Little stores on the prairie
In today's big-box world, Schweser's Stores continues to serve small towns in the Midwest. The 125-year-old chain of women's clothing stores has beaten the odds by staying true to its roots.
By Dave Donelson
It's hard to imagine a business facing more pitfalls than Schweser's Stores. The 125-year-old, fourth-generation company operates women's specialty stores in small Midwestern farm towns. Its markets grow at a glacial rate (if at all); its suppliers, with offices in New York and factories on the other side of the world, don't exactly have their fingers on the customer's pulse; and there is at least one Wal-Mart within a couple of miles of every one of Schweser's stores. Despite these obstacles, the company opened its 23rd and 24th stores in 2005.
Why have the descendants of founder George …
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