Solvang dress shop has kept its name and location since opening day

SYV Star Staff

Elna’s Dress Shop, the oldest business in downtown Solvang, will celebrate its 75th anniversary with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 11 a.m. Thursday, May 18.

According to records at the Solvang Chamber of Commerce, the clothing store is not only the oldest business in downtown Solvang, but it has also kept its original name and location since it opened.

Sue Manning, owner of Elna’s Dress Shop, has continued to offer handmade Danish clothing alongside modern women’s fashions.

Owned by Sue and Robert Manning since 2001, the business was started in 1942 by Elna Larsen. The Mannings bought the business from Anne Trompeter. Other former owners are Trace and Sue Eubanks, and Susie Halme.

The Mannings also owned and operated Sue’s Place in Lompoc from 1997 until the store’s closure in 2015. Sue had worked at Elna’s before opening the Lompoc store.

“I knew what a great store it was,” she said.

The store is known for name-brand women’s apparel and for locally hand-made Danish costumes using patterns handed down by the store’s original owner, Elna.

Sue Manning said what she loves most about running the store are the customers and the local business community.

“The people. The excitement of the people coming in. All of the merchants who are so generously helping with this celebration. It’s overwhelming to me,” she said.

At the celebration, City Councilman Hans Duus, a nephew of the original owner, will speak on the history of the business. Other city, county and state officials will also make presentations. Drawings will be held hourly from noon to 7 p.m. during the day to win apparel that has been donated by vendors with labels that are featured at the shop.

The store is also celebrating with a sale and gift certificate raffle from May 18 through the end of the month.

Elna’s Dress Shop, at 1675 Copenhagen Drive, is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.