Debra Elizabeth’s: A women’s clothing store with pizzazz
Deb Schaffer loves Wiscasset. Her women’s clothing store, Debra Elizabeth’s, has been a fixture in town for almost 22 years. It began as an antiques shop.
Born in Michigan, Schaffer grew up in Columbus and Dayton, Ohio. She first became enamored of antiques as a young child, when she spent a summer with her mother at Beloin’s Cabins in Camden. Schaffer‘s mother was an antique dealer of sorts, and the two of them visited antique shops nearby.
A place called the Maine Coon Cat Kittery was nearby too, and Schaffer fell in love with the breed. She has a Maine Coon now.
Schaffer’s brother told her later that when when she was 5, she announced she was moving to Maine when she grew up. “I love it here,” she said.
She opened her antiques shop in 1966, first at 50 Water St., then across the street at 55 Water St. “It was kind of the beginning of the antiques shops in Wiscasset,” she said.
Two years later, Schaffer branched out to include modern home décor – upholstered couches and chairs, and cottage-style furniture – and a line of linen clothing from a company called Flax.
“One thing led to another, and one day my accountant told me it would be easier for me if I put on one hat and wore it.” She switched to just clothing and accessories.
The shop moved to its present location at 78 Main St. in July 2012, when the building Schaffer had been renting her space in was sold. Before Debra Elizabeth’s, Rock Paper Scissors was there. Schaffer said the new location has proved to be a huge boon to her business.
Schaffer has always loved clothing. When she started selling it, she was still thinking as an antiques dealer. “Whenever I saw something I wanted in the shop, I bought it, because I knew I’d never find it again. It finally sunk in that with clothing, I could reorder.”
The shop carries fashionable upscale clothing Schaffer describes as clothing to live in, much of it from Bryn Walker, a Berkley, California-based company that specializes in comfort and quality. “You can just go to your closet, grab it, put it on and go. It doesn’t require a lot of planning.” She said the line is a little more expensive than the Flax line, but it’s American made. “I try to stick with American made clothing as much as I can.”
Other items at Debra Elizabeth’s are comfortable, yet fashionable shoes, jewelry and Eyebobs reading glasses. Eyebobs was started by a friend of Schaffer’s who went to Italy and found an eyeglass frames company, and went to the factory where they were made. Now she has the frames imported for her company. “She says she makes glasses for the jaded and irreverant.”
Dash & Albert rugs and totes are available at the shop, too.
Starting Nov. 24, everything in the store will be on sale until closing on Dec. 10, after the Wiscasset Holiday Market. The store will reopen in April.
Call 207-350-9339 for store hours and more information.