GENEVA, Neb.- Consistency and reliability are cornerstones of small town Nebraska businesses. You'll find those traits at Cumberland's Fashions in Geneva.
Store manager and co-owner Patty Roper says the business on the downtown courthouse square just celebrated it's 72nd anniversary. Her grandmother started the store in 1945. And, in July, Roper herself marked 45 years working at the store. "I actually started in the summer after I graduated from 8th grade. I worked three hours a day, I had all kinds of chores that I did, and I've been here ever since," Roper said.
"My grandmother started the store when her husband was in the military," Roper said. "When she opened the store, she didn't have enough money to put in the cash register. So she went to the local banker and he personally loaned her $20 so that she had cash to put in her till when she opened that day. That's just one of many stories that she told me about when she opened up in the first years," Roper said. The original cash register is still in the store.
Roper says she is proud to be a third-generation owner of the store. "My mother and my aunt Mary are the other two owners of Cumberland's Fashions". The look of the store has changed in the last few years. On the 70th anniversary of the store, the owners took out the green shag carpet that had been in the store since the mid-1970's. Now, Roper says the new wood flooring makes the store look bigger, and brighter.
Roper says often the key to success in a small town is customer service. She says that's what has helped keep the doors open at Cumberland's Fashions through the years.