Clearance Sale Begins at Suzanne’s Fashion Corner: Here’s What You Need to Know

STATEN ISLAND, NY – At Suzanne’s Fashion Corner in West Brighton, prices for formal wear and communion dresses and costumes have been reduced by 30%, and the cost of baptism dresses and special occasion accessories are now significantly reduced . After officially announcing the closure of her eponymous clothing store last month, Suzanne Berelson says it’s time: everything has to go.

“We’ve already reduced the discount to 30%, and we’ll sell until there’s nothing left – keep selling until the close,” Berelson said earlier this week. “I’m sad this is the end, but it’s definitely time.”

The store, which has been a neighborhood staple for 70 years, is scheduled to close Jan. 1 or when merchandise runs out, whichever comes first. The sale, which was originally scheduled to begin Oct. 27, began about a week earlier than expected after Berelson suffered a health issue.

“I hate that I can’t be there to see all the customers and say all the goodbyes. I hate that this sale is going on without me,” said owner Suzanne Berelson, who suffered a medical condition earlier this month. and is currently recovering (Staten Island Advance/Jan Somma-Hammel)

“I had a stroke earlier this month,” the 80-year-old store owner said from her hospital bed. “I’m fine, but I think it was the stress of it all. I have no paralysis; I’m just working to recover my strength now. I hate that I can’t be there to see all the customers and say all the goodbyes. I hate that this sale is going on without me.

Bererlson, who has been a trusted authority on pantsuits and cocktail dresses for decades, made the decision to close the store several months ago, noting that business has slowed in recent years primarily due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

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Communion suits and dresses are part of the markdown. (Staten Island Advance/Jan Somma-Hammel)

“When venues closed and all events were cancelled, there was no reason to come and buy a dress,” Berelson said. “Furthermore, the manufacturers weren’t producing anything because the fabrics weren’t available. It was a very difficult time for us, and we never fully recovered. I’m very sad to see the store disappear, but honestly it’s the right choice.

Originally started in another Forest Avenue location by Berelson’s mother, Irene Berliner, in 1951, the store, then known as Suzanne’s Sport Shop, quickly became a trusted women’s clothing destination and expanded to a larger location on the same block in 1959, before moving to the corner of Forest and Bement in 1997.

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After decades in business, Suzanne’s Fashion Corner, located at 656 Forest Ave., is closing its doors at the end of this year. A major clearance sale is currently underway. (Staten Island Advance/Jan Somma-Hammel)

“My dad worked for the Nassau Smelting and Refining Company, but got sick and couldn’t travel, so my mom opened this little store to support us,” Berelson said. “It was a success, and with her winnings she paid the bills and allowed my sister and me to go to school.”

A graduate of Curtis High School, Berelson attended the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan before working for a major advertising agency. In her early twenties, her mother lost her sight, and Berelson stepped in to help out at the store.

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All of Suzanne’s merchandise must go. Sales, of course, are final. (Staten Island Advance/Jan Somma-Hammel)

“My parents were more important than my job, so I quit work to take care of them and this store,” Berelson said. “When my mother died in 1997 I was going to dissolve the business – my husband was still alive and I thought we would spend some time together. But then I found out this storefront was available and decided to keep the store going. It’s always been my mother’s dream to be in this area.

Occupied by the former Bement Pharmacy, Berelson said the space was perfect, but needed to be cleared out. She invested her life savings in expansion and completely changed the direction of the store.

“We’ve doubled the square footage and added a larger selection of quality women’s and children’s clothing,” Berelson said. “We started selling stockings, wraps, special occasion wear, deck jewelry, hair accessories, lingerie and outerwear.”

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“It’s always been my mother’s dream to be in this area,” Berelson said of her store’s location on Forest and Bement Avenues. (Staten Island Advance/Jan Somma-Hammel)

About ten years later, the trader expanded again by opening a store just next door strictly dedicated to children’s clothing.

“Our baptism and communion lines worked so well that we needed a space that could showcase them exclusively,” Berelson said.

When the store owner announced its closure, this baby space was the first to disappear. This liquidation sale, which includes all items in the store, is intended to empty the store to its rafters. All sales, of course, are final.

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Renee Vitolo, who has worked at Suzanne’s Fashion Corner for eight years, will be there to support customers throughout the coming months. (Staten Island Advance/Jan Somma-Hammel)

“It’s a big process, and I’m learning as I go,” Berelson told Advance/SILive of the close last month. “I know how to get into business, but I don’t know how to get out of it.”

Berelson said all of the now-liquidated clothing, jewelry, handbags, hats, scarves and capes are current and new. There is also a wide range of communion suits and dresses and many christening dresses, blankets, shawls and shoes available for purchase.

“It’s not a department store, it’s not Amazon,” Berelson said. “The things we carry here, you won’t find anywhere else. I’ve provided five generations with exclusive, hard-to-find products. It was wonderful. I don’t want to close, but there really is no other choice.

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