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The Copper Nail Hosts Annual Tea & Fashion Show

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Fancy hats, fine china, white gloves, cups of teas, cookies, crumpets and fashion were all filling the Whistle Stop Depot last Saturday. No, Queen Elizabeth was not visiting nor was the Kentucky Derby running again, rather The Copper Nail was holding its annual Tea & Fashion Show. Nearly 60 supporters of the resale shop on E. Michigan Avenue filled the Whistle Stop Depot from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. that afternoon.

The fashion show, which highlighted clothing off the racks at the store just up the street from the Depot, featured models that showed off outfits along a runway while patrons enjoyed tea and pastries.  All proceeds from the event go toward supporting local organizations, the very mission of The Copper Nail. Unlike typical fashions, the total ensemble costs for many of the outfits displayed was well under $30, including the shoes, jewelry and clothes to complete the outfit. “You can get a pretty good deal at The Copper Nail” said Laurie Parks, one of Saturday’s emcees.

The store has an enormous inventory of books, clothing, kitchen supplies, toys, and sundry items donated to the store from patrons in the area.  It operates solely on a volunteer basis.

“It went good, everybody had a good time,” said Marlene Keszler, a member of the management team.    “Everybody had fun and there were more products sold.”  The event sold out all 56 tickets and 28 fashion models strut across the runway, including two men, Keszler said, a first in the history of the popular event.  “They got a few whistles,” she said.

This year the weather was considerably kinder than last May when temperatures bordered on the low 40s with winds shaking the trees and disappointing many in the area eager for Spring to arrive.

Last year’s fashion show was my first assignment for the Grass Lake Times.  Having been unaware of the level of sophistication displayed by the models and the outfits they wore I came away more than impressed—I was convinced of the uniqueness of the retail organization and the devotion of its membership.  Over the past decade The Copper Nail has raised and donated funds to local non-profits and organizations to the amount of $250,000, volunteers told me.

Saturday’s gathering was its fifth year contiguously, Keszler said, and the theme of the show displayed clothing for ‘morning, noon, and night’, “really dressing like on a cruise.”

The Copper Nail Community Resale Shop is located at 111 E. Michigan Avenue.  Operating hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.  For more information call 517-522-8514 or visit its website at

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