Schaefer’s - Women’s Fashion Destination
Ahead of the Times
Online ShoppingWith a global pandemic pausing the world, the rise of online shopping has increased dramatically. With customer's wanting to support local businesses, Schaefer's has made it easy for their customers by offering personalized shopping services, virtual shopping and ordering by phone or email. The pandemic has also shifted the way Schaefer's sources their clothing with many high end brands offering fashion shows via zoom and other online platforms.
2010 Mindset Shifts: Don't let age define your fashion!Another key shift in fashion took place around 2010 as women started to wear whatever they wanted, regardless of their age. No longer were women prescribed what generational fashion should look like. Instead women at any age started dressing whatever they wanted. Women realized that age is not related to how you feel or look and that you have the freedom to express yourself however you want. Focusing on fit, Schaefers brought modern trends to women of all ages and encouraged their customers to play with their personal style and self-expression.
Proudly CanadianAs fashion continued to evolve, Schaefer’s was a leader in providing Goderich and the area with exceptional clothing. Still supporting Canadian designers, Schaefer's prides itself on offering around 50% of their merchandise made by Canadian companies from coast to coast. Trends became more subtle and focused on a shift in colours, prints and seasons. But overall, classic, quality clothing remains essential.
Casual Clothing Reigns in the 90'sAs the fashion trends evolved in the 1990s, so too did Schaefer's, veering away from the suit driven wardrobes of the 1980s and into a more casual aesthetic. As women tried to balance both their families and professional careers, there was a distinct shift towards more casual clothing.
Louise’s daughter Anne joined the staff of Schaefer’s in 1998 to work full time and become the store Manager in 2002.
More Women in BusinessThe 1980s saw another key shift in the fashion industry: more women in business. The need for ladies business wear was apparent and Schaefer’s provided working women of Huron County with high quality options.
Louise Schaefer also saw this trend emerge as she took over the role of purchasing from her father and was one of the first female purchasers in the area. In 1988 Louise became a partner with her father in the business. With more women in management positions and holding a position of power, women were interested in adding to their wardrobe, feeling confident and looking beautiful. These social changes were reflected in the store as the world became more progressive, Schaefer's changed with the times, offering everything the modern woman needed.
New Materials and Distinctive TrendsIn the 1970s fashion experienced a tremendous shift with the introduction of new materials such as polyester and Crimpeline. Many women were making clothing for their family and the new fabrics created many fashion forward trends such as mint and pink pantsuits, bold patterns, bell bottoms, Levis and Maxi coats (which went over exceptionally well, despite the Huron County mud). Each week John and Bill would drive to Toronto and return with the latest fashion trends which would fly out the doors of Schaefer's as women had more disposable income and wanted to invest in their appearance and stay up to date on the changing times. With the dawning of the Sexual Revolution in the 1970s, Schaefer’s expanded their lingerie and sleepwear merchandise.
Modernization and a Change of AddressIn 1959 George Schaefer bought 162 Court House Square from Mr. Atchison. Shortly after the 162 location was closed and major renovations took place. The dirt floor basement was dug down to create a functioning lower level selling space for flooring, window coverings, bedding and towels and fabric. The front of the store was redesigned into a modern ceramic front with large display windows and an alcove for window shopping. An updated heating system was installed and air conditioning was installed which was quite a big deal in the early ’60s. In 1961 the 142 location was sold and a brand new store opened to the public under the name Schaefer’s Ladies Wear at 162 Court House Square.
Delivering the Latest Trends To GoderichSchaefer’s continued to source the latest trends from travelling salesmen and from Toronto, which had a large fashion industry and produced exceptional clothing, right here in Canada. Post WWII, people had more funds to invest in their clothes and fashion veered away from being strictly utilitarian. As the desires of the community changed, Schaefer's provided high quality clothing to meet those needs. In the early 1950s there was a fire at the location at 142 The Square. The fire didn’t do much structural damage but the heat, smoke and water caused a major interruption to business.
The Business ExpandsIn 1949, John Schaefer officially joined his father and the business became George W. Schaefer and Son. The business did further name change when the youngest son Bill Schaefer joined the family business in 1954. Operating under the name of Geo W Schaefer and Sons it continued to serve the community with ladies’ clothing, and household merchandise such as flooring, curtains, blinds, wallpaper, bedding and towels.
Personal ServiceWhen entering the store, each customer was greeted by Mr. Schaefer at the door, where they would be introduced to a helpful sales person. Always dressed in a suit and tie and looking dapper, Schaefer’s love of serving his customers, developing relationships and fulfilling the needs of the community are apparent right from the start.
The BeginningWhen George Schaefer opened the doors to his clothing and household goods store in 1929 on Black Friday, little did he know the legacy of resilience, service and fashion forward business he was creating. Despite the global impact of the stock market crash, George Schaefer went on to run a prolific Ladies Wear business at 142 The Square, which is the current location of Wuerth's Shoes, where he served Goderich and the area for years. Travelling to Toronto weekly, George Schaefer would bring quality fashions and household products to Goderich, connecting rural Ontario with urban centres.
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