Dover mother and daughter always in fashion

Grizel Muniz, right, and her daughter Alexis Muniz, both of Dover, are co-owners of Style Encore and Plato’s Corner in the Dover Commons shoping center by the Dover Mall. Style Encore will sponsor a fashion show at Saturday’s What Women Want Fest at Delaware Technical Community College’s Terry Campus Conference Center in Dover. (Delaware State News/Dave Chambers)

Grizel Muniz, right, and her daughter Alexis Muniz, both of Dover, are co-owners of Style Encore and Plato’s Corner in the Dover Commons shoping center by the Dover Mall. Style Encore will sponsor a fashion show at Saturday’s What Women Want Fest at Delaware Technical Community College’s Terry Campus Conference Center in Dover. (Delaware State News/Dave Chambers)

DOVER –– Mother and daughter duo Grizel and Alexis Muniz took up making stylish clothes more affordable eight years ago and have never looked back.

“We opened Plato’s Closet and our customers were always asking for women’s brands,” Grizel said. “And coincidently in the beginning of 2013, our franchiser decided to expand. They created Style Encore and we jumped on board immediately.”

The Munizes opened only the second Style Encore in the nation in October 2013. There are now more than 40 locations in 25 states and Canada.

Opening Style Encore next door to Plato’s in Dover Commons on U.S. 13 seemed like a no-brainer after having Plato’s Closet for five years.

Style Encore co-owners Grizel Muniz and her daughter Alexis Muniz, both of Dover, pose Friday in their new shop.

Style Encore co-owners Grizel Muniz and her daughter Alexis Muniz, both of Dover, pose Friday in their new shop.

“I love fashion and always have,” Alexis said. “So when we heard about Plato’s Closet we were interested and it’s a business that works and people love the concept. The same goes for Style Encore.”

The timing for the opportunity to open Plato’s was perfect too –– Grizel was looking to get out of her long-time corporate career and Alexis had just finished college.

“I had just graduated with a degree in business management,” Alexis said. “I was blessed and lucky for this opportunity to come along because not everyone is able to get a job right out of college, let alone a career that they’re passionate about.”

For both women, it was their first business endeavor.

“It’s been a challenge but it’s so worth it,” Alexis said.

“Being in a franchise has been great because the franchiser, Winmark, was able to give us the guidance we needed to get a successful business up and running.”

But both Plato’s Closet and Style Encore don’t have stock merchandise, their products come from the community so opening isn’t as easy as hanging up some clothes that come straight from an outside vendor.

The main difference between the two stores are the market they’re geared toward. Plato’s focuses on a younger demographic and carries brands like Abercrombie & Fitch, American Eagle and Urban Outfitters while Style Encore carries women’s brands such as Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, Express and J. Crew.

Style Encore also carries plus sizes and has done so since its opening and Plato’s only started carrying plus sizes within the past year.

Grizel Muniz and her daughter Alexis Muniz, both of Dover, fold clothes Friday morning inside Style Encore. Tickets for What Women Want are on sale now on Eventbrite — search for W3 What Women Want Fest — or at the Delaware State News, 110 Galaxy Drive, Dover.

Grizel Muniz and her daughter Alexis Muniz, both of Dover, fold clothes Friday morning inside Style Encore. Tickets for What Women Want are on sale now on Eventbrite — search for W3 What Women Want Fest — or at the Delaware State News, 110 Galaxy Drive, Dover.

“Plato’s Closet and Style Encore are both well received in the community because all the money stays right here,” Grizel said. “We aren’t buying our inventory from an outside source. It’s coming in from you guys.”

Since the clothing and accessories come from the community, both Plato’s Closet and Style Encore were open for several weeks to buy clothes before they were open to sell. Plato’s took 10 weeks to stock up and Style Encore took about six.

“We were able to do a lot of advertising for Style Encore at Plato’s, which got us off the ground faster,” Grizel said.

“And a lot of Plato’s customers had outgrown the brands offered there so they were super excited to come here to buy and sell what they couldn’t find at Plato’s or what we couldn’t accept there.”

No matter the size, Plato’s and Style Encore both buy clothes but only accept items that are new or like-new and are in style.

“We aren’t Goodwill. We are picky and won’t deny it because the women who shop here are picky too and we need to meet not only our standards but the standards of our customers as well,” Grizel said.

And the Munizes keep up with their customers to make sure they’re satisfied by checking online reviews at Yelp and talking to new and regular customers in the store.

“It’s rewarding to listen to the customers,” Grizel said.

“It’s the repeat customers that make me so happy we went into this because it can be challenging and difficult but to hear our customers give us positive feedback and tell us this is a place they love to shop and it feels really good.”

Both stores are open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. Each buys clothes of all seasons during business hours.

The Munizes like to get their stores involved in the community too and are sponsoring a fashion show at the Delaware State News-sponsored What Women Want Fest on Saturday at Delaware Technical Community College’s Conference Center on the Terry Campus in Dover.

The event, which runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., will feature a workout room and fitness demonstrations from YMCA-Dover, an interactive station from sponsor Merrill Lynch & Co. to help the attendees prioritize their goals in relation to their individual finances, giveaways, cooking demonstrations, door prizes, food and shopping.

In addition, the Charitable Dames of Delaware will be hosting a Purse Exchange. To participate, bring a gently used or new purse (of at least $20 value) and an entry donation of $20 and pick a new purse for your closet. Select purses will have prizes and gift certificates hidden inside.

Tickets for the event are on sale now on Eventbrite — search for W3 What Women Want Fest — or at the Delaware State News, 110 Galaxy Drive, Dover.

They are $7 in advance or $10 the day of the event. For more information, visit www.w3fest.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/w3fest.

Reach staff writer Ashton Brown at abrown@newszap.com. Follow @AshtonReports on Twitter.

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