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Hannelore Rippel, owner of Cotton Club, a new clothing store on East Main Street, researched the state before settling in downtown Medford.

Medford's a comfortable fit

Owner of new clothing store keeps it natural

The Cotton Club is a statement of faith in the right merchandise in the right place.

For Hannelore Rippel, who traveled throughout Oregon in search of a location, the right place is downtown Medford.

I had a real good feeling about Medford, she said. I think it's pretty. I walked it during the day, and I walked it at night. The buildings on East Main are beautiful and the hills around are pleasant to the eye.

The natural-fiber clothing shop will open Monday at 111 E. Main St. The store stocks men's and women's clothing in such fibers as cotton, tencel (a new fiber, made from wood pulp), rayon and linen.

The store will carry garments by various manufacturers, and there's a large area devoted to Cotton Club apparel by Wek Inc., a California company with which she's worked for years.

It produces all-woven cotton that can be washed and dried, doesn't shrink and doesn't require ironing. Many of the outfits may be worn by men or women. A rack of close-outs is offered at 40 percent off.

There's a range of casual and more professional outfits, with sizes ranging from extra small to double-extra large.

Rippel says the right products will bring people to downtown Medford. I know my merchandise, and I have what people want, she said. Medford needs more, but I'm doing one thing and more will follow.

She's planning a grand opening for Thanksgiving weekend. Hours will be 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily and 12-5 Sundays.

Rippel has been operating apparel shops for 12 years with a goal of moving to Oregon. She started in Bodega Bay, Calif., before opening a store in Brookings. She soon opened Splash in Florence, which she sold to an employee after nine years.

Rippel lived in Switzerland and Germany before moving to America in 1962.

She worked as a cocktail waitress in Las Vegas for 16 years before that city boomed.

It was a great place with great food, great service and it was small enough so you knew everyone, she said. I met every celebrity and movie star there was.

But then the efficiency experts came and the slot machines came and it changed, she said. Even the heat was different after they built all the lakes.

She says Florence was too small for her tastes, though the repeat orders shipped to tourists sustained her business.

Medford is large enough to have a nice selection of shopping and a good mall, and she likes the proximity to the Shakespeare and Britt festivals, she said.

Medford people should be proud of what they have, she said. I'm not afraid of downtown. It'll take a while, but I'll be here.