INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — Annette Summers has every intention of keeping the party going.
The Incline Village resident took over July 1 as owner of Dress The Party, the costume and party store formerly run by Linda Offerdahl.
“I always loved to dress up as a young girl,” Summers said while sitting in the store Wednesday. “I knew I wanted to buy a business, but I didn’t know what … and then I saw this store, and three weeks later, the deal (was done).
“Every nook and cranny in this store turns up a surprise for me — I’m still finding things here that are treasures.”
Summers, her husband Ed and their sons, Sean and Tristan, moved to Incline a year ago from the Bay Area, not long after Summers first visited the Village Center store to buy a prom suit for Sean.
Soon enough, she met Offerdahl through a mutual friend. Offerdahl opened Dress The Party in 2007 as a charitable business that donated proceeds to local schools, nonprofits and life-enrichment programs.
“Linda donated a lot of her personal income as well as the store’s to the community … and I plan to continue that as much as possible,” Summers said. “I think Linda has really helped build the spirit and the culture of giving in this community.”
Aside from her love of costumes, Summers has a deep background in public relations and communications, including running her own PR company in the Bay.
While she plans to maintain much of the current store, several changes are in the works. She aims to refocus some of the inventory and put more of an emphasis on vintage clothing and “things that people can purchase every day.”
“We really want to reach the entire Tahoe Basin and Truckee … there’s really nothing like this in the basin in terms of what we offer,” Summers said. “Certainly there are places in Reno, but on this side of the hill, we want to have something local for people to go to.”
Long term, Summers has a few big-picture goals — one is to grow the store’s digital presence in order to sell merchandise online, and another is to create a brand of clothing that’s specific to Incline Village.
A third goal, perhaps farther down the road, is to open an event-planning business within the store, she said.
Helping Summers at Dress The Party is assistant store manager Sara Turner, whose background includes a degree in music theater and costume design at Wichita State University.
“I love being able to interact with everyone in the community ... and work with them to produce a really awesome outcome,” Turner said. “It’s a happy job, and I like making people happy. If you come in here having a bad day, you’ll definitely change the way you feel in the first 10 minutes.”
In the short term, the store will undergo some remodeling, with the first phase planned soon so the store is ready for Halloween, its biggest holiday in terms of sales, Summers said.
Large crowds also come in prior to the Fourth of July and the Christmas/New Year’s holidays, as well as for events like the Incline Star Follies and, currently, the annual Burning Man festival taking place later this month at Black Rock City in the Nevada desert.
A community reception is tentatively planned for the first full weekend in September so residents can check out the store and offer ideas for its future.
In the interim, residents can learn more at www.dressthepart.org, and can share ideas by visiting the business on Facebook.
As for Offerdahl, she and her husband Richard are sticking around Incline Village, and she plans to be “just as involved in the community and continue my philanthropic interests.”
“It was time for me to move on and give it over to someone who will love it and care for it as much as I did,” Offerdahl said. “I think Annette will take it to another level … she likes to dress up just as much as I do.”
And while it might take awhile for some of the bigger-picture goals to be realized, Summers said she’s definitely here to stay.
“It was a very big move for me to come here and to buy the store, but we love it here,” she said. “We’re very comfortable and feel at home here … this is where we plan to retire.”
“ There’s really nothing like this in the basin in terms of what we offer.”
Owner, Dress The Part(y)