Local special occasion clothing shop bows out gracefully after 46 years

Carolyn Kempton takes a peek at the sale rack after already selection an outfit for a dinner and one for a wedding, Friday at Town and County Fashions on First Street. The store will be closing after 46 years.

Town and Country Fashions is celebrating its 46th and final year as Gilroy’s go-to independent retailer for bridal, special occasion and career coordinates. For owner and entrepreneur Lucy Gori, it’s business as usual until liquidation of inventory is complete at her store on First Street. With the traditional season of graduations, proms, reunions and weddings in full swing, shoppers can look forward to discounts on all clothing, accessories, handbags and shoes in stock.

Over the years, Town and Country has attracted fashion-minded customers from San Francisco to Santa Barbara to Fresno. Gori has outfitted three generations of many South Valley families for a variety of special occasions. Gori was an ambitious 27-year-old when she launched Town and Country in the 1960s, and her business mantra has remained constant from one decade to the next.

“I insist on classic styles and quality of workmanship in the items I buy, and quality of service for my customers,” said Gori. “When it comes to special occasions and formal fashions, people may browse online, but they still like to see, touch and try on the real thing and get a second opinion on how it looks. They also like the fact that when they buy from an independent retailer rather than a department store, they won’t see the same gown on other guests at the event.”

Among Town and Country’s offerings are bridal gowns by Mikaella and Maggie Sottero, as well as designer fashions from Damianou and Alex Evenings of New York, Joseph Ribkoff of Canada, and handmade silk lace coordinates by Soulmates. The store also features Yolanta hand-crafted designer jewelry, footwear from Onex of North Hollywood and Mary Frances handbags.

As a longtime business owner, Gori has hired, trained and also mentored dozens of employees.

“I am a big proponent of a good education,” said Gori. “When it comes to pursuing a career, I say use your head, and your heart will follow.”

Despite the fact that Gori has worked six days a week for more years than she can remember, she’s always made time to enjoy life with Richard Scattini, a retired California Highway Patrol officer and her partner of 32 years. Closing the store will allow Gori to enjoy her well-deserved retirement, which she plans on using to finish training for her private airplane pilot’s license, tend her bountiful garden and put some vacation travel on her agenda.

Town and Country Fashions is located at 381-B First Street in Gilroy. Store hours are Wednesday through Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. The store will remain open until all inventory is liquidated. For store information, call (408) 842-7096 or visit the web site at www.townandcountryfashion.com.