PITTSFIELD -- When two national retail chains closed their Berkshire County stores, it became harder for women to buy plus size clothes locally.
Megan Harrison and Marci Bachand, however, had a solution: open their own store.
Harrison and Bachand, who are sisters, opened "Phat Phannies" at 85 Wahconah St., which provides plus size clothing options for women ranging from teens to seniors.
"When Fashion Bug went out of business, and Lane Bryant went out, the closest place was either Springfield or Albany, N.Y.," Harrison said. "And now the place in Albany has gone out of business."
Harrison began pricing plus size clothes, and the research convinced her there was a market in the Berkshires for that kind of store.
"There's a demand for them," she said. "There's no place in Berkshire County at all."
"I want to help make Berkshire County beautiful," Harrison said. "Just because you're a big girl doesn't mean you don't want to be beautiful and have nice clothes."
Phat Phannies offers brand new clothing in sizes 14 to 6X. Most items are priced between $10 and $30.
"Nothing in my store is over $50 except for some dresses and lingerie," Harrison said.
The other items that Phat Phannies offers include tank tops, shorts, dress blouses, jeans, capris, jean shorts and leggings.
"Funky leggings from the ‘80s are coming back," Harrison said. "I'm a product of the ‘80s so I'm stoked about this.
This is Harrison's first business venture. Previously, she performed event coordinating for weddings, was in the floral design business, and sold items door-to-door.
"I always thought I would make a good business owner," she said. "I like to work with people. I'm a huge people person. I thought this was an amazing opportunity."
Harrison and Bachand, the store's only employees, financed their new venture with personal savings. The store's name was chosen by their mother.
"It was catchy," Harrison said. "We just stuck with it."
Phat Phannies is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.
To reach Tony Dobrowolski:
or (413) 496-6224.
On Twitter: @tonydobrow