Good, Old-Fashioned Service

"Out There"

May 18, 2011 - Phyllis Sigal

I spent a day this week shopping in various neighborhoods in Pittsburgh with my daughter Amanda. We love shopping together it's always been one of our favorite pastimes.

But what we noticed during this shopping trip was that we made friends wherever we went.

We stopped in a couple of boutiques in Sewickley. The shops were tiny, with one employee at each place. Each employee was ready, willing and able to help with our selections. Each woman helped with sizes, offered opinions and chatted like she'd known us forever.

At the first shop, Spoiled Chics, (love the name!) the owner even gift-wrapped one of my boxes when she inquired if the items were gifts.

At the second store, Rosewood Boutique, the saleswoman was as friendly as could be and it was her first day on the job! She boxed up our items and adorned each box and shopping bag with a tissue rose. We found out she had danced with Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre and designed some of the jewelry for sale at the shop.

Amanda and I walked out the store with shopping bags in hand as happy as could be.

In Squirrel Hill, we went into Margaret's Fine Imports to purchase some varieties of tea.

Margaret helped us to make our selections, answered our questions about brewing and storing our teas and she even talked us out of a couple of purchases that wouldn't be wise.

We learned she was from Poland, as were my paternal grandparents, so we chatted about that for a while. She offered us complimentary polish candies.

Another friend.

And even with all the personalized attention, the prices at all of the shops were very reasonable.

Big city shopping, but small-town attention.

Luckily, we do have those places that offer personalized service in the Ohio Valley some little shops in Centre Wheeling, the Desert Beckons on Edgington Lane, Laura's in St. Clairsville, Howard's and Nini's at The Highlands, Words and Music near Stratford Springs, Hughes Design in the Fulton section of Wheeling, Fashion Manor and Deluxe Novelty in Martins Ferry just to name a few. I'm sure I've missed some, of course.

The key, many times, is ownership. Usually it is the owner or a handful of well-chosen employees who wait on the customers. They are working their tails off to make their businesses thrive, and they'll go above and beyond to make that happen.

So go ahead. Go shopping. Make a purchase and make a new friend.