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Plus-size clothing store gains ground

Friday, March 09, 2012

By Dave Hall, The Windsor Star

Tired of travelling across the border to find a large, low-cost selection of plus-size clothing, Karol Trealout-Prieur decided to go into business for herself. Open since Dec. 1, It's All About U Plus is gaining a loyal following in a store on Ottawa Street.

"It was a weird time to open, but it's when the location became available," said Trealout-Prieur, who had previous retail and customer service experience with Canteen of Canada.

"I'd always wanted to put that experience to work and open my own restaurant, but when I got involved in the clothing business I found out I loved that instead."

After a friend convinced Trealout-Prieur to open a small booth in the Walker Trade Centre last August, she quickly decided to switch gears.

"I'd always gone across the border for a good selection of plus-size clothing and I thought, why not find a way to offer similar merchandise to customers in Windsor?" said Trealout-Prieur.

All her clothing comes from California, which Trealout-Prieur admits is "unfortunate, but I can get it here for a third the price of Canadian goods, even with duty and shipping.

"I just want to offer these clothes at a reasonable price and this is the only way."

Trealout-Prieur is assisted in the business by daughters Karolyn, Sue, Michelle and daughter-in-law Andrea, who all volunteer in the mornings while she attends to her other job as manager of an apartment building.

Husband Michael Prieur has also contributed by building cabinets and dressing rooms.

"The store is paying its bills but not providing a wage, so the other job is important for the moment but my dream is to run the store full time," she said.

"I love it and the fact that regulars are already coming back makes me think we have a chance at success."

Trealout-Prieur credits many of her retail neighbours along the street with making her leap of faith seem possible.

"We all support each other because we're all small business owners and we all face the same challenges," said Trealout-Prieur. "They couldn't have been more welcoming."

Copyright (c) The Windsor Star