Bye, Bye, Butterfly
The Glass Butterfly clothing store will be shutting its doors after nearly half a century of business in this August.
The store was established in 1971 by Don and Geri Vanzyl. The Vanzyl's transformed a decrepit machinic shop into the shop that stands there now. In 1993 the Vanzyl's sold the store to Doug and Phil Chizum. Phil Chizum retired in 2005 leaving Doug Chizum the sole owner of the Glass Butterfly.
After working for forty years in the clothing industry Doug Chizum felt like it was time to close shop. With no one wanting to take over the lease for the building, Hessel Leasing decided to try to sell the building.
Chizum dedicates the stores longevity to his employees, some of whom have been working for him for decades, and their loyal customers.
When the news of the store's closer spread and the going out of business signs went up Chizum said they had a dramatic response by their customers.
"People started coming in for one last shopping tour of the Glass Butterfly," Chizum said, "We are going to be closing on a very good high."
Although the store is not closing because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the store did feel the impact. Chizum said that he lost about five of 15 of his biggest vendors in the store.
Over the years Chizum has seen the ups and downs of many trends, brands and other businesses. He says to only way he was able to stay afloat during tumultuous times was just staying adaptable.
The community response was even a surprise to Chizum. When the Glass Butterfly's controller, Bridget MacGregor, wanted to sell t-shirts with the stores logo the owner was skeptical.
"Oh, he thought they wouldn't sell," MacGregor, who has been with the store for forty years, said with an eye-roll.
To his amazement the t-shirts with the simple design sold out within two days. Costumers would ask Chizum to save any shirts they had left over for them.
Being around since the early 70s the Glass Butterfly has been able to serve multiple generations of Gresham residents.
"We have had grandmothers bring their grandchildren so they can buy a prom dress in the same store," said Pam Davies, the store manager.
The store is filled with vintage racks, colorful gowns, and antique doors and furniture strewn throughout the sales floor.
"This place is iconic," said sales-person Dawn Wallander, "They truly don't have places like this anymore."
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