Pasquale (Pat or Patsy to some) Calabro and Tom Zimmaro, owners of David’s Limited, a men’s and women’s (60/40) apparel store in Washington, Pennsylvania (a small suburb of Pittsburgh), always loved fashion. Following their passion, they both took a job in a retail store and in 1971, opened their own 800-square-foot menswear shop. In 1982, they had this crazy idea to buy a landmark building and open a 3,500-square-foot store in this fabulous new space. All went well but just recently, they felt the store was looking a little tired.
Solution: a modified renovation that was more cosmetic upgrade that total re-do. Floors were bleached and refinished, walls painted, lighting fixtures updated; an adjacent room that once housed their Tommy Bahama shop was sold to the business next door. “But even with less square footage, the store looks bigger, more open, much more modern,” says Patsy. “We’re about to revamp the storefront which should also make a difference.”
With a menswear mix that focuses on moderate to better brands (Coppley, Skip Gambert, Stantt, Johnnie-O, Tommy Bahama, Brax, Good Man Brand, S. Cohen, Paul Betenly, Ralph Lauren, Raffi, Flynt, and Save the Duck), recent growth is coming from made-to-measure, which has expanded from 10 to 50 percent of tailored clothing volume. Also doing well for early fall: sportscoats from $395 to $895 retail, Ballin pants, and shirts from Stone Rose, Bugatchi and Luchiano Visconte.
So how does a small independent store make it in a little suburb for 47 years? “I think just showing up every day and working hard is the first thing—if you’re there and you care, you can usually make something happen. Of course, offering quality goods with a bit a flair is essential. And I’ve learned a lot from my recent trips to Pitti Uomo about the importance of accessories; I now teach my customers to never leave home without a pocket square.”
And speaking of Italy, it’s interesting that Pat now prefers his given name, reflecting his Italian heritage. “My father named me Pasquale, my mother called me Patsy, and I grew up as Pat. I answer to all three but in the menswear business, it doesn’t hurt to have an Italian name.” What Pasquale doesn’t mention is that he’s well known in town as a fashion role model. “Customers come into the store and want to buy exactly what he’s wearing,” affirms marketing manager Mary Bianchin.
David’s Limited skipped the facelift and opted for a little touch-up—with big benefits!