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Sandee Madigan is ready for the next chapter

Sandee Madigan stands in the women’s clothing store at 218 Locust St. that she has operated for the past 13 years. Madigan and her husband, Tom, are selling the building. (Hudson Star-Observer photo by Randy Hanson)1 / 2
Marnie Marie Photography will be moving into the space now occupied by Elan Clothing & Gifts. Photographer Marnie Matz and her husband, Phil, are purchasing the building. (Hudson Star-Observer photo by Randy Hanson)2 / 2

The planned closing of Elan Clothing & Gifts by the end of February is sad news for women who have relied on the shop for the pizazz in their wardrobes.

But for owner Sandee Madigan, it marks the start of a welcomed new chapter in her life.

“I’m feeling really good. I’ve got a lot fun, exciting things happening,” Madigan said last Friday.

Her daughter, Tricia, will give birth to Madigan’s first grandchild in February, and in May, she and her husband, Tom, will begin construction of their long-awaited dream home in Santa Fe, N.M.

“I have many loyal customers who have been coming in -- some of them very sad,” Madigan said. “But when I tell them the reason why I am moving on they are very happy for me.”

The Madigans are selling the building that has housed Elan for the past 13 years to Marnie and Phil Matz.

Marnie Matz operates Marnie Marie Photography, currently located in the lower level of the building at 218 and 216 Locust St. The photography studio will be relocating to the space occupied by the women’s clothing shop, and opening there on March 1.

Madigan will continue to operate Dilly Dally In The Alley gift shop at 216 Locust St. The inventory of the gift shop doesn’t require new items constantly like the clothing store, making it easier for Madigan to run. And Susan Lipps will continue on as manager of Dilly Dally.

The Madigans aren’t moving away permanently anytime soon, either. They’ll keep their Hudson townhouse, and Tom, a senior client manager for Foth Infrastructure & Environment, has a couple of years until retirement.

Ruth Misenko, owner of Seasons on St. Croix Gallery, has been involved with Madigan in promoting downtown Hudson over the years.

“Her contributions have been extensive since she landed here,” Misenko said of Madigan. “Sandee brings a lot of energy. She brings a lot of fun. She also brings a strategy. She’s worked hard to build those two businesses, and she’s done a great job with it.”

Misenko said Madigan is a good friend, but she also admires her as a businessperson.

“She’s developed an amazing clientele who have a great devotion and loyalty to her,” Misenko said. “I think that speaks well to her as a person. She’s ethical. She’s very straightforward, very thoughtful. I can’t say enough.”

Misenko credits Madigan for having helped make downtown Hudson a shopping and dining destination.

The two, along with other business owners, formed an Advertising-Opportunities Group that markets downtown Hudson throughout the region.

They also are active in the Downtown Retail Committee of the Hudson Area Chamber of Commerce and the Hudson Independent Business Association.

“I’m glad she’s keeping Dilly Dally, because her presence is still here,” Misenko said. “We will miss her as that combination of Dilly Dally and Elan.”

Madigan also will be remembered for the events she organized and helped to organize.

Her fashion show fundraisers for Hudson Hospital, the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association were must-go-to occasions for many women. Typically, her customers or women associated with a cause served as the models.

She also helped create Girls’ Night Out, Mother’s Day events and the former Taste of Hudson celebration.

The first Taste of Hudson, held a few weeks after the 9-11 terrorist attacks of 2001, holds particularly fond memories for Madigan.

“It was raining. It was the first time we had ever done it, and we had a great turnout,” she said. “I think people just needed to feel part of the community and be out and about.”

Before Hudson

Madigan was the director of lay ministries at Christ Lutheran Church in Blaine, Minn., before opening Elan on July 28, 2000.

She grew up in Spring Lake Park, Minn. She and Tom and their two children, Tricia and Joshua, lived there before moving to Hudson.

“After a year of being here and really enjoying the community, I asked my family, What do you think about moving to Hudson?” Madigan related. “And to my surprise they all said, yeah, let’s do it. … I’m very happy we did.”

Madigan has a degree in housing design and technology from the University of Minnesota. She’s had many different types of jobs over the years, and thinks that helped contribute to the success of Elan.

Her idea from the start was to provide a place where her sister and mother and good friends would like to shop.

“We all had different styles, so I tried to find things that they would all like. I think that gave me a nice variety of merchandise,” she said.

As the business grew and she added employees, Madigan got them involved in selecting the clothing.

Julie Neiderhauser has been Madigan’s long-time manager of Elan, coming to work with her 11 years ago. Neiderhauser is exploring other possibilities now that the shop is closing.

Elan is a French word meaning “enthusiastic liveliness and vigor; zest; flair; and style.

The fashions the store carried reflected that definition.

“We’ve always been on top of what’s new, but not super-trendy -- where people buy it and can’t wear it after a season because it is too out-there,” Madigan said.

She said customers are asking her where they will be able to find the styles she carried, and the vendors are looking for new locations for the lines.

“I think I filled a niche that wasn’t covered by a lot of other small boutiques,” Madigan said.

“I’ve enjoyed this tremendously,” she said. “This was a dream of mine as a kid. The fact that I was able to come into a community where I had never been before, and open this store, and get the following and support of all these women in the area has been fabulous.

“I’ve had great relationships with a lot of women that I met through the store.”

The plan is to keep Elan open through February, or until the remaining clothing is gone. A clearance sale is under way with discounts of 40 and 50 percent storewide.

Madigan’s grandchild is due Feb. 20. She might not be around much after that, she said.

Randy Hanson

Randy Hanson has reported for the Star-Observer since 1997. He came to Hudson after 11 years with the Inter-County Leader at Frederic, and eight years of teaching social studies. He’s a graduate of UW-Eau Claire.

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