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Mi-Lady Fashions closes after 20 years

Judy Feduk closed up Mi-Lady Fashions for the last time Aug. 7. After 20 good years in the women's fashion business in Carlyle, she simply decided "it was time.
Some of the Mi-Lady Fashions customers from over the years gave owner, Judy Feduk, a surprise party to celebrate her 20 years in business. They surprised her with cake and coffee on Aug. 6, the day before she closed the doors to Mi-Lady Fashions for good.

Judy Feduk closed up Mi-Lady Fashions for the last time Aug. 7. After 20 good years in the women's fashion business in Carlyle, she simply decided "it was time."

Feduk opened the store in September 1990 on what she calls a "spur of the moment" decision.

"It's a little silly, but I was driving down Main Street and I noticed Lawrek's were closing out and I decided I was going to buy it and I did," Feduk recalled. "It was a spur of the moment thing that lasted 20 years."

The building which housed Mi-Lady Fashions has a long history - one which dates back to 1963 - of being in women's fashion. Charlie and Ellen Wilson first purchased the building - the old Linton building - and opened a ladies' wear shop called 'Wilson's Specialty Shop.' They continued to run the store until 1971 when Fred and Marlene Lawrek bought them out. The name of their store was Lawrek's Specialty Shop.

Over the years, Feduk said she has many fond memories of running the store.

"It was fun," said Feduk. "We had a lot of fun. We met great people, great customers. We had ladies who came back every summer who just came for the summer and were really good friends. There were a lot of ladies you looked forward to seeing through the summer."

She also witnessed a lot of change over the past 20 years.

"When I first had the store, we used to have to go to market four times a year," Feduk recalled. "One was sporting and another was dress market, because at one time 90 percent of the stuff in the store was dresses. When I first bought that store the biggest thing in the store was dresses. At the end it was only two markets a year and just about all the dress companies I had dealt with had gone bankrupt."

"People aren't buying dresses," she continued. "If they're going to a wedding they'll get a pair of capris, a pant suit, a skirt and a top so they can get more use out of it."

In contrast to when she opened up shop and carried 90 percent dresses, when she closed, her dress selection was limited.

"We had very few dresses," said Feduk. "There were the real fun casual dresses."

Feduk's ability to "go with the flow" helped her manage the always-changing styles in her store over the years. She said she never anticipated where things might go next, but commented on the fact capris, for example, went in and out of style many times.

"I think when I first bought the store, very few ladies my age wore jeans," explained Feduk. "That came in, in the [past] 20 years where everyone is wearing jeans. When I first started working, you couldn't go to work in a pair of pants. You wore a dress or you wore a skirt."

While she ran Mi-Lady Fashions, she had three loyal employees over the 20 years. There were other summer students who came and went, but these three made up her main employees.

One of these employees, Deborah Lothain, became a close friend of hers as they worked side-by-side for many years.

The day before she closed her store for good, a group of women customers from over the years paid her a really nice surprise as a way of thanking her for all her years of service. They stopped into the store with coffee and cake.

"It was a really nice, complete surprise," Feduk expressed.

With the store closed, Feduk plans to see the world and enjoy her time without having to work.

"I'm going to do some travelling," said Feduk. "I think we're going to go to Hawaii this winter. We're booked for Acapulco, [Mexico] at Christmas and we're going to Vegas in October, so we're going to do a bit. Basically we're going to places we haven't been."

She's excited to set out on her first trip, but at the same time she said she will miss all the wonderful people she met over the years through the store.

"I'm going to miss the people, I'm not going to miss going to work every day," said Freduk. "Thank you to all my wonderful customers and my wonderful staff over the years, and good luck to Kenny [King].

Ken King, owner of King's Department Store will be expanding his retail location in Carlyle into the old Mi-Lady Fashions building to cater to the same women Mi-Lady Fashions catered to over the past 20 years.