Tara's Sewing Shop expands in Northland Mall
WORTHINGTON -- Tara Kraft is a firm believer in shopping locally.
"I buy local," she said. "The blouse I'm wearing is from Christopher and Banks, the pants from JC Penney, my nails done at Professional Nail, and my perfume is from Peebles."
It's no coincidence that all the stores that Kraft mentioned are located in Worthington's Northland Mall. That's where she has recently expanded her own enterprise, Tara's Sewing Shop, taking over the large retail space in the western end of the mall about two weeks ago.
In the past, Kraft -- who also owns and operates Colonial Laundry and Dry Cleaning with husband Bruce and previously owned a clothing manufacturing business in her native Trinidad-- has specialized in custom-made special occasion apparel. Now, her focus is on ready-to-wear dresses for weddings, proms and Quinceañera celebrations.
"That's what the girls want, they want the brand names," she said. "When you buy a dress like this, it never fits exactly right, so my new job is to make it fit perfectly, but only if they buy it here."
Kraft is assisted in the enterprise by her three daughters -- Angelica, Brianna and Kimberly.
The expansion just happened to coincide with one of the busiest seasons for special occasion apparel -- prom. This season, teen girls are looking for glitter and bright colors, said Kraft.
"Some want a fitted dress, some want the princess look," she said, pointing out examples on mannequins strategically placed in the store's large window displays. "Bright colors are really hot."
Kiss-Kiss is a popular brand for prom dresses. In the bridal realm, Kraft stocks Mori Lee, Mary's Bridal and Maggie Sottero designs.
"Other companies don't fit as good," she said. "These are the best dresses in America as far as perfect fit. The others are out of proportion."
In addition to the dresses, Kraft stocks an assortment of accessories to go with the dresses. She's also added a selection of purses, tops and more casual dresses in order to entice the more casual browser. Tara's Sewing Shop recently became a dealer for Brother sewing machines.
"They are reasonably priced but good machines," Kraft said. "We have the starter machines and the (more expensive) machines for people who like to do quilting."
By investing in her business, Kraft is determined to give people more of a reason to spend their shopping dollars in Worthington. She sees it as a way of giving back to the community.
"I'm doing it, too, for the mall," she said about expanding her enterprise, "to show that the mall has something to come to. I see the little kids come running down the hall to look at the dresses, and they dream of wearing such a dress someday.
"I want people to look and see what we have here before you got out of town to buy elsewhere," she continued. "You can get something here and help our town. I want to promote my business, promote the mall and promote the community."
Even though the store has only been open for a couple of weeks, Kraft is pleased with the feedback she's gotten from the people who frequent the Northland Mall.
"I wanted to see the response of people, and it's been a beautiful response," she said.
Tara's Sewing Shop is open from 2 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and noon to 5 p.m. Saturday.
Daily Globe Features Editor Beth Rickers can be reached at 376-7327