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Encore LJ owner dies in home

Suzanne Whittemore died Sept. 12 in her sleep at the age of 61.

In 1991, Whittemore opened Encore La Jolla, which is nationally known for being one of the top clothing resale boutiques. She originally opened Encore on Herschel Avenue, but the business soon grew and moved into the former I Magnin building on Girard Avenue.

Whittemore is credited with helping change public attitudes toward used clothing stores, showing they could be upscale boutiques rather than thrift stores.

Encore does not operate on a consignment basis, unlike most resale stores, and offers one of the largest selections of designer clothes in San Diego. The store has won many awards and was voted Best Resale Store in La Jolla by Light readers for several consecutive years.

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Whittemore, born Suzanne Leslie McBain, was born on Oct. 6, 1946, in Los Angeles to Carl and Bette McBain.

She attended Pierce College in Los Angeles. In 1967, she married John Stewart. The couple had three children: John Budd, Jeffrey Richard and Shannon Linn.

In 1967, she began working at Saks Fifth Avenue, and became the store manager of Saks Fifth Avenue in La Jolla approximately 10 years later. In 1983, Whittemore opened a Saks store in Mission Valley, which had more than 250 employees, and ran the store until 1988.

She married Rob Whittemore on May 7, 1987.

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Prior to her death, she took an eight-week trip to Turkey, Venice, Croatia, Russia and Greece aboard the ship The World, which she described as “the trip of her life,” her husband said.

Her father described her as “outgoing and firm,” and said she had many friends.

Whittemore is survived by her parents, Carl and Bette McBain, her brother Michael McBain, her three children John, Jeffrey and Shannon and her husband Rob.