by Nicole Rosselot
After eight years of serving young women throughout Northeast Ohio, Rockin’ Frocks dress boutique in Northfield will close its doors at the end of 2023.
According to Linda Imrie, director of Rockin’ Frocks, a strain on time and resources led her and her family to make the difficult decision to close the shop.
“Financially, it has become increasingly harder to secure income, rent and utilities [with] prices increasing annually,” Imrie said. “Also, I am fortunate to be married to the love of my life for 30-plus years, with three grown daughters, and spending time with them is my priority.”
Rockin’ Frocks, a nonprofit organization that provides free and reduced-price dresses for young women, opened in 2015 in collaboration with The Emergency Assistance Center in Northfield. Imrie’s daughter Samantha started Rockin’ Frocks while working on her Girl Scout Gold Award. Imrie and her husband provided the initial start-up investment along with other individual and business donors, and The Emergency Assistance Center served as the organization’s fiscal sponsor for the first year.
The staff at Rockin’ Frocks is made up entirely of volunteers, including Imrie and her family, local women and teens, and the Sherwin-Williams Women’s Club. When the boutique first opened, volunteers collected gently used dresses from community members. However, to keep up with trends and build inventory, volunteers began shopping at online resale sites as well as clearance sales at department stores.
“We just worked hard and without a payroll, made it work,” Imrie said. “Our two annual sponsorship fundraisers as well as dresses we did sell were our only sources of income.”
Over the years, Rockin’ Frocks has served over 1,000 teens annually. “There is a huge need, especially since our focus is on showing a teen her self worth through her individual beauty as opposed to striving for unobtainable societal standards of beauty,” Imrie said.
Rockin’ Frocks will hold several dress giveaways into early 2024 and any remaining dresses will be donated to other organizations, according to Imrie. “I will miss the opportunity to make a difference, even a very small one, in a struggling teen’s life,” she said. ∞