CLOSTER, N.J. — Hanging in the back of a Closter Commons furrier is a fully let-out, golden sable coat with the initials "N.M." monogrammed on the inner chest pocket.
The luxurious piece was custom-made about a decade ago for former Alpine actress Nicole Murphy, who often nursed her baby in the store while then-husband Eddie Murphy shopped, Closter Furs and Fashions owner Florence New recalled.
The actress was a regular customer twice a year, picking up her fur before winter and dropping it off after the last snowfall.
Murphy hasn’t been back since 2006, when she moved to California, and her coat remains in New’s care.
This month, so will dozens of others belonging to locals who — like Murphy — trust New with the storage and maintenance of their furs until temperatures drop again next winter.
“I work hard in the winter and then I can relax in the summer,” the owner said. “It’s a happy business.”
New opened the store in 1988 as a commercial condo. Years later the economy tanked, the owner went bankrupt and many of the other condos in the plaza went unsold.
Closter Furs and Fashions is among the original 10 businesses that have weathered the economic storms, New said.
She's confident that her high-end furs can make it through anything.
“Women will give up sex for fur and they’ll also have sex for fur,” she said. “Women love fur — it’s prestige.”
And an investment, she explained.
When there’s uncertainty in an economy or during an election year, fur becomes a discretionary expense.
But, New said, it will never go out of style.
“It’s been around since the beginning of time,” New said. “There’s an anti-fur movement but there’s an anti-everything movement.”
“But hey,” she added, “it’s a natural product that’s been around since the beginning of time and it will always be around.”