The Bunny Patch – from our Downtown Dexter Issue (Oct 16)

When a pageant, prom or formal approaches it’s time for a visit to The Bunny Patch.

Owner Peggy Barks’ shop enjoys mainstay status in downtown Dexter, and has serviced generations of patrons for 27 years.

On Monday, SEMO TIMES found Peggy at the back of her temporary location, sitting at a sewing machine designing custom fittings as she has for a couple of generations of clients. Her large, 8,000 + square-foot shop is in the midst of renovations, she explained. After so long in the same location, Barks decided her store could use a face lift.

“I don’t have even half my inventory here,” she said. “It will be very, very nice when we get back there.”

The Bunny Patch sells fashions for all kinds of formal events, Barks said.

“Most of them custom made,” she noted. “We sell prom, pageant and bridal gowns.

“We have tux rentals, shoes and other accessories, too.”

Beyond her “extensive inventory” lies the jewel of the crown.

“We offer friendly and courteous service,” she said. “We have in-house alterations.

“Most customers know when they come here, the dress is going to fit,” Barks continued. “I have no idea how many dresses I’ve made. Thousands. Thousands and thousands. People I’ve served are bringing their grandchildren here.”

That kind of personal service is what continues to bring people to The Bunny Patch in search of the perfect gown, she noted.

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Journalist Steve Hankins is the latest addition to the SEMO Times family. Steve is an award-winning writer and a 1999 graduate of Missouri State University at Springfield.He wrote professionally for a number of publications, including The Mississippi Rag, the Nation's Voice for Jazz and Ragtime Music; The Branson Tri-Lakes Daily News; The Jonesboro Arkansas Sun; and the Daily Dunklin Democrat at Kennett, Mo. As a Sun staff writer, Steve was awarded first place by Arkansas Associated Press Managing Editors for a community service series that explored the state's methamphetamine issue. While at Missouri State, Steve earned The Quill and Scroll Award, the sole honor bestowed by the university annually for excellence in journalism. As a student, he served as music editor for The Free Press of the Ozarks, a tabloid newspaper published at Springfield, Mo. Steve earned a bachelor of science in communication with an emphasis in journalism and minored in creative writing while at Missouri State. He is the son of Malden's Lloyd Elmer and Alice Mae Hankins and lives at Malden with wife Angela; nine-year-old twin daughters Emmalee Jane and Alice Ray; and six-year-old daughter Ella Camille.