Sidney’s Cottons and Blues in a transition

BUSINESS PROFILES 2017: Nothing as liberating as being debt-free

The Peninsula News Review’s Business Profiles edition hits the streets on Nov. 8. This one of four stories coming out this week from that special publication.

There’s a saying about something old being new again … and it can apply to Sidney business Cottons and Blues in a couple different ways.

First, cotton shirts and jeans never really do go out of style and that’s one of the clothing store’s main stocks in trade — ever since Kathy Clarke started the business back in the 1970s. Although back then, it was known to its customers as Denim Disco.

Re-branded in 1979 as Cottons and Blues, Clarke continued to grow her business, adapting to the various clothing trends but at the same time, sticking to what she knows best and what her customers demanded — natural fabrics, like cotton.

“You always need to have a variety of items to serve a variety of age groups,” she said.

One of the biggest challenges lately, she continued, is sourcing those natural fabrics, saying cotton is hard to find as more clothing manufacturers turn to alternatives, such as bamboo.

Second, on the old is new again angle, is the fact that Clarke is retiring this fall — and the business is being taken over by new owner Anna Savage, who has worked with Clarke for the last five yards as a partner.

Clarke said she’s had a retirement plan for years and wanted to put in place by the time she turns 60. And while she’s right on schedule with those plans, she said she’s not planning on going anywhere, as Sidney is her home.

“That’s good, ‘cause Kathy is helping us out at Christmas still,” quipped Savage, noting that time of year is still very busy for Cottons and Blues.

“We ave a very loyal following.”

Clarke added 2017 has been a very good year for the business, with lots of customer traffic. It has set the stage for a positive transition this year. And it’ll mean she and husband Garry will be on track to start their travels.

Clarke said she will miss her long-time customers and she would tell anyone getting into business these days to do as she did — and not over extend themselves.

“Pay your bills, sooner than later,” she said, adding there’s nothing quite as liberating — personally and professionally — as being debt-free.

Just Posted

Victoria woman to cycle Portugal as winner of BC Bike to Work Week

Malene Foyd logged 49km cycling to work with the Ministry of Environment; “I always bike to work, rain or shine.”

ROCK THE SHORES 2018: A variety of musical flavours throughout weekend in Colwood

Headliners Brian Wilson, Sheepdogs and X Ambassadors part of diverse lineup festival

Victoria man in custody after downtown stabbing

Officers arrested suspect without incident, hours after afternoon stabbing

New kitchen for Mustard Seed built by volunteers

Members of HeroWork spent nearly a month building a new processing kitchen in Esquimalt

PHOTOS: People soak up summer fun at FernFest

The annual community event saw families and friends gather for food, games and markets

VIDEO: Canadian toddler caught practising hockey skills in crib

Eli Graveline is getting praise from far and wide as the internet freaks out of cute throwback video

5 fun things to do this weekend in Greater Victoria

Victoria Ska and Reggae Fest, Ride Don’t Hide, Cordova Bay Day and more

Serial killer Robert Pickton transferred to Quebec: victim’s family

Pickton was convicted in December 2007 of six counts of second degree murder

Man shot dead in Surrey ID’d as hockey coach and father of two

Murder of Paul Bennett – a respected Peace Arch Hospital worker and ‘champion of sport’ – ‘not random’

Canadian Syrian children’s choir not to attend festival over fears about U.S. travel

Many kids are recent immigrants from countries covered by Trump travel ban

Amalgamation fails in North Cowichan and Duncan

North Cowichan says yes, but Duncan says no

B.C. teacher ends Jeopardy! winning streak, taking home US$69,000

Ali Hasan, from New Westminster, has been gaining fans as a “one-man invasion,” says Alex Trebek

Jett Woo highlights 5 Canucks choices on Day 2 of NHL entry draft

WHL star out of Moose Jaw tabbed in Round 2

Most Read