The Story behind Tattersall’s
Even though we didn’t know it at the time, we were destined to become Vermonters…and to begin a clothing store in Rutland.
My husband, Bill, and I made our first visit to Vermont in 1969…to the beautiful little town of Grafton…where we immediately fell in love with the town, and with Vermont. We visited Grafton every year since that time, usually in the fall, and gradually began to feel more like Vermonters…and less like folks from Connecticut, where we lived at the time.
So, in 1990, after deciding that if we really were Vermonters (we know that no one is a true Vermonter unless you are something like 10th generation, but that doesn’t stop us from feeling like Vermonters) we bought our home in Grafton as a weekend and vacation home.
By 1995, Bill had retired, and I was seeking new challenges. Colleagues in Connecticut suggested that Rutland would be a good place to start a clothing store, and have a business with my name on the storefront. At the time I was the manager of a retail store that catered to runners and outdoors people, so I felt I had the experience to run my own business.
Rutland turned out to be the perfect place to start. It was just the right size to meet our sales goals, and it was re-inventing itself and undergoing a resurgence that we could feel in the enthusiasm of all the folks we talked to. Everyone we met…folks at Green Mountain Bank (now Citizens Bank), the Downtown Rutland Partnership (which had just been formed), and the US Small Business Development Corporation…was exceptionally helpful in getting our new business off the ground. Plus, the absolutely best location in downtown Rutland was available for lease…and owned by the best landlords (Mead Building Inc) that anyone could hope for.
With all of this good karma happening all at once, we knew that this was the place to be.
So, in the summer of 1995, we sold our house in Connecticut, moved to Grafton full time, and opened the doors of Tattersall’s Clothing Emporium in August of 1995.
We experimented with different business models at first, and eventually settled on the model of offering Fun, Funky, and Funktional smart casual clothing in a friendly, warm, and whimsical ambiance. However, despite our change in approach over the years, we have always adhered to the basic theme of carrying quality clothing at a fair price that would be fashionable for many, many years.
In keeping with this philosophy, we are now moving more and more to clothing and accessories made of natural and organic fibres.
To help promote the arts and crafts in Downtown Rutland, from time to time we use our store as a “gallery” to display items made by local artists. Over the recent Christmas holidays, we had on display many beautiful quilts, handmade by the Maple Leaf Quilters. It was a perfect match to our natural and organic philosophy, and to the ambiance we try to create in the store.
In September of 1996, we found the perfect soul mate to help us carry forward our ideas. She was smart, young, local, and an energetic, hard worker…and she recognized what folks wanted in clothing, and what would work for us in keeping with the goals we had set. When she first came to work for us, she was a part timer. But it didn’t take long for us to recognize her skills, and now she has been our Store Manager and Buyer for more than a decade.
Those of you who have visited the store know her as Jenn…and if you are a regular customer, no doubt she has helped you make the perfect choice, or told you straight off that a particular item you picked out was not for you. It is this helpfulness and honesty with customers that makes Jenn such a wonderful asset. But she is more than just a skillful manager and buyer…she is like family, and is as much a part of our family as if she was really my daughter. (Some of you have even asked if she is my daughter, but I’m sorry I can’t claim that honor, as much as I’d like to.)
As for the third member of our team (or family), my husband Bill is basically our marketing guru, keeps up the reams of data we use to chart our course, photographs the clothing and accessories, and prepares them for use in our print advertising and on this Blog (if you like what you see here, thank Bill…he rarely gets praise from us, the poor man).
He (Bill) retired from Saab Cars USA as Director of Planning after 25 years of doing marketing research, product planning, and marketing analysis for them. This career took him to Sweden more times than I can remember, and resulted in his nickname, Bil…which means car in Swedish. So my dear husband is indeed a real Car Guy…and still drives a very fast Saab Turbo. He has slowed down a lot since I first met him, however…which is just fine as far as I am concerned.
As for me, I have a rather diverse background in business, ranging from a 20 year career as a Business Manager at Yale to the management of a running/outdoors shop in Connecticut. I enjoy community involvement, and am an active volunteer in the Downtown Rutland Partnership, the Rutland Region Chamber of Commerce, the Rutland Region Workforce Investment Board, and in RAPAC.
Our social life is relatively simple. We enjoy our close friends in Grafton at casual dinner parties and other outings. But (and very occasionally) we have been known to host friends to black tie events like major birthdays and our 25th Wedding Anniversary in far off Scotland, at a wonderful inn we discovered on our honeymoon many years ago.
I also enjoy outdoor activities like gardening, local community events, and road running. I am an avid runner, and enjoy competing in several events each year, and over the years have shown that I could compete with some of the best. When I was in my 40s, I was nationally ranked by several running magazines.
In the first paragraph I mentioned that I was destined to move to Vermont and to open a clothing store. Perhaps this had something to do with the fact that I came from the woolen district of Yorkshire (a part of the UK not unlike Vermont in many respects), and that my Great Grandfather ran a store on Deansgate in Manchester, which is in Lancashire in the UK.
So, there you have it…starting a clothing store named Tattersall’s has been in my blood for donkey’s years (that’s an old Yorkshire saying).
Owner, Tattersall’s Clothing Emporium