Founded by Roger McKie in 1961 as Dressmakers' and Milliners' Supply House, Dressew is a local independent family business. We opened our doors February 1st, 1961 at 320 West Cordova St. Due to fashions of the day, we sold primarily supplies for hats and hatmaking, with a nod to home sewing as well.
After a successful decade on West Cordova St., we moved in 1971 to 311 West Pender St. Changing styles meant a shift away from millinery and more of a focus on fabric and sewing. Along the way came a name change, to the more distinct Dressew Supply. Although we've heard a variety of pronunciations, it's dress-sew (but just a double s).
In 1981 we moved again, to our current location at 337 West Hastings St. With 3 floors totalling 27,000 sqft, this allowed us to grow and expand our selection of products dramatically. Built in 1905, the building was previously a Fields store and a Kresge's before that. Initially only the main floor was open to the public, with the lower floor and basement used as storage. In the mid-80's we opened the lower floor to customers as well, but the basement remains as storage to this day.
Our Halloween and costume section arose from customers shopping for dance schools and theatrical productions. We had the fabric and trims they needed, but they also needed hats, tights and wigs to complete their costumes. From a small section in the 1980's we grew to today's legendary "Halloween at Dressew". In the last decade it has become a year round business, as people shop for film & theatre productions, cosplay, festivals, theme parties & weddings, zombie walks and more!
In 2001 we outgrew our in-house storage capabilities and added a warehouse in the nearby Strathcona neighbourhood. Just minutes away from the store, this space allowed us to move much of our storage off site and create a large Clearance Fabric section on the Lower Floor.
And as they say, if you have space you'll fill it. So in 2012 we added a second warehouse, next door to the first one. Joining the two together created over 30,000sqft of warehouse space.
Recent years have seen the influence of the second generation on the inner workings of Dressew. We added Interac payments in 2007, Visa & Mastercard in 2018, and now Dressew.com in 2020. You can find @dressew on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. We remain an independent family business, and will celebrate our 60th anniversary in 2021.