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Lidia’s Approaches 50 Years of Success

Beginning in a Harrison home, Lidia’s alterations store near the Harrison-Mamaroneck border has spent generations as part of the 'fabric' of the area's small business scene.

Three generations of Harrison women have been stepping into a tiny corner of Italy that has been in operating in our community for more than 47 years.

, an alteration store at 424 4th Street, Mamaroneck, is a place where business is conducted in a gentle unhurried way. Employees enjoy a daily breakfast around the sewing table. Seamstresses share an Italian-style lunch made up of a main course, fruit and espresso, and catch-up with each client that walks through their door. Every dress and every adjustment has a story, and they listen to every one.

“We have brides in for alterations to their wedding gowns, young girls doing their first communion and women needing clothes for the funeral of their husbands of many years—we see it all,” says Dee Dee Gianunzio, the first member of this close-knit team to greet you in their little storefront studio. “I always ask about the occasions the clothes are for and we often have tears—both happy and sad—as our clients tell us their stories.” 

It is a business run by women, for women, and the atmosphere mirrors that. In the changing room there are pictures of Lidia’s daughters in the wedding gowns she made for them and Gianunzio carries photos of many clients in their dresses on her personal phone.

You have the feeling that you are in a small village a hundred years ago. That  feeling is extended when you find that the building Lidia’s has been operating from for 30 years, after it outgrew the Harrison home sewing room Rogolino operated from for the first 17 years, is owned by Rogolino's sister and brother-in law. In fact, Rogolino's sister is an interior designer and works from an adjoining storefront. Rogolino’s brother-in-law takes care of any repairs to the stores.

Like a small village, clients and workers know each other and are there to share good times and bad.

“We take care of and try to help everybody who comes in and get to know them,” explains Gianunzio. “A friendly welcome and a smile don’t cost anything.”

It’s an approach that works. In addition to new clients from all over Westchester and Connecticut, Rogolinio has many of the same clients she has had for 30 years, some of whom stop by to join in the daily lunch at times or call to discuss personal problems.

The team is equally close. The seamstresses have been with Rogolino for over seventeen years and Gianunzio has handled the calls and clients and books for her for 25 years.

“We get along so nice,” Lidia says, looking around at the women, fondly. “We are there for each other in business and personally-like extended family.”

That has meant a lot to Lidia over recent years, as her husband has gone blind and one of her daughters battled cancer. But it's not just the environment that brings Rogolino joy, it is also her craft. Rogolino began sewing when she was just 12-years-old in Italy and was apprenticed as a seamstress.

“I’ve always loved sewing,” she says, warmly. “It’s not just my business, its my relaxation and escape.”

So the woman continue to chat over their sewing table, breaking for their Italian lunch and then returning to stitch the clothes that have become part of the fabric of the lives of Harrison women and their children and grandchildren and hopefully will continue to do so for many years to come.

Ada B Angarano April 20, 2012 at 10:39 AM
This is a beautiful story but the shop is in Mamaroneck not Harrison.
Dr John April 20, 2012 at 11:42 AM
Just another example of Ms. Frankel's reporting skills. These are Harrison residents but this shop is not remotely the "Down Town Harrison" area.
Zach Oliva (Editor) April 20, 2012 at 05:09 PM
Thanks! I went back and made sure that was clear in the article. The shop is in Mamaroneck close to the Harrison border.
ScorpioSr April 20, 2012 at 06:21 PM
I've lived in Harrison for 50 years and never knew this store existed! Thanks for the info!
Freddie April 20, 2012 at 06:27 PM
I've lived in Harrison for 62 years and I never knew it existed either.
Katherine Frankel April 23, 2012 at 10:45 AM
Dr John, my reporting was clear that the business had started in a Harrison home and is run by a Harrison resident and had now moved to 4th street. Thanks Kathy
Dr John April 23, 2012 at 10:52 AM
Ms. Frankel, If your reporting was so clear why are most if not all of the comments about how this business is not in Harrison. If that is not enough, Zack had to clear it up so I guess it was not clear tio him either. Looks as though you reporting is as clear as mud. Thanks Dr J
Harrison Resident April 23, 2012 at 02:28 PM
Harrison Resident: This article clearly states that the shop is in Mamaroneck. If you believe you read that the shop is in Harrison, read it again and pay attention before you show your stupidity! Get over yourselves!
Dr John April 23, 2012 at 02:56 PM
Harrison Resident: The original article stated this was a "Down Town Shop". The comments were refering to the original article written by Ms. Frankel. The article you see here today is an article that has been corrected by the editor. That is why these comments were made. No one is commenting on the corrected article. Thank you for you reply!
ScorpioSr April 23, 2012 at 08:38 PM
I don't know to whom you were directing your comment to, but there is no reason to call people stupid and tell them to get over themselves! I know where the store is...I just stated that I lived in Harrison and thanks for the info!!!!
Freddie April 23, 2012 at 10:04 PM
You are correct Dr John and ScorpioSr. I know when I read the original article it said Down Town Shop . I know that 4th St. is not in Harrison. Ada Angarano ,head of the Chamber of Commerce , made a comment that the shop was in Mamaroneck Harrison Resident: Stop calling people stupid.Read Zach's earlier comment that he went back to make sure it was clear in the article that the shop is in Mamaroneck.
ScorpioSr April 24, 2012 at 05:23 PM
Thanks for the support Freddie.
Freddie April 24, 2012 at 07:47 PM
ScorpioSr Your welcome

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