By Karen Ackerman Witter
The Wardrobe has served many generations of women since 1963. On Sept. 30, Sami McElwee will turn 29 and become the fourth owner of this Springfield establishment featuring women’s clothing and accessories. Kim Dixon has owned The Wardrobe for nearly 20 years. She couldn’t be happier about the upcoming sale and is confident she found the right person to take over this “Springfield treasure,” as she describes the business. Dixon says McElwee is a good match and “totally gets our look.” She will continue to offer high-quality merchandise, made-in-the-USA lines and excellent customer service.
Kim Dixon purchased the Wardrobe in September 2002, following a long corporate career at AT&T. She sold the building on South Grand in 2018, which now houses District 23, owned by Michelle Tjelmeland. At the time, Dixon planned to retire, but long-standing customers encouraged her not to close the store. The Wardrobe opened in a new location in The Gables in April 2018.
McElwee grew up in Springfield and says she knew she wanted to own a business since she was 10 years old. She has a degree in marketing and entrepreneurship from Oklahoma State University. She worked for Bank of Springfield for five years and also at a Springfield boutique before embarking on this new adventure.
McElwee says The Wardrobe is a place where women like to come and hang out. Employees are welcoming and make women feel special. She plans to continue this atmosphere, which she describes as similar to people gathering at a coffee shop. She intends to maintain the same vibe and keep many of the current brands, while also adding more brands and expanding The Wardrobe’s online presence.
“I think Springfield is a great town,” says McElwee, who says she’s glad to be living close to family. She is active in the community and is currently president of Springfield Ballet Company (SBC). This is a passion she shares with Dixon, who is also a former dancer and past president of SBC.
McElwee is excited to carry on the Wardrobe’s legacy in Springfield. Her birthday coincides with the closing date, and she says she’s buying herself a birthday present and fulfilling the dream she’s had since she was a young girl.