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Landmark downtown fashion store celebrating 50 years of business

'People can buy jeans anywhere, but I think people have been really loyal to us because of the service that we provide,' says co-owner of CC Fashions

CC Fashions is celebrating 50 years of being in business this weekend.

Ralph Cipolla and his brother, Frank, opened the store, which was then called C.C. Pant Shop, on Aug. 29, 1971. The store started out by selling just unisex jeans and pants, but it’s come a long way since.

“It’s hard to believe because the products we carried, in the beginning, were all basically made in Canada, but things have changed so much and just about everything is from Europe. But we’ve survived all those changes, and, of course, more recently the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Ralph, who was 24 years old when he started the business.

Originally, the Orillia Newsletter at 50 Mississaga St. W. was the home for the new jeans shop, which spawned 10 more stores across the region. However, after struggling to maintain proper management and staffing, the company scaled down to its original location.

“We started with 400 square feet, and we are now up to almost 4,000 square feet. We are very thankful for the local people who have supported us and helped our business grow over the years,” Ralph said.

When the enterprise first opened in 1971, a new pair of Lee Jeans cost $5.95. Now they sell for over $100.

“As fashion got more stylish, materials started to change quite a bit and the prices went up, too,” Ralph said.

Over the years CC Fashions has had a few celebrity shoppers including Bobby Orr and Shania Twain, but it’s the locals who have kept it going.      

“We are so fortunate to have many loyal customers who have been with us for years. We have customers who have shopped with us for all 50 years, and now their children and even grandchildren are shopping here now; it makes me feel kind of old," Ralph chuckled. 

The secret to the longevity of CC Fashions has been customer service, honest pricing, fashion products that are up to date, and being involved in the community, says Ralph’s wife, Diane.

“People can buy jeans anywhere, but I think people have been really loyal to us because of the service that we provide. People want us to succeed,” she said.

Ralph, 74, and Dianne, 64, have no plans of walking away from the business any time soon.

“We initially thought we’d be doing this for 50 years and then that’s it, but I’ve realized I’m not ready to retire,” Dianne said.

“As long as our health is good, we will keep it going.”

Kelly Jeffreys has been a loyal CC Fashions shopper for close to 25 years. 

“It’s always a comfortable shopping experience and the owners always make me feel like they know me,” Jeffreys said.

Jeffreys says supporting a local business with fair prices and lots of selection is a no-brainer.

“The styles are always very current and unique, you don’t see a lot of their clothes anywhere else, which I like” she said.

“Shopping at CC Fashions is always such a consistent experience. It’s top-notch.”

To celebrate its anniversary, CC Fashions will be selling its spring stock for 50 percent off on Friday. Customers will also be able to pack a bag of clothes from the back saleroom and take it home for $50. Any returns will be donated to Uplifting Blessings.

There will also be a cake-cutting ceremony at 5 p.m., raffle prizes, and some downtown dollars giveaways.


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Tyler Evans

About the Author: Tyler Evans

Tyler Evans got his start in the news business when he was just 15-years-old and now serves as a video producer and reporter with OrilliaMatters
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