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Store owner makes clean break from business

The time has come for Deanna Stromme to make a separation. The store owner of Elegance by LinDee in Perham has been loyal to the bridal dress business for two decades and says she wants something else in her life.

After 20 years of dedication to Elegance by Lin Dee, Deanna Stromme is closing shop at the end of the month. While she wouldn’t have changed a thing over the years, she looks forward to having her weekends and time with her family. She will continue the sewing side of her business, Elegance Alterations, in the ITOW building on the west side of town.
After 20 years of dedication to Elegance by Lin Dee, Deanna Stromme is closing shop at the end of the month. While she wouldn’t have changed a thing over the years, she looks forward to having her weekends and time with her family. She will continue the sewing side of her business, Elegance Alterations, in the ITOW building on the west side of town.

The time has come for Deanna Stromme to make a separation. The store owner of Elegance by LinDee in Perham has been loyal to the bridal dress business for two decades and says she wants something else in her life.

"I'm tired. I'm not feeling nostalgic, I'm ready to move on," she said of her decision to close the business at the end of September. "I've been married to the store and devoted to it for the last 20 years, 24/7. I need to spend time with my family and grandkids."

Stromme opened the business 20 years ago with her sister, Linda, as her partner, though Linda left the business a few years later. The name was chosen after Stromme learned that the business name she originally wanted, Elegance, was already registered. By taking the first three letters of each of the owners' names, the two thought up Elegance by LinDee.

It's no wonder Stromme's tired. She worked nearly every weekend and was on call all the time, she said, and when she took time off, she'd come back and be "swamped."

But her primary focus, when the business is closes, will be her seven grandchildren. Her oldest grandchild started college this fall, and she feels like she missed out on so much of his growing up, she doesn't want to miss out on her younger grandchildren's lives, too, she said.

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About two years after opening the business, Stromme took on Ivy Flatau, who primarily works with alterations, though over the years, she has also been pressed into other duties, as well.

At first, when Stromme settled on the closing date, Flatau was concerned about what she would do, but living on a farm will keep her plenty busy, she said, "until she decides what she wants to do when she grows up."

In reality, Stromme said she has run two businesses through Elegance: the bridal side and the alterations business. She will continue with the alterations business in office space located at the In Their Own Words Veterans Museum on west Main Street.

Keeping the sewing side of the business will allow her to more easily pick her hours, she said. She will move the alterations business Oct. 1 and will most likely be open Monday through Thursday, with occasional time off, she said. The business name, Elegance Alterations, will move with her to the new location.

Stromme said a physical move was necessary because she doesn't need all the space of the present shop and couldn't draw the line on when to quit. People keep wanting to order from her even after she tells them she is closing the shop, she said.

It took Stromme two years to figure out the best the time of year to close: she couldn't close in the spring because girls were ordering dresses and the boys tuxedos for prom. Summer, of course, was out because it is bridal season, and early fall wasn't good either because of homecoming and the large number of fall weddings planned, she said.

"There is really no good time to close. I'm glad for the loyal customers," she said. "Overall, it's been a wonderful 20 years. I've enjoyed it."

Stromme still has a few weddings to take care of through October, she said, which she will do from her new location.

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Though the store appears to have a full inventory, it is really quite depleted, Stromme said. She hasn't reordered dresses for about six months in anticipation of the closing, and sales have depleted inventory further. She expects that homecoming at the end of the month will take care of the gowns, and the tuxes will be returned to the suppliers. She even has a business interested in buying the wedding dress inventory.

"There really won't be that much to move," she said. "What doesn't sell, I'll take with me, or give to my granddaughters to play dress-up."

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