Pause, Rewind, Fast Foward
Coplon's carries on.
By Lisa Arnold
When Coplon's opened its Columbia location in 1980 at Woodhill Mall, it became "the place to shop" with women donning gloves, fancy dresses and drivers. I don't have a driver, I'm usually in workout clothes and my gloves are usually boxed up until NY Fashion Week in February. Unfortunately, I was not living in Columbia during that era however; I do have my own history with Bruce Greenberg and Coplon's.
2001 - My first Coplon's experience: I was in search of a dress for my rehearsal dinner, and my beautiful mother in law, Gerry Sue, suggested that I check Coplon's. The Coplon's staff was delighted when I found the perfect tea-length plum silk Nicole Miller dress and although no alterations were needed, there was however, a caveat. I ran to my car and returned with a dress that Flossie Arnold, my husband's grandmother, had worn for his parents wedding and said, "It would mean the world to me if you could remove the jeweled mesh layers of this dress as well as the original tags and sew them onto the dress that I am purchasing. It would feel as if my husband's grandmother was with us on this special night." The salesperson walked away with the dresses and returned a few minutes later to say, "We can and will do that for you." I believe that I pledged my allegiance to my husband Ben, Bruce and the staff of Coplon's at my rehearsal dinner on March 2, 2001.
2015 - 15 years and a generation later: On Friday, October 2, 2015, I brought my daughter to Coplon's for her final fitting for her Bat Mitzvah dress. Bruce in his office (as usual) came out and greeted and hugged my daughter and me and like the gentleman he always is, carried all of the garment bags of gorgeous dresses, perfectly altered and pressed for my daughter's special weekend to my car. Bruce wished us luck, expressed how disappointed he was to not be with but was headed off to a business trip for fashion week in Paris. Driving home smiling, I shared with my daughter how amazing that, "Bruce had dressed three generations of Arnold women for three separate events for her Bat Mitzvah weekend."
On October 4 when I turned to the national news to see their coverage of South Carolina's epic flooding there was an image that they showed over and over: Coplon's with water up to the awning that hung on their front door. While my family was blessed and spared that weekend, I knew so many others were not so fortunate. On October 5th my cell phone rang and I saw "Bruce Greenberg" on the caller id screen. I held back the tears (and my breath) and answered the phone and Bruce said, "Lisa, I just landed in Charlotte. Please tell me that you have picked up all of your things for Ava's Bat Mitzvah". I replied, "We will get through this" and he responded with, "Yes, we will, I have to. I have loyal employees that depend on me". That's the man behind the name of the most perfectly edited clothing boutique in America. Bruce and his team have dressed me for the Vienna Opera Ball, the Grammys NY fashion week(s), and yes, even carpool.
Although the devastation to Columbia and Coplon's was newsworthy; so is what has happened since the flood. Bruce was able to immediately coordinate a lease at 1350 Main Street. Coplon's on Main is what truly makes Columbia "Famously Hot," it is the BEST designer sample sale you will ever stumble upon in your life; hotter than LA and cooler than NYC.
Bruce has also opened a temporary location in Trenholm Plaza where resort and spring/summer fashions continue to arrive daily the way they always have. While the temporary location may be small in size, it is a jewel of a store with the same amazing fashion, shoes and staff.
Coplon's grand (and trust me it will be!) re-opening will be late Spring 2016 and my husband Ben and I wouldn't miss it for the world. I'll be donning a fancy dress, gloves and toasting the man who has dressed generations of women in the world's best finery. Perhaps, I'll even get a driver.