Specially Hers to close in Baraboo

July 9, 2018 GMT

Downtown Baraboo will lose one of its top draws at year’s end when Jan Deppe closes Specially Hers.

After 35 years selling clothes, Deppe is ready to retire at age 75. “It’s time,” she said.

Specializing in women’s dresses and wedding wear, Specially Hers draws customers from across the Midwest. It’s offering merchandise at 30 to 70 percent off until the shop closes Dec. 31.

“We bring a ton of people to Baraboo,” Deppe said. “A ton of people.”

“Specially Hers has been stop No. 1 for weddings, proms, any bling occasion,” said Dee Marshall, president of Downtown Baraboo Inc. “Her window displays made the whole block sparkle.”

Deppe said the retirement sale is designed to liquidate inventory gradually. Special orders will continue to be taken through September.

“I just don’t want people to think we’re closing the doors next week,” she said. “Everyone’s orders will be completed. People will get their merchandise. It’s not a fire sale.”

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Shop history

The shop started in a sliver of a storefront on Fourth Street in 1983, when Deppe — whose expertise lay in landscape design and interior design — saw a need for a women’s clothing outlet downtown. She started out selling lingerie, sleepwear and maternity wear.

The 1,200-square-foot shop operated where husband David Deppe’s mother once ran a sportswear shop. Over time, Specially Hers expanded into the basement, into a neighboring storefront that formerly housed a salon and a bakery, and atop a former parking lot to the rear. Today it covers 7,500 square feet and employs eight.

As demand waned, Deppe dropped maternity clothes and began carrying dresses instead. She later spotted a niche in the market for plus sizes. Brides and professionals flocked. Word of mouth and traffic from bridal shows made Specially Hers a destination.

“You change with the times,” she said. “I always searched for a need in the community, and that’s how we expanded.”

Many customers arrive saying they’ve scoured Wisconsin in unsuccessful dress searches. Invariably, they quickly find something they like in Specially Hers’ inventory of 3,000 dresses.

In many cases, customers from other states have become regulars, making annual visits or buying by mail. “I’ve made many good friends with customers,” Deppe said. “The customers we sold prom dresses to are buying mother-of-the-bride dresses.”

Closing time

Knowing she was unlikely to find a successor who could afford to buy all her inventory, Deppe decided to hold a retirement sale. The Deppes plan to sell the building. Later, they’ll move Specially Hers’ leftover inventory to their prom store inside the Fourth Avenue Retail Center, another building the Deppes own, before eventually renting that space.

Even before a regional advertising campaign got underway, customers found out about the retirement sale.

“They’re sorry to see us go,” Deppe said. “It’s been an asset to the community.”

Marshall said the downtown business district will feel this loss, too.

“Entire wedding parties could have their fittings, then shop and eat downtown,” she said. “We will miss her store, and her staff, a lot.”

The feeling, Deppe said, is mutual.

“I’ll miss the people,” she said. “It’s gratifying to be able to help people.”