SYLACAUGA, Ala. – Flash back 20 or even 30 years. Downtown Sylacauga was busting at the seam, much like it is today, with businesses, clothiers and jewelers. One particular business owner built a legacy, one that lasts to this day.
Joe M. Duck was – and still is – an icon around the Marble City. Duck was the proud owner of J.M. Duck Jeweler for more than 50 years in the heart of the city on Broadway Ave. The story of his legacy however, far surpasses owning a local business. Duck impacted lives, probably more lives than we know, but he rarely did it from behind the counter on his store. If you knew him, you knew where to find him. More often than not, he would be on the wooden park bench at the store’s entrance. The same park bench that sits there today.
Duck was loved, respected and revered, and through his store and park bench, he became a true representation of what makes Sylacauga great. Yet, more memories of J.M. Duck Jeweler, and Duck himself, will be coming. Duck’s legacy will soon continue, not through Duck, but through his daughter, Kim Duck Windsor.
Windsor is soon to make a lifelong dream a reality. Windsor is soon to open an astonishingly elegant bridal store in the heart of downtown in the same building her father operated his business out of for a half century. “My dad was such a staple in this town, right here on North Broadway,” she explained. “I want him to look down and be proud. I wanted him to be a big part of this store.”
As soon as you open the front door (or the back) of McClendon Bridals, McClendon being Duck’s middle name, dignity overwhelms you. “Wow” is guaranteed to be your first thought. The white walls and dark-stained hardwood floors silently welcome you to the experience ahead. An experience, that Windsor has worked hard to create. “I’ve been dreaming about this for a very long time. It took a long time for this to happen, but I am ready,” Windsor exclaimed. “Everything here is about the experience, and that was my goal.”
Windsor is a lifelong wedding dress fanatic that has worked for the last five years on making her dream a reality. Renovations began in 2014 and now they are finally complete. Jean Peters was the master architect behind the renovation. Once again bringing in a tie to Duck. Peters’ late husband was Duck’s best friend according to Windsor.
The connections back to her father are endless and well deserved. Windsor, with a hint of a tear in her eye, described what particular part of the store means most to her. “Everything is coming full circle. I think it is so special that my dad sold so many engagement rings in his store, right here in this building, and we are coming full circle by selling the wedding dresses right here in this store,” she explained. “I think that’s pretty cool.”
Windsor’s masterpiece is equipped with two gorgeous, spacious dressing rooms – one being the “entourage” room where brides-to-be pick their dress with bridesmaids and family members – and an extravagant hall full of more than 155 weddings dresses. The most beautiful part of Broadway’s latest store, according to Windsor, is the original ceiling.
“Every inch was thought out carefully. Sometimes I look at this in disbelief. I cannot believe it has transformed into something like this,” Windsor said. “I am very proud of this.”
Windsor’s goal is to become a destination for those in and out of Sylacauga. That goal, so far, is being accomplished. Although she is not open yet, multiple appointments she has lined up are already from areas 45 minutes away or farther.
Windsor will officially open for appointments on Feb. 1, but will hold a grand-opening Jan. 31 from 4-8 p.m.