WAYNE — Cheers to 100 years.
A year-long celebration — with that theme — is taking place at Swans Apparel in Wayne, marking a century of business along Wayne’s Main Street.
The cheering, along with cupcakes and cookies, balloons and flowers and, of course, store specials, already took place at two quarterly parties this year. One was held in February and another in May. Two more customer appreciation events are scheduled for this fall and during the Christmas season.
“We hope to continue the business’ legacy,” said the store’s current owners, Jen and Chad Claussen, “with many more celebrations.”
The Claussens purchased Swans four years ago, while Jen’s connections as store employee go back 11 years.
Swans’ legacy includes a 100-year history under only four different owners.
In 1887, grocer A. T. Witter sold his wares in one of the first two-story buildings to go up on the east side of the street,
In 1919, Maude McLean and Anna McCreary established a millinery store in the building. A year later, McLean was wed to Al Swan. The millinery store was renamed and the Swans’ tradition began. Because the building became the location for hat sales instead of groceries in 1919, Jen decided to celebrate the store’s century of progress from that date forward.
“That’s when our history truly, truly, truly starts,” Claussen said.
In 1928, a ready-to-wear line of clothing was added to the shop’s custom-made hats; and in 1932, the wooden building —one of the oldest remaining buildings in Wayne’s business district at the time — was replaced with a brick structure on the same site.
In 1936, the store was renamed Swans Clothing. It housed men’s clothing on one side of the building and ladies’ fashion on the other. At various times, the men’s clothing was moved to locations in the store’s basement and in other buildings across the street.
The Claussens purchased business in February of 2015, and reopened its doors following a mini-face lift, which included new displays and layout. They added styles for women of all ages and all price ranges, Claussen said.
“We carry a little bit of everything,” she said, and is most satisfied to see three generations of a family shopping together, each carrying out a purchase.
The Claussens opened Swans for Men across the street in a former jewelers building, with a ribbon-cutting in the fall of 2017. Swans for Men carries fine dress clothing for men; shirts, slacks and ties for special occasions; plus a step down to nice jeans and polo shirts.