WAUSAU, Wis. (WAOW) — Third Street Lifestyle Center welcomed Eboni Fashions in 2021.
Owner Contrell Wraggs is a self-employed welder in Wausau who noticed a need for urban, diverse fashions in the city.
Before now, he would travel to nearby cities in order to find clothing that more fit his style. “Two hours to go get a jacket. An hour and a half to go get a pair of pants,” Wraggs said.
He started telling people about his idea and eventually was offered a space on the corner of Washington Street and N 3rd street in downtown Wausau.
He met his now, landlord at the Wausau Center Mall as a teen. He worked at a pizza place in the food court where Mark Craig, current General Manager of Compass Properties, was his boss.
Wraggs was the only Black employee in the food court.
“This is an amazing guy who I’ll do everything I can to help and support. I hope the community does too,” Craig told WAOW.
More than his roots and disparity in the industry, Wraggs wanted his niece to be remembered.
He called her his favorite niece, Eboni. She was a fashion-forward young woman. In October 2021, he and his family lost her life to suicide.
He told us he froze when asked to speak at her funeral, but thinks the shop speaks louder that what he could ever say.
“No matter who it is. Whether they know me, don’t know me. Know her, don’t know her. Someone will always walk past and say Eboni. So she’ll always be remembered,” He said.
He named the shop Eboni Fashions, in her honor and a nod to the African-American culture.