A pandemic didn’t stop TandyWear from expanding, in fact, it gave them the push do something great.
The upscale clothing boutique located at 89 Commack Road in Commack is celebrating 10 years at its location with a store expansion and launch of its junior’s selection, TandyGirl.
Owner Tandy Jeckel began her brand 25 years ago selling woman’s accessories and handbags. Then 10 years ago, she moved to the current brick and mortar store with a goal to dress local women in the trendiest of clothes with a low budget. She said that she began noticing girls shopping alongside their mothers, so Jeckel wanted to cater to them, too, by expanding her inventory and sizes.
“Everybody feels like they can shop here,” she said. “They can feel good about themselves, and they can be with their moms.”
With inclusive sizing ranging from extra small to 2XL, Jeckel realized that she needed to expand her square footage to meet the demands of a bigger catalog.
And while the COVID-19 pandemic was hard on many businesses, Jeckel said she and her store lucked out, taking advantage of masks early on and making them a fashion statement. “That was something that we knew everybody needed, but they wanted to be fashionable,” she said.
Jeckel said that next door to her shop, an empty storefront laid vacant for nearly three years. She always wanted that space, she said, and decided in August to make the jump.
“Since we were doing really well during the pandemic with the mask sales and curbside pickup, we pivoted,” she said, “We just took something and made it happen.”
She had a short amount of time to break down the wall of the former Karate school and reinvent the space. They officially opened the second side the day before Black Friday.
With the new side of the store contemporary casual wear for the young and young-at-heart, it also includes a wall of dressing rooms, sparkling chandeliers and a positive message.
TandyWear wanted to give back to the community while opening up their new space. This week, a portion of all sales from the weekend of Dec. 11-13 will be donated to the Long Island Coalition Against Bullying.
LICAB helps to create bully-free communities across Long Island through education, increased awareness and therapeutic outlets, offering a variety of programs and services such as school assistance programs, care packages, youth leadership programs and subsidized therapy.
On the counter and inside those fresh dressing rooms, are 5×7 index cards that subtly say that “you’re beautiful,” and encourages girls who are struggling with bullies to reach out — a discrete way for girls to find information.
LICAB founder and Executive Director Joe Salamone said that partnering with a store like TandyWear helps get the word out on his organization and gives girls an outlet that will make them feel better if they’re struggling. “Any opportunity that gets us in front of the community who may need us so we can help is great,” he said. “The cards give us the opportunity for kids to get in touch with us in a judgement-free way.”
Salamone said the cards were delivered to the store in early November, and Jeckel said the first pile of cards is almost gone.
Jeckel said the anti-bullying campaign hits close to home, as her daughter was bullied as a child.
“I’m very happy to get involved with the anti-bullying coalition because my daughter was bullied in middle school and high school,” she said. “She never really came out and said anything — she just dealt with it and masked it, and she was one of the lucky ones that got through it. But if she had this group, it would have really helped her.”
Jeckel said that she knows girls are embarrassed to talk about how they’re feeling, and often hears stories from mothers and their daughters who were also struggling with bullies at school and online. But now with the partnership, she’s already receiving positive feedback.
“Moms are just really happy because they know someone or their child is being bullied, and they didn’t know there was a place that could really go for help,” she said.
These anti-bullying materials will be available in store year-round at TandyGirl.
“I would like to make a difference,” she said. “I want to make people feel good who are all shapes and sizes. When they look good, they feel good.”