After decades of selling women’s attire in Morro Bay, the owner of the Queen’s Closet will retire Jan. 31, 2024. The business will transform into Mariposa Exchange, specializing in home decor.

After decades of selling women’s attire in Morro Bay, the owner of the Queen’s Closet will retire Jan. 31, 2024. The business will transform into Mariposa Exchange, specializing in home decor.

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A Morro Bay clothing boutique is closing this week after more than two decades in the city, but a new business is already set to take its place.

Pam Woodruff has owned the Queen’s Closet business at 325 Morro Bay Blvd. since June 1998 — but the store has been around for much longer, at least 50 or 60 years, she estimated by phone Monday.

The business is closing Wednesday with a 50%-off sale with a cake-and-ice-cream retirement party from noon to 3 p.m.

The retail shop, oversized by downtown Morro Bay standards, was the seaside town’s first department store, providing attire for men, women and children, according to the Morro Bay Historical Society. “Women’s departments” at major store chains then, if they existed at all, were usually limited and the apparel they offered was costly.

The retail scene changed in Morro Bay when a subsequent owner converted the department store into the Queen’s Closet. Before Woodruff bought the business, the previous owners included Doris Marshall and then twin sisters Mickey Miller and Mary Tucker.

Their aim then? To provide voluptuous local women with everything from flattering everyday clothing to formal dresses for weddings, proms and parties, plus other garments and accessories.

“It went from all sizes, to plus sizes, then back to all sizes,” Woodruff said of the switch

Then shopping patterns evolved, and many women who’d become accustomed to shopping online, especially during the pandemic, also began to look there for their attire, she said.

Under new owners, local cousins Stephanie Slater and Becky Garza, Queen’s Closet will change again — this time into Mariposa Exchange, specializing in home decor.

After some remodeling, the pair expect to reopen the retail landmark site “as soon as possible,” Woodruff said, adding that they’ll probably also carry some clothing.

Once she retires and escrow closes Feb. 1, the businesswoman intends to travel.

“I think we’ll start with a cruise to the Caribbean,” the Atascadero resident said of her “best friend” Teddi Anne Little.

The hardest part?

“I’ll miss all the customers,” Woodruff said. “They turned into my friends for life.”

After decades of selling women’s attire in Morro Bay, the owner of the Queen’s Closet will retire Jan. 31, 2024. The business will transform into Mariposa Exchange, specializing in home decor.
After decades of selling women’s attire in Morro Bay, the owner of the Queen’s Closet will retire Jan. 31, 2024. The business will transform into Mariposa Exchange, specializing in home decor. Chloe Jones [email protected]

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Kathe Tanner has been writing about the people and places of SLO County’s North Coast since 1981, first as a columnist and then also as a reporter. Her career has included stints as a bakery owner, public relations director, radio host, trail guide and jewelry designer. She has been a resident of Cambria for more than four decades, and if it’s happening in town, Kathe knows about it.

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