"Clothes aren't going to change the world, the women who wear them will." -Anne Klein
As Laura of Pembroke has entered into it's 30th year, I wanted to take a look back and check in with Laura of Pembroke's matriarch - Veronica Sirpilla. Laura and Veronica opened the store in 1987 in Rocky River, Ohio. Veronica was there everyday, driving over an hour to get back and forth from work. LOP (as we affectionately call this baby) started as a Ralph Lauren Boutique and eventually diversified into other designers and as we now know, home furnishings. In 1993 Laura of Pembroke moved down to Canton and has been growing ever since.
We will be expanding again at our Canton location as well as opening an additional store in the new development, Pinecrest, in Orange Village, Ohio this spring. Veronica is at the store everyday, unless she has a grandchild playing a sport, or she goes on vacation (which is unusual because as she puts it, "I can't miss any of my grandkids' activities!")
In the last 30 years, what has been the biggest change you've seen in the fashion world?
Definitely the TREND to more CASUAL all of the time. It came slowly, but then it hit and still continues.
What has remained constant?
Jeans, jeans, and jeans. There are still those who do prefer a little more stylish look.
You used to drive to Cleveland everyday until LOP moved to Canton. Were you happy about the store being closer to home?
I certainly was. I forced that move. GLAD I DID!
When Laura started to help friends with their homes and the store started carrying small home accessory items, did you ever think it would turn into a 10,000 sq foot space with home furnishings, lighting, and home design?
No, I never expected or could possibly foresee all of this. It was a gradual growth. Laura's Father and I knew that once she started there would be no stopping her.
What's your favorite part of the day?
Of course greeting people and constantly seeing new faces. I LOVE changing displays and redoing the window. Changing the store around is a lot of fun, but hard work.
Are you excited about the new location at Pinecrest?
I am very excited for Laura's daughter , Lauren. She has grown more than capable in so many different ways. She said, "Gram, how many days a week will you come to the new store?" I said, "Honey, I did that 30 years ago." Of course none of this would be possible without the help of our great staff and the guidance of my son Johnny and his wife Susan.
Now that you've been working for 30 years, what do you say to people when they ask you about retirement?