Center Stage Fashions has been a part of the Hernando Courthouse Square scene for more than four decades and owner Judy Beard has enjoyed every minute of it.
“The people in Hernando have just so loyal to us,” Beard said about being located on Commerce, just across the street from the DeSoto County Courthouse. “I like the people. They’re very courteous,” she said, adding, “My daughters chose the name. They said, ‘let’s call it Center Stage,’ so that’s what we did.”
Beard and her shop came to Hernando 43 years ago and started in the downtown district at the same location where she opened. She strives to do more than just sell a clothing item.
“Ladies come here to get outfitted,” Beard said. “They don’t come to just buy a top, usually. They come to get their spring wardrobe, fall wardrobe, and then they come in between for accessories and things.”
When asked about her key to success, Beard said much of it comes from being dependable.
“To be successful, you’ve got to be here, you've got to open on time and for a small town, you always have to be in the building,” she said. “Now, that’s a fact. My store would not work without an owner.”
That dependability and the latest fashions and accessories are cause for Center Stage Fashions to be a part of the Hernando business community since April 1976, when it first opened, and gain a loyal following from shoppers who come from locations as far away as Clarksdale, Grenada, Como, and Sardis, along with the Memphis suburbs of Germantown and Collierville, Tenn.
Beard said she has even had shoppers from as far away as Alaska look over her selection.
“I’ve seen Hernando change tremendously,” said Beard. “It’s like one big family here. I just love all of my customers.”
Another key to the success of Center Stage Fashions has come from great customer service.
“Our motto is ‘treat your customers like you want to be treated and you will be successful,’” Beard said. “If you do that, there’s not a problem. You won’t have to worry about money in the bank to pay your bills, because it will be there.”
Center Stage Fashions is a store where the items you find won’t be the items you will see at other larger, “big-box” stores. Beard wants to offer items that are unique and not available online.
You can find out more about Center Stage Fashions on the store’s Facebook page, or stop in and visit 324 W. Commerce Street in Hernando. The store’s phone number is 662-429-5288.
Bob Bakken is Managing Editor for the DeSoto Times-Tribune.