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Dressbarn celebrates 20 years

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Even though store manager Jennifer Anderson has only been at the Dressbarn in the Medford Outlet Center for three years, she hopes to still be at the store for the 40-year celebration. 
In March, the store celebrated being located at the Outlet Center for 20 years. 
“I so believe in the mission here, it brings me to tears to think about it. Their mission and sole purpose is to inspire women to look and feel beautiful and to understand the real body,” Anderson said. 
The company itself has an even longer history, as it was established in 1962 by Roslyn Jaffe, a mother of three who dared to work and launched a new era of women’s fashion including pencil skirts, sheer blouses, flares, furs and leather coats. Today the store has 830 stores nationwide. 
Anderson, who is originally from the Rochester area, has worked in the retail industry for over 20 years. Before coming to Outlet Center, she worked at J. Jill in Rochester until it closed, at Shopko as a customer service and apparel manager and then as the assistant manager of the Dressbarn in Rochester for a year. She then transferred to the center after the manager position opened up. 
“I thought that was what my path was going to be working in big box retail, but I missed the customer interaction, the one-on-one,” Anderson said. “We get that here and we get to build a relationship with her (the customer) and really help her find herself here in the store.” 
Anderson says she enjoys working for the company because of its values including that an employee needs balance between work and their life outside of work. 
She also enjoys being able to help women. 
“I get to not only inspire my team but inspire women to feel beautiful,” she said. “I love the idea that we get to be her best friend when she walks into the store. We get to be her advisor when her best friend is not in the room.” 
Although Dressbarn’s traditional target customer is in her 40s, Anderson says they are seeing more and more young women coming into the store. When asked why the store has lasted 20 years at the Outlet Center she said, “Because we are her hidden secret. She can come here and get everything she needs… her work clothes, her play clothes and that dress for date night in one spot.” 
Anderson said her experience at the Outlet Center has been great not only because of the community it is situated in, but also because of the Outlet Center’s General Manager Sharon Paulson. 
“The energy is great and the people are great, it is like a close-knit family,” she said. She added Paulson is great about touching base with all of the store managers to see how things are going and to help with marketing. 
Anderson’s hope for the future is that the store can continue to grow, inspire women and remain at the Outlet Center for another 20 years. 
Long-time sales associate Kathy Krueger, of Owatonna, has worked with the company for 11 years and the Outlet Center for nearly 20 years. Before becoming an employee at Dressbarn she worked at Petite Sophisticate until it closed its doors. 
“I filled out an application, was in a few times to check things out and here I am,” Krueger said. “I like the clothing, there are always changes going on and it is a fun place to work.” 
Beside the constant changes in product and styles, Krueger enjoys the customers. She says what sets the Outlet Center apart from other malls is “We are country folk and we are there to help.” 
When asked why the store has lasted so long, Krueger responded, “Because the company works with us… they let us know if there is a problem or we let them know and then we correct it.” 
Krueger’s hope for the future is that the store can continue selling product and remain at the Outlet Center for many years. 
New this year for all Dressbarn locations along with the website is the DRESSBAR, a collection of dresses made by designers including LUXE by Carmen Marc Valvo, Mixt by Heidi Weisel, Lovely by Adrianna Papell or Dressbarn’s Fashion Studio. 
Online, customers can also search for dresses specific to the occasion such as a wedding, a date night or weekend fun along with how she is feeling including compliment ready, daring or fun and femme. 
“When you think about it some of these designers their average price points are well elevated and we wanted to make sure that we came in at her value pricing. You are going to be able to get this red carpet designer at a fabulous price,” Anderson said. 

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