July 17, 2012 – On July 21, the second-generation, woman-owned business Luan’s Dress Shop in Bixby Knolls celebrates its 60th anniversary. Marion Simpson opened the shop in Long Beach in 1952 and named it after her daughter. “When I was small, she had a ladies’ dress shop,” Luan Fogg recalled. It was the 1940s, when finding a woman-owned business was a rarity. “She thought it would be more fun to buy little girls’ clothes than ladies’ clothes. She knew nothing about the business, opening it up in a little tiny real estate place on Willow Street for a year and a half. My mom and dad then built this building, and we moved in here,” at 3734 Long Beach Blvd.
Simpson would take her daughter to work with her constantly, Fogg said. In 1980, Simpson retired from the business and, following in her mother’s footsteps, Fogg took over. “My mother was an unbelievably good business woman,” Fogg said. “She was just an entrepreneur, and I’m so glad we’ve been able to keep it going all this time.” The niche market operation offers everything for a young girl’s special occasion outfit, from shoes, hair accessories, socks, sweaters, dresses and more. Luan’s Dress Shop carries products for girls from newborns to size youth 16 who need a special ensemble for weddings, birthday parties, pageants, Christenings and the like. “We don’t carry jeans or t-shirts; just nicer things,” Fogg said. Fogg, who was born and raised in Long Beach, selects every item in the store from a list of about 45 vendors, always looking for the prettiest things she can find. “There are always new babies, everyday, and as long as they’re girls, we can dress them,” Fogg said. “The boys miss out.” Business is wonderful, Fogg noted, because Luan’s Dress Shop doesn’t have competition. Customers come from across the state, from Stockton to San Diego, she said. The shop is open Tuesday through Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call 562/424-6530.(Photograph by the Business Journal’s Thomas McConville)