Lola, the fashionable boutique at 80 Purchase Street, celebrates its 10th anniversary this summer.
By Janice Llanes Fabry
Lola, the fashionable boutique at 80 Purchase Street, celebrates its 10th anniversary this summer. Owner Caroline Schneider believes the shop’s longevity can be attributed to a sales staff who know customers by name, as well as signature classic-with-a-twist merchandise that shoppers are not likely to find elsewhere.
“Once you find us, you’re in the fold forever,” said Schneider, and that goes for both Lola’s loyal customers as well as her sales personnel, all of whom have worked here for at least seven years. Ellen Mayo, Schneider’s roommate at Syracuse University, has been there since the doors opened.
“We honeymooned at the same time and we were pregnant at the same time,” recalled Mayo about their lifelong friendship.
As for Lola’s longtime customers, Annie Levi has been coming to the store from Armonk for six years now. “I love to come in,” she said. “Everyone’s helpful, and they’re honest. There’s no pressure, either.”
Little did Schneider know when she opened the store as a side business that it would resonate with customers the way it has. She had been a successful commercial real estate broker in Manhattan when she came across the Purchase Street space through a fellow realtor, who didn’t even know Schneider lived in Harrison. Becoming smitten by the idea of owning a lingerie shop, she opened it with her sister-in-law Judy Banker, who retired five years ago.
They named it Lola, paying homage to both the old Kinks’ hit and the “Damn Yankees” musical number, “Whatever Lola Wants, Lola Gets.” Before long, the owners made the decision to pull the plug on selling only sleepwear. Upon falling in love with a shearling vest at another store, Schneider decided to broaden their horizons with sportswear, scarves, accessories, clutches, handbags, jewelry, tabletop, and gift items.
“The quality of our goods is exceptional, yet our price point is below designer. We can fit sizes 0 to14 and our customer age range is 30 to ageless,” she said. “We also care much more about fabrics than we do about labels, so we buy lines that have no other distribution in the United States.”
Along with salesperson Patty Kaplowitz, who came in as a customer nine years ago and ended up staying, Schneider visits Paris every year scouting for European lines that typically never cross the Atlantic. “We’re always on the hunt for something new and different,” she said.
Particularly hot this summer at Lola are Manuel Canovas cover-ups, clutches from Nada Sawaya with laser cut designs, and a bounty of unique scarves. In the jewelry department, Goossens line of rock crystal jewelry from Paris and Steven Vaubel’s innovative handmade jewelry from Brooklyn are also popular.
Schneider is celebrating Lola’s ten-year mark by offering a 10 percent discount on non-sales items to “Rye Record” readers who drop by July 1-6 to wish Lola a Happy Birthday.
“We love being in Rye. When my two sons were at Rye Country Day, they’d come in with their backpacks after school,” Schneider recalled. “It still feels like a small town and we love our customer base here.”
Summer hours are Monday, Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday from 10-6, Wednesday and Thursday from 10-7.