Hidden inside the Fort Lauderdale courthouse is a unique boutique that is preparing for grand re-opening. But this boutique doesn’t accept cash or credit and you can’t find it on any map.
The Clothing Closet is for young people involved in the court system. The young people can be children who have been removed from their homes, victims of crime, and others. They are referred by court staff, the public defender’s office and other agencies.
“When they shop, they leave here with their clothes folded in a bag from the major department store, so they feel like they have a true shopping experience,” said Family Court manager Lynn Allen, who came up with the idea.
The Clothing Closet has been open since May of last year. Courthouse initially filled the shelves with donations from their own closets. The Macy’s department store came in as well and donated racks, mannequins, tie hooks, and displays to help transform the room.
Allen said she’s seen kids transform into new people at the Clothing Closet. She remembered a team that was referred to the closet to find a new shirt for a job interview.
“He saw that we had suits, so he left here with not just a shirt, but also a suit for his prom,” Allen said.
She said a young girl came in one day with just the clothes on her back after being removed from her home. Allen said she left the Clothing Closet with two bags full of clothes and “a purse that was to die for.”