz, 320 N. Main St. “It just started evolving as times changed. We re-evaluate every year. We went into juniors and then we went into ladies and then we added prom — and that’s huge now — just things to meet the needs of the community, basically.”
The store serves women of all ages. It has a baby department, a large selection of women’s clothing, accessories, shoes, a line of dresses for mothers of brides, and is well known for its prom department which has taken up the second floor of the business since it was implemented in 2000. The store employs around five people. The big rush for prom season starts just after Christmas and attracts customers from throughout the area as well as Colorado and Oklahoma.
“I still love it. Every year’s a challenge it seems like. End of year is always reevaluation time – what are we going to do different to keep the doors open because it’s a lot harder than it used to be,” Kepley said.
One of those challenges today is competing with online shopping. Kepley feels that for brick and mortar stores like hers, the best way to compete is to offer unparalleled customer service.
“You develop relationships with your customers that online can’t do. We know them, we know their kids, we know what they do, and on and on. But I think that’s what keeps us in business. We’re probably friends more than anything,” she said.
In the past, Kepley said she might have said it was the gift wrapping or other special things the store does for customers that kept them coming in. But more and more, she believes it is the personal relationships that develop in face to face interaction with customers that make the difference.
Downtown’s atmosphere is another plus. It’s family oriented, she said, and year after year she sees families coming back to the store, almost a generational tradition that is hard to replicate in a big box store.
“We’ve watched the kids grow up and then start dressing their own kids. In 34 years, we’ve seen it all,” she said. “I personally love the Shop Small concept because I think that kind of gets forgotten sometimes. We work hard to get people down here and keep them down here. To me, that’s really important.”
Little Britches/Moodz store hours are 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. From now until Christmas, the store is offering 25 percent off storewide.