EAST MUSKEGON, Mich. (April 16, 2014) — Snuggled behind Gonyon’s Gymnastics on Chatterson Rd. in Muskegon, is a hidden gem called Cinderella Wishes. From the outside, it looks like a portable classroom, but inside, are racks, by size, stuffed full of gorgeous, vibrant prom style dresses with a wall full of accessories, shoes and two fitting rooms. On Facebook, you can find them under Cinderella’s Closet, but since there is another organization with a similar mission, Cathy did not want to take away from them.
“I never intended for it to turn into this!” store director Cathy Gonyon-Varney says jokingly.
A while back, she stopped into Oak Ridge school where her daughter attended and where she was a cheer leading coach.
“I said to a few of the cheerleaders, you know the girls that were sitting at the table with my daughter and some of the cheerleaders and I said, are you guys excited for the prom? Prom’s coming up and a couple of them were like, we’re not going.” Cathy explained.
The problem? Money.
This did not sit well with Cathy, who knew that these girls would really miss out on a great memory. She started calling her former cheerleaders, asking them to get some of their dresses around, and in return, these girls could get a little cash for some of the ones they wore and also help make dreams come true. A friend encouraged her to start a Facebook page to get the word out; the phone started ringing off the hook. “Do you have this size?” along with “Do you have this color?”
Within 3 weeks, Cathy’s living room was full with 100 dresses. Her own bedroom was used as a fitting room. Eventually, her way of paying it forward, expanded into a former daycare that was no longer in use behind her gymnastics business.
The last few weeks have been crazy for Cathy and her volunteers. Giggling girls, sometimes even dragging dad along, scope out the racks, looking for the “one”, not even caring that it doesn’t have brand new tags. (As a Smart Shopper, this brings a tear to my eyes! So cool!)
“This is a dress that has come back twice. We sold it the first time; the girl asked, I think $175 for it. It’s a plus-size dress and these are very hard to come by. Plus-size, especially ball gowns are hard to find, so now this dress is $150.” Cathy explained.
If it is taken good care of, the girl who wears it, can bring it back and possibly get around $125 of her money back.
Cathy will work with any budget. If someone has a strict one, she just asks that you call ahead so they can set some dresses aside as options. As if her dresses are not already a great deal, she even has a “Bargain Rack” with all dresses $40 and under.
There is more than just dresses; fancy shoes, tiaras, barrettes, headbands and beyond. Not to mention, she will do layaway and offers couple corsages for just $25.
Cinderella Wishes, 622 Chatterson Rd., does not have typical store hours, because Cathy and her staff do have other jobs, but are completely dedicated to the shop. Weekdays, you can visit during the day, by appointment, but someone will be there from 5p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 11 a.m to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sundays. It might be best to check ahead! Their number is (231)750-2248. Tell them the Smart Shopper sent ya!
Also, Cathy can accept cash or checks, but there is an ATM nearby, so don’t get discouraged if it slips your mind.
Spread the word! This is a great store with an even better mission! I would love to hear about your ways of cutting corners this prom season! Email me, email@example.com and follow me on Twitter @fox17deals.