Carrie Rengers

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More than four decades after opening, Aleta's Bras & Lingerie is closing

11/30/2012 3:00 PM

12/01/2012 8:13 AM

WICHITA — Aleta Williams has a simple explanation of why, after more than four decades in business, she's closing her Aleta's Bras & Lingerie shop.

"When you're almost 81, it's time to go, don't you think?"

Her customers beg to differ.

"That's what I hear every day when they walk through the front door: 'What am I going to do without you?'"

The shop, which is at the southeast corner of Central and Edgemoor, has faithful customers worldwide. Williams is devoted to them, too.

"You're doing such a service for women," she says. She's especially happy to help women who have had mastectomies.

"If I could just fit bras and help my customers, if that's all I had to do ... I'd stay here, and I'd fall over dead," she says of happily staying on till she dies.

Williams hates paperwork, though, and she's had enough.

She never wanted to be in the business in the first place.

Williams' late husband, Hal, approached her with the idea in about 1970 after reading a Parade story about a couple who sold bras.

"We're going in the bra business," he told his wife.

"I fought him tooth and nail," Williams says.

"Now you don't expect me to go out and put women in bras and girdles?" she said to him.

"He saw the business angle of the bra business," Williams says.

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About Carrie Rengers

Carrie Rengers joined The Eagle's Business team in 2002 despite her inability to even balance a checkbook. Fortunately for her, and readers, her Have You Heard? blog is about business scoops and contains lots of news but almost no math.

A Michigan native, Carrie’s father was quite tragically transferred to Little Rock, Ark., in the middle of her sophomore year of high school. To make matters worse, her parents put her in a girls school. She recovered, though, and went on to enjoy being an English major at Hendrix College (the Harvard of the Ozarks, don’t you know). She worked for the weekly Arkansas Business and the statewide daily Arkansas Democrat-Gazette before moving to Wichita to be with her favorite writer and cook, husband Joe Stumpe.

Carrie encourages readers to contact her with tips, questions, behind-the-scenes business news and even funny quotes from business people. Reach her at 316-268-6340 or crengers@wichitaeagle.com

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