Familiar business moves, morphs, brings the blingShoppers looking for the downtown business Corporate Apparel will find it at 111 and 113 Elm St., opening Oct. 19.
By: Debbie Griffin, River Falls Journal
Shoppers looking for the downtown business Corporate Apparel will find it at 111 and 113 Elm St., opening Oct. 19.
Owner Mike Kramer says the store still offers screen-printing and embroidery for all kinds of apparel, as well as customized promotional items.
Those might include yardsticks, pens, candy packages, a wall crawler, novelty buttons, vanity mirrors, adhesive bandages, key chains, letter openers and magnets.
Kramer adds, “It’s not just clothing.”
People can customize any one item from thousands of choices if they, for example, need giveaway items for conferences or exhibit booths.
The owner says the newest space is Corporate Apparel’s biggest home yet at 3,000 square feet and one with a winning location and internal configuration.
He’s excited to have enough room for everything and to be able to separate the production side of the business from the retail side of the business.
Customers entering through the 111 Elm St. door will be in the printed-materials area where they can peruse, order, pick up and consult about what they need printed.
Customers entering through the 113 Elm St. door will find a new division of the business, Bling & Things rhinestone apparel and accessories. Shoppers there will meet Reine Mayer, Kramer’s fiancée, as well as the retail manger and buyer for Bling & Things.
She and Kramer describe the inventory as everything from “toe rings to fedora hats,” featuring shiny, sparkly adornments. Though the two are still in the process of stocking the retail area, already hanging up are bedazzled tops; cotton leggings that look like jeans; anklets, rings and other jewelry; belts; and hats.
Also within CA’s retail space will be the UWRF Cubby area featuring licensed UW-River Falls apparel such as sweatshirts, hoodies and fleece.
Mayer added, “And they can still have anything they want printed on anything.”
The two say they’ll be building inventory for the next several weeks.
Kramer said Corporate Apparel, which started in 1986 on Grand Avenue in St. Paul, moved to River Falls eight years ago.
It started in a tiny space on Riverwalk, trying two other spots on Main Street before finding this perfectly configured space in what used to be the Gaylord Law Offices.
“This was just sitting empty,” he said about the new location. “The difference is, this has a dedicated space for the retail side.”
A conversation with the building owner led Kramer to see potential in the space, especially for separate entrances to the retail and production sides.
His observations over many years told him that people were occasionally confused or apprehensive about walking in to shop for retail items at what looked like a production area.
Kramer and Mayer say store hours will be posted on the door when set and will likely be day-business hours Wednesday through Saturday, possibly with one late night a week during holiday season.
People can visit Corporate Apparel’s website anytime to get more information and look at the different promotional items available.