New junior clothing store expected to open this week in Dowagiac

Published 10:44 am Wednesday, May 20, 2015

For Edwardsburg’s Tammy Brady, the decision on what to name her soon-to-be-open junior apparel store in downtown Dowagiac was never in doubt.

For the last 14 years, Brady has done everything she could to keep the memory of her daughter, Makenzie Nicole, alive and well. The young girl, who loved fashion and dressing up from a young age, died when she was just 4 years old from meningitis.

With what would have been Makenzie’s graduation from high school coming at the end of the month, Brady wanted to do something to pay tribute to her late daughter’s brief but impactful life.

“I’ve been working on something to do in her memory, something that would be tailored to what she loved,” Brady said. “I threw an idea out for a clothing store, and my husband told me he thought that I would do a great job with it.”

Two months later and lot of hard work later, Brady is nearly ready to take the wraps off her new business — Makenzie Nicole’s.

Located inside the former storefront of Laurie Anne’s on the lower level of the Masonic Lodge at 122 S. Front St., the new business is expected to open its doors to customers by Friday, Brady said. The store will offer a selection of dresses, shirts, shorts, leggings, bathing suits and accessories for young and teenage girls, priced at $40 or less, Brady said.

While her first brick and mortar operation, the Edwardsburg woman and native of Dowagiac is no  stranger to running her own business. The past eight years, Brady ran her own cake making business from her home, named Makenzie Cakes.

“I’ve always done little things in her [Makenzie’s] memory,” Brady said.

After closing down that business, Brady decided to try her hand in fashion, looking to set up shop in her hometown several months ago, she said.

“I have one of those go-getter personalities,” Brady said. “Whether something fails or succeeds, you have to go for it, you have to try it.”

Despite being a newcomer to the business, Brady and her venture has enjoyed the support of the business community downtown, especially that of the chamber of commerce and the Masonic Lodge she is renting the space from, she said. Members of the organization have spent the last several weeks helping her get ready for opening, stripping down the wallpaper of the store and repainting the walls.

“I want the store to be a happy place for people to visit,” Brady said. “If I can make customers feel happy from the time they walk in there to the time they walk out, I feel like I’ve done my job.”

The store is tentatively scheduled to be open from 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday.