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A Little Shopping Haven in Cambridge

May 18, 2011

When Jan Carpenter started a part-time job at The Garment Shop in Cambridge 33 years ago, she never suspected she would one day run the store. But, Carpenter knew she had fallen in love with the world of fashion and since taking over in 1994, she has funneled this passion into her career, expanding the store’s selection of unique clothing and creating lasting relationships with her customers.

On a sunny Friday afternoon, we set down with Carpenter to find out more about her little shopping haven in Cambridge.

What kind of fashion inspires the clothes you carry in the store?

I know my customers. So when I go to the market, I know how to buy things they will like. [It’s not about] why I like…I [pick inventory] for my customers.

What style of clothing do you sell?

Traditional and casual clothes. My customers don’t like [to show] a lot of bare skin. So I buy [clothes] to help them cover their arms [and feeling comfortable]. I also have some fun clothing and fun styles. Also it’s a big thing to add accessories.

What kind of women frequent your store?

I get all ages. I tell them, there is no old lady anymore…I hate [that idea]. Women nowadays travel, they are more fashionable. They are conscious about the clothes they wear. And my customers want customer service. That’s what we [can provide] here.

What is unique about your store?

The customer service. The greetings we give to our customers and the friendliness. I have people who have never been here and they are amazed at all the clothes, all the things you don’t see in the department stores.

Plus, the prices are decent and the clothing is quality. I try to buy garments made in the U.S. which is hard, or Canada. I know women that come here [are often surprised] to see a store like this in Cambridge. I carry everything from XS to XXXL. And I carry a few items for men, too.

What are the must-have items this spring?

I really love doing flowers. I always love to pin flowers in my clothes and accessories. Some unique tops and my sparkle caps. I sell a lot of them and I wear them all the time. And though some women [are nervous about] wearing them because of their hair, once I get them modeled, they love them.

The Garment Shop is located at 125 Main St., Cambridge; (608)423-3740

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