Carmen's Style Shoppe; A family affair

Years ago, when I had just moved back to this area, I was having a rough time with things. We were forced to move abruptly and had to downsize quite a bit. I was looking for a job, and the work I had done previously required I wear a uniform of sorts.I didn't have much in the way of "respectable job candidate" attire. I was feeling lost and just happened to walk into this little clothing store along the main street in Superior.

I didn't have much money and wondered why I had even bothered coming in when this woman came from the back and said hello. Not "How can I help you" but simply "Hello." I replied I was just looking, and she said, "My name is Carmen. Let me know if you need anything." As I looked around the store, we made conversation. I eventually told her I needed something to wear for an interview but was on a tight budget. I left the store that day without breaking my budget and with a new top, feeling a bit lighter and ready for my interview. That day is one I have never forgotten, and when I am looking for something new to wear, I always stop at Carmen's first because of it!

Carmen Bruening, has owned and operated the retail store Carmen's Style Shoppe in downtown Superior since 1974. Before owning the store, she worked there for the Maxwells. At one time, the building held a department store that filled all three levels. Today the basement serves as storage, the main floor is, of course, the shop, and the upstairs is a private residence.

Before owning the store, Carmen worked as a tailor and did alterations. She said she didn't like patching jeans and never imagined torn jeans would be sold in her store. She has rolled with the times and the ever-changing fashions over the years but is still not a big fan of ripped jeans. When her granddaughter, Kirby Clark, decided she wanted to give retail a go and brought in the dreaded torn jeans, Carmen just shook her head and said, "not my money!"

Kirby had previously worked in health care. When she and her husband decided to start their family, she made a choice to stay home with the babies while they were little. In 2018, when the walls started closing in, as us moms know they do, Kirby went to work with her grandmother at her home away from home. A little at a time, Kirby brought in boutique clothing and, with it, a younger clientele.

Although Carmen has kept up with the styles of today, the younger crowd didn't seem to be venturing into the store. Kirby began with a Facebook group, then a website, and has recently launched an app for smartphones and tablets, allowing folks to shop wherever they might be.

You will find the store still offers traditional fashions along with the new laid-back style of today. Whatever your needs, women's clothing, children's, or tuxedo rentals, the women at Carmen's will have you looking dapper.

Even though Carmen is not in the tailoring business anymore, she will still alter purchase if needed and have a tux fitting perfect for the big day. Just don't ask her to patch your jeans!

Carmen Bruening and her granddaughter, Kirby Clark, partnered in 2018 at Carmen's in Superior. Kirby thought the two of them might butt heads, but the duo has gotten along rather well and their styles seem to be blending seamlessly. Carmen's Style Shoppe offers traditional clothing as well as today's popular boutique clothing and purchases can be made in store, through their website or on their new app.


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