CHATHAM, NJ - Doris Jean Crater points to the hand-made tennis skirt hanging on the wall in the d.j. crater store that bears her name and explains that it all started with that piece of apparel in 1973.
"That was the very first one," Crater said. "It was Kim's tennis skirt when she was 10. That's how it started with the very first skirt."
Doris Crater was asked by friends to "applique" skirts and towels, which inspired her start-up business in the basement of her home that became d.j. crater on Main Street in Chatham. The 34-year run of clothing and accessories store will come to an end this year after the announcement that d.j. crater will close by Dec. 31.
"We own the building and the business, we just don't want to do it anymore," said Crater, who had previously handed over the reins to her daughter, Kim.
The original d.j. crater opened at 242 Main Street in Chatham and stayed there for 19 years before it switched to the larger store at 250 Main Street in 2002.
"Over the years we have gone through many transformations," Crater said. "Appliqued clothing made by me was replaced by numerous and wonderful designers that were discovered during our buying trips to the garment district in New York City. We're best known for our tops and sweaters."
Doris and her husband Richard, who is a dedicated member of the Chatham Emergency Squad and former Chatham Borough Council member, will still remain Chatham residents.
"I'll probably remember the customers I had over the years and the women who worked with me to make my memories," Crater said. "I've been blessed with an amazing staff and amazing customers, Chatham area people."