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Alliance SBDC News

GIRLFRIENDS... The Bra Specialists

While engaged in academic administration at Illinois Valley Community College, Kathy Glascock began working with the local SBDC to plan Girlfriends… the Bra Specialists, a boutique for women who wanted the best options in brassieres. Her product plan focused on bras available in European sizing, a system known for better fitting garments. For almost fourteen years, her boutique in Peru has offered solutions for every need. Glascock and her highly trained staff help women find the right fit, with expertise fitting post mastectomy to brides in their formal attire. Glascock’s boutique welcomed every new client with a confidential fitting session, recording the details in a private file.

While Glascock understood when her boutique was deemed non-essential, it wasn’t the reality. “I provided garments to essential workers, including nurses and agricultural workers. For current clients, I could pull their file and mail the needed garment.” Since Glascock carries over ten prestigious lines of bras in stock, she needed to meet invoices for the inventory ordered before the forced closure of her shop. “Banks had no answers when it came to SBA programs. I’m glad Amy Lambert at the SBDC could help me navigate the application processes.” A payroll protection program loan enabled her to keep serving her clientele and maintain her supply chain. Eventually, the boutique made curbside services available.

When the business restrictions abated as the state metrics improved, Glascock was able to resume fittings for current and new customers. There was obvious damage to her industry: Victoria Secret in the Peru Mall closed permanently due to the pandemic along with other specialty lingerie stores. Many area women were forced to rely on mail order and off-the-rack to hopefully find the right garment. With retirement on her mind, Glascock plans to address the new demand as she seeks a buyer for the business. She expresses gratitude to the SBDC for helping her protect the value of her business during the worst conditions for business in fourteen years.


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