Thursday, October 11, 2007

Mourning Mexx

When I was a kid, we went to Cape Cod every summer for two weeks. We always stayed at the same hotel - the Riviera Beach Motor Inn in South Yarmouth and had traditions like shopping in Chatham, eating at Arnold's, mini golf at Pirate's Cove and going to the National Seashore. I always had french toast with a side of toast for breakfast. My dad played golf at Bass River. My mom lived and died in the Christmas Tree Shops. But my favorite tradition was hitting all the dollhouse stores in Dennis, Dennisport and the area. I think this is totally a New England thing but I loved it.

We stopped going regularly when I was 14 or so, but went back one last time when I was 19. In 5 short years the place had changed so much. Our hotel had been bought out by a different chain and didn't feel the same. Our favorite restaurant in Yarmouth had closed. All of my dollhouse stores were closing or closed - I felt like I'd been robbed of some childlike wonder.

My point is things don't last forever. Especially stores. When I was in high school I used to hit a sample shop in Soho for funky clothes. I came home during Thanksgiving break my freshman year of college to find the place was gone. Friends in college asked for dinner recommendations, then came back to Colorado and told me my favorite cafe had closed. I had a favorite breakfast place at my old job. I walked by four months after I left the job and the place was gone. How do New Yorkers do it? I feel like every place I like goes away!

My favorite clothing store is no different, as I discovered. Mexx had all of two stores in the U.S. - one on 5th Ave. and one in Soho. They were kind of a bit nicer H&M, and the 5th Ave. store was located right next to H&M. I liked the European cuts and patterns, which were a bit more rockstar. They were a bit expensive but still completely affordable. My favorite winter hat is from there. I'd always squeal happily when I recognized it on "What Not to Wear." It wasn't like I lived or died for Mexx; I just liked the place.

Over the summer I tried hitting the Soho store, only to find that it had closed. I was a bit nervous - I knew Liz Claiborne (Mexx U.S.'s corporate parent) was shedding some brands but I hoped Mexx wasn't among them.

I last hit the Mexx on 5th Ave. over Labor Day weekend and I was completely weirded out by the stock. Cheap-looking tee shirts, bland cut dresses, nothing like what they usually carried. And everything was 70% off. Disappointed, I figured they were just clearing out for fall. I checked back two weeks later but the store was newspapered up. I figured I'd hit them on inventory weekend. But when two weeks later the store was still papered up, I realized something was up.

Some Internet research revealed that the store had in fact closed. I was completely bummed! No more Mexx in the U.S.? Where would I get my rockstar cuts now? The only other cuts I liked as much come from Barbara Bui and her clothes are far above my current price range. It's hard to build brand loyalty here. If only Mexx had an online store...

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