By COLlive reporter
Kingston Avenue is losing the store which has been elegantly dressing the boys and girls of the Crown Heights neighborhood and beyond for the past 33 years.
Mrs. Simone Gansburg‘s innate sense of style and her unique selection of designer merchandise have drawn a diverse clientele to her store, Simone’s Place.
“When my daughters were growing up, in the early 70’s, it was very difficult to find dresses,” Gansburg told COLlive.com what it was like to find clothing for her children when they were little.
“I had to shop all over to find something,” she says. “There was one store in Williamsburg and maybe one on the East Side, but there was nothing to choose from. There were no children’s clothing stores in Boro Park. There was no Gap or H&M and obviously no ‘online’ shopping.”
Possessing entrepreneurship with an understanding of fashion and a skill for sewing, Gansburg set out to make clothing available. “I knew how to sew, so I used my sewing machine to create dresses for my girls,” she recalls.
It started out in the basement of her home and she quickly drew a very grateful customer base of local and worldwide parents, as people often came to the neighborhood to visit the Rebbe at the nearby Lubavitch World Headquarters.
The annual Tishrei guests from Israel and France who came to 770 Eastern Parkway couldn’t wait to stop at the store on Kingston Avenue to get the nicest coats that couldn’t be found anywhere else, she explains.
“Not only were they able to find clothes in the neighborhood, but because I was able to sew I helped make every outfit a perfect fit. If it was too tight, too wide, short, long, my seamstress and I worked together to make the customers happy,” she says.
To insure that clothing for girls were modest, she convinced the clothing companies to give her extra material so she could add it to the dresses to make them tznius.
“This saved the girls from wearing an additional layer underneath their dress in the summer’s heat,” she says. “When I couldn’t obtain material, I connected two customers who wanted the same dress, and suggested they buy an extra dress together and use it to add sleeves.
“I was also able to help the girls who did not want to dress ‘nerdy’ and were attracted to the trendy dresses that were not always fully tznius. I altered the dresses to make the dresses suitable,” says Gansburg, who is now a grandmother.
“Every mother with a daughter knows how difficult clothes shopping can be. For example when bubble dresses were in style, I knew how to lengthen the dresses without losing the bubble. I loved to see my customers happy and have helped them in this way then, and still help them now.”
Yet, with the clothing options expanding tremendously in Brooklyn and online, Gansburg is saying goodbye to Simone’s Place.
Customers will have one last opportunity to purchase from her better children’s clothes. Simone is now leaving the business and is liquidating her merchandise with a huge wall to wall final clearance sale.
Everything is now 50% off until Sunday, Feb. 15, on Shabbos clothes, robes, coats, suits, skirts, uniforms and more. After that, the store will be under new management, COLlive has learned.
So what’s next for Simone? In the past, Gansburg helped Shluchos handsomely dress their boys for family simchas by generously providing them with tuxedos free of charge. She says she plans to expand this gemach by adding gowns and opening it to the entire community.