Owners Debbie and Jimmy Crane opened Crane’s Dress Boutique in late October in Oak Ridge North. After working for several years as a dress buyer and merchandiser for department stores, Debbie Crane said she wanted a shop to call her own that caters specifically to the north Houston area.
“I’ve always been in this industry, but working in the corporate world, you kind of lose touch with reality,” Crane said. “With all the mergers, buyers buy for hundreds, if not thousands of stores. There’s no personal touch with the community.”
Crane and her husband have lived in the area since 1991, raising three daughters. She said it was often a struggle to find stores nearby that carried formal dresses for each daughter’s social events during the school year.
“The Woodlands has all the amenities that anybody could ever want—fine dining, Tiffany’s, so many jewelers, so many sportswear boutiques—but if you want a dress, there’s nowhere,” Crane said. “Hopefully, we’re really filling a void in that area.”
The 3,200-square-foot store has been remodeled from floor to ceiling to feature a large showroom and dressing area. It specializes in formal and semiformal dresses for prom, homecoming, bridal showers, cocktail parties, holidays and date nights as well as dresses for mothers of brides and grooms.
Crane said while the store has a wide selection of sizes and brands, such as Jovani, Teri Jon, Alberto Makali and Blush, the shop can also place special orders for sizes with the store’s vendors.
The average dress in the shop ranges in cost between $300 and $800; however, Crane said there are a number of lower-priced items for less formal occasions. The shop also carries accessories to complete the outfit, such as shoes, handbags and jewelry.
To ensure no two women show up in the same dress at the same event, Crane said staffers work to track where dresses will be worn after they are bought.
“There’s a saying I love: ‘A woman is never more beautiful than when she’s wearing a dress,’” Crane said. “But to walk into that party and see your dress [on someone else]—all of a sudden, you’re not beaming anymore.”
The business has already started receiving dresses for prom season, and Crane said she encourages students and their parents to start looking now if they want to find a unique dress.
“People have already started coming in and looking for the best selection,” she said. “I tell people, ‘Shop early and often,’ because we have new dresses coming in weekly, if not daily.”
Crane said she looks forward to working with customers throughout the year and hopes to become a destination for women looking for the perfect dress.
“When you find someone that understands the dress business, they’re pretty much there for life. They become what’s called a dress maven—that’s me,” Crane said. “This has been a lifelong dream and is something that I see myself doing for 10 years. I love what I do, and pleasing the customer just makes me so happy.”
Crane's Dress Boutique
27858 I-45 N., Oak Ridge North
Hours: Tue.-Sat. 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Sun. noon-5 p.m., closed Monday