NEW SUMMERFIELD — Opened in 1990, Specially Maid Bra Shop, located on U.S. 79 in New Summerfield, may have a new home — in Austin.

Owner 87-year-old Ethel Prater, a bra designer since 1947, said the shop stopped production of items such as bras, panties, garter belts and girdles nearly a week ago, and a mother and daughter team is “really interested” in purchasing the business and moving it to Austin.

“I’m getting too old,” Prater said with a laugh. “I was hoping somebody would buy it and stay here (in the same location). I guess I could find somebody to manage it and run it.

“I’ve got two nieces who could do it, but I know they wouldn’t want to give up their jobs ... I don’t have much family.”

Prater said the store is still open at its regular hours, however, it is no longer taking custom orders.

“We’re just selling what we have in stock,” she said.

The Lubbock native moved to New Summerfield in the late 1920s. After working for such companies as Margie’s, Fredrick’s, and Henson-Kickernick, Prater said she decided to go into business on her own, when Henson-Kickernick sold out to Sarah Lee in 1990.

Prater said she did not want to leave her native Texas.

“They wanted me to move to North Carolina and I said, ‘No, I ain’t moving.’

“So, I thought I would just try it,” Prater said. “I bought a few machines and started in the old post office building in New Summerfield.”

She then moved to the current location.

“The owner of this building said, ‘Ethel, why don’t you move here — you can tear all the petitions out of it that you want.’ I told the owner, ‘It’s not big enough!’ But I looked at it, and said ‘you know, what I think it would work.’”

Prater said if in fact, she does sell the business to the pair from Austin, she would be willing to move there, too, to help the new owners “get started.”

“I had hoped it would stay here for sure,” she added, “A lot of women around the area I know can’t just go out to the stores and buy them. I like to help people.”

To see what is available for purchase, call Prater at 903-726-3482.

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