Boom! Clap!

After Freak Accident, French Cuff Picks Up the Pieces

The boutique is almost ready to reopen just weeks after a car crashed through the store.

By Sarah Rufca Nielsen March 16, 2015

Mannequins are dressed in police tape outfits in the re-installed front windows of French Cuff boutique.

It was a quiet Wednesday afternoon in late February at French Cuff boutique on Woodway when chaos came barreling into the shop. Chaos in the form of an accelerating car, that is.

French Cuff Boutique
6401 Woodway Dr.

"Just out of the blue a woman drove through our front window and door into the store, and then took a right turn through the wall into the store next to us, where she stopped with just a little of the car left in our store," says owner Kairy-Tate Barkley.

The good news is that neither the three employees nor the customer in the shop at the time of the accident were harmed. The clothes, however, were not so lucky. Because the tempered windows broke into a million tiny pieces, potential flecks of glass could have nestled into any of the fabrics, so everything had to be considered damaged and thrown out. In addition to the front windows and the merchandise, the impromptu drive-thru also took out four custom fixtures and the jewelry display cases, as well as damaging the store's floor and ceiling grid. 

"We're just trying to keep it together and move forward," says Barkley. With the front façade now replaced, one of the French Cuff employees had an idea to take the police tape being used to block off the site of the accident and use it to dress up mannequins in the front windows. One is decked out in a pleated skirt, one has a bowtie and another, dubbed "Jennifer Lopez," is dressed in a deep-v of police tape that was inspired by the singer's iconic Grammy Awards outfit.

Barkley says she's been overwhelmed by customers who have gone out of their way to stop in and shop at French Cuff's unscathed Bellaire location. She hopes to have the Woodway store back open for business by Wednesday, just three weeks after the crash.

"The most disappointing thing is being closed. We were at full inventory, as spring is a big season for us," says Barkley. "We're still working on replacing some of the fixtures, but in meantime we'll have rolling racks and we're making the best of it."

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