Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Monogram Store Expands in City despite Economy

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Monogram Store Expands in City despite Economy

Article excerpt

Susie Martin was making a comfortable living as the owner of a western wear store in the early 1980s when she noticed the store was not taking full advantage of a popular trend.

Many western wear buyers loved to adorn their new attire with monograms. Martin's store, Allen's Boots and Jeans in Midwest City, provided monogramming, but only by sending it out for someone else to do.

So in 1982, when western wear sales soured with the oil bust, Martin decided to enter the monogramming business, even though she knew absolutely nothing about the domestic artform.

"I was not one of those women who took her towels to be monogramed as a bride," she said. "I couldn't tell you where to go to have it done or how it was done. But I was a business person and I saw something I thought I could market."

That insight took root in "Monograms by Susie," and despite the economic problems that shook Oklahoma City in the 1980s, her chain grew from one to three shops:

- 7101 E. Reno Ave., opened in 1982.

- At Crossroads Mall, opened in 1984.

- At Penn Square Mall, opened in 1988.

Business has been so good in the Crossroads store that Martin recently relocated within the mall from a small booth to a 500-square-foot site.

"I have had a gain in each store each month so far this year," said Martin, 43. "For the first three months of this year, my sales are up 24 percent.

"The popularity and affordability of monogramming has been brought about by technology. It created a market because you don't have to have a bunch of little old ladies sitting at a sewing machine in the kitchen stitching away.

"All I have to do is hook my hoops to the machine, turn it on and walk away. The machine sews away, making a perfect stitch every time."

Martin said she can take an inexpensive $2.99 tote bag and make it a special personalized gift for just $5. The average cost of monogramming an item is $5. …

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