Margaret K Fashions closes its doors after 35 years

Women lose a friend
2010-10-05T07:41:35Z Margaret K Fashions closes its doors after 35 yearsBy SALLY ANN SHURMUR - Star-Tribune staff writer Casper Star-Tribune Online

Taking a cruise? Going on vacation? Have a special occasion coming up? Need a wedding gown?

For 35 years, women in central Wyoming and beyond have had a place to shop where the owner took care of their every need.

She made them feel elegant and special and beautiful. She had a hat for every occasion. And they had a blast while they were choosing that special outfit.

The end of last week marked the end of an era as Margaret Kiernan closed the doors of Margaret K Fashions downtown for the last time.

"I have a 6-year-old granddaughter in Denver, and they moved from Columbus, Ohio, so I could see her more often. And that's what I'm going to do," Kiernan said last week. "It's just time."

With her husband of 42 years hovering around her, Kiernan was dressed like the Southern belle she is, and the Wyoming businesswoman she has been.

Full makeup, not a hair out of place, jewelry matching the stunning black and earth-toned duster ensemble. When complimented on the look, she winked and replied, "Thanks, it's from Margaret K."

Nearby, full-length white zippered bags protected the vintage clothing and wedding gowns yet to be stored.

She said she is "negotiating" with people to buy both her vintage clothing and the rest of her clothing line.

Asked if the clothing might remain in Casper, Kiernan said, "I doubt it would be someone local."

Since she was 6 years old, Kathryn Rose Kiernan has been the voice of her mother's radio advertising. It's her daughter, Rya McKinley Kiernan, who is now stridently requesting more of her Ya-Ya's time.

Kiernan grew up in Charleston, S.C., and went to work at a huge department store when she was 14.

"Those women there taught me everything I know," she said. "I was writing copy for fashion shows at 14."

In 1968, she literally ran into John Kiernan in the doors of what is now Bank of the West at 300 S. Wolcott St. He is "100 percent Irish from the Bronx, N.Y.," and he and his Southern belle have been married 42 years.

On Nov. 7, 1976, she opened The Little Bit Shoppe in a house on North McKinley, directly east of Casper's downtown district. She named her business in honor of her sister, whose nickname is "Little Bit."

In 1982, she purchased Porter's Dress Shop and operated it from several locations, including West First Street and around the corner from there on Wolcott between First and Second streets.

Since 2004, Margaret K Fashions has been at 225 S. Wolcott St. in the Bishop building.

For nearly the entire 35 years, Kiernan planned and staged fashion shows for countless luncheons, fundraisers and organizations.

Her finale was just over a year ago at the Historic Bishop Home.

"They were just too much work," she said.

And what will become of her customers, many of whom have been with her for 35 years?

"I can't be responsible for that," she said gently. "I tended to have very vintage looks."

And although she vows to make more time for her family, Kiernan has something else in the works.

"I have designed a pattern for a denim duster," she said. "My sister in Tennessee is a seamstress, and she's going to make them, and I'm going to embellish them, and we're going to sell them online."

Then another wink.

"I've been planning this for awhile," she said.

Reach community news editor Sally Ann Shurmur at (307) 266-0520 or Read Sal's blog at and follow her on Twitter at

Copyright 2015 Casper Star-Tribune Online. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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