Photo and Story by Taylor Blanch / Contributing Writer
Local nonprofit Archie’s Promise held its annual $25 Prom Dress Event at the Archie and Idalene Formal Shoppe Saturday to help give back to the community and help young girls feel beautiful for such a formal event at just a fraction of the cost.
Archie’s Promise, located in Murfreesboro, is devoted to servicing the community through the gift of clothing at a discounted price.
The founder of the organization, Claressa Ham, said she named the business after her grandfather, Archie Hughes, who she idolized as a young girl and always saw giving back to the community.
Ham, who has always had a passion for service and giving back, was a part of her first prom dress drive at the Tom H. Jackson Building on Middle Tennessee State University’s campus back in 2009. As each year went on, she saw the growing need of the community for affordable formal wear, and in 2011, she birthed her organization, Archie’s Promise.
“We take in new and gently used formal and business wear to help people in the community,” Ham said. “We make it affordable to shop for formal events.”
In 2015, Ham opened up her thrift store, Archie and Idalene Formal Shoppe, which is located at 4321 Woodbury Pike, and is now where she hosts her annual $25 Prom Dress events.
“Each year, it just keeps getting bigger and bigger,” Ham said about the event, which has doubled in attendance from last year. “This year we’ve touched at least 100 people, and we aren’t even halfway through the day yet.”
Along with family and friends that help Ham man the event and even serve as personal shoppers to guests to lessen their anxiety, Ham also had 2019 Miss Gallatin Tennessee and MTSU junior Chloe Hubbard there to help service visitors.
“I think that just having affordable gowns that people feel beautiful in will raise their self-esteem for their special night,” Hubbard said.
Archie’s Promise takes year-round donations from and for the community and any event missed can be made up by calling (615) 427-1816 and making an appointment to visit the physical location.
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