MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s the beginning of a magical time of year in Minnesota: prom season.
One of the biggest questions surrounding prom is what to wear, so WCCO wanted your votes to see where to find the best prom dress shop in Minnesota. And your votes sent Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield to The Prom Shop in Byron, a small town west of Rochester.
The Prom Shop has a whole lot to offer, in an age where dressing up is rare.
“Most of the girls haven’t even tried on a dress when they come shopping, so it’s quite an experience,” owner Pam Bessler said.
Before their night to remember, shoppers get a day they won’t forget with personalized consultations.
“They will spend hours with you helping you find the exact dress you want,” loyal client Sissy Davie said.
That’s exactly what owner Bessler loves to see.
“A person deserves to have a great shopping experience. We’re not a ready-to-wear store, we’re there to help them find that dress that fits their personality,” she said.
Davie’s family drove from the Omaha area just to shop in Byron.
“I love the no sales tax thing,” Sissy’s mother Mary Davie said. “That pays for the fuel, trust me.”
Bessler says they have clients from Iowa, the Dakotas, and even Tennessee.
“It’s a destination. People come here specifically. They don’t drive by and happen upon us, they either heard about us through someone or through an internet search or social media,” she said.
Bessler started the shop in the early 1980s. Originally she sold bridal, too, but decided to focus on prom. As styles evolved, so has The Prom Shop; after all, with teenagers, she has to stay hip.
“We’re constantly looking at movie stars, what they’re wearing and kind of tweaking it to what we think the Midwest will go for and what they won’t,” she said.
Bessler is also looking for ways to jazz up her shop, adding a prom dress registry so you know if someone else at your school bought your dress.
“It’s just cool to be the only one wearing your dress,” Kaylea Brogan, a senior at Kasson-Mantorville High School, said.
Brogan enjoyed the store’s 18-foot runway and plenty of opportunities for photos. They have a banner that makes the place look like a movie premiere event, and a glass case that looks like a magazine cover, perfect for posing.
The bathroom is even photo friendly, they have a reversed logo so mirror selfies turn out perfectly.
While WCCO was at The Prom Shop, three clients posed and laughed and danced, seeming to appreciate the “experience.” Their mothers did, too.
“She’s done it for three years and every year it’s been a better experience for her,” Leah Brogan said.
With tears in her eyes, Sissy Davie’s mother Mary said it’s quite special, since she’s about to graduate.
“It’s actually very emotional for our family,” she said. “She’s the only girl.”
“To me that’s the ultimate because every girl should feel beautiful,” Bessler said.
And clearly, they do.
The Prom Shop is seasonal. It’s open from December through the end of April and for a few weeks leading up to homecoming. The rest of the year, the staff goes to markets in Atlanta, New York and Las Vegas to hand-pick inventory.