March 28, 2017
Piccadilly Ltd. gift shop closing after 30 years
Siblings Kathryn Sedam Lamonia and John Sedam will close the Main Street shop on May 6.
Our mother loved anything British,. When she started, 90 percent of the merchandize was British — Wedgewood china, Waterford Crystal, Royal Worcester.
— Katherine Sedam Lamonia
80 Main St., Warrenton
Dec. 18, 1986, by the late Charlotte Sedam
Kathryn Sedam Lamonia and John Sedam, two of the founder’s four children
10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays and until 7 p.m. Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday
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They don’t blame the internet or slow sales.
But, the owners of Piccadilly Ltd., one of downtown Warrenton’s oldest retailers, will close their gift shop Saturday, May 6.
“It’s just time,” Kathryn Sedam Lamonia said Monday, hours after announcing the closure. “Businesses run their course. This makes me think of Holder (Trumbo) and the IGA” that closed in Marshall almost two years ago.
Ms. Lamonia, who operates Piccadilly with her brother John Sedam, said the store had “a great fourth quarter” and that online shopping had little effect on their businesses.
“The internet does not gift wrap for free,” she added. “The internet doesn’t have salespeople who are knowledgeable and who help you find the perfect gift for a special occasion.
“So, I don’t think it’s affected us as much as other businesses, because people often come in here not knowing exactly what they want.”
Things have changed, however, since Piccadilly founder Charlotte Sedam’s death last June.
“Our goal was to make it through our 30th anniversary, which we did December 18th,” explained Ms. Lamonia, who left the corporate world in 2004 to join her mother’s business.
“It was something we had to do, to honor the memory of our mother,” Mr. Sedam added.
She in 1986 opened the gift shop across Main Street from the current location.
“Our mother loved anything British,” Ms. Lamonia said. “When she started, 90 percent of the merchandize was British — Wedgewood china, Waterford Crystal, Royal Worcester” porcelain.
Tastes and manufacturing have changed dramatically over three decades. Fewer brides register with bricks-and-mortar gift shops and many people live more casually. But, customers still need gifts for a variety of occasions. Piccadilly has adapted.
“I think we’ve done that pretty gracefully over time,” Ms. Lamonia said.
The shop still sells lots of picture frames, pewter, soaps, tote bags, glassware, lamps, bar tools, kitchen items, stationery, greeting cards, jewelry, hats and other fashion accessories, towels and baby gifts — “the most popular corner of the store,” she noted.
After their mother’s death, Ms. Lamonia “had a lot to learn in a very short time. Mom did all of the accounting . . . . So, I’ve been running all of the business aspects . . . and John runs the floor.”
The siblings and Shelley Alger, their lone employee, have kept the shop running six days a week.
“Shelley is the only reason we were able to keep it together after Mom’s death,” Mr. Sedam said. “She’s just been so loyal and dependable.”
But, as a 42-year-old wife and mother of two, Ms. Lamonia wants to spend more time with her family. Still, the Marshall resident hinted she might return to Warrenton with a retail venture in the future. “Main Street may not have seen the last of me.”
Her mother, a Bryn Mawr College graduate who worked in computer programming and sales for IBM, created a business that serves as a hub for dog lovers and lively conversation.
Federal government retiree Dick Rose and his golden retriever Jack discovered Piccadilly’s virtues about four years ago.
Calling her shop “dog-friendly,” Mrs. Sedam invited Jack in for a Milk Bone and water.
“I was worried about all the delicate and expensive things,” Mr. Rose recalled. “But, Charlotte said, ‘Don’t worry about it. There’s nothing here that we can’t replace if it breaks’.”
They have become regulars, stopping in during their walks for “10 to 30 minutes” every Monday through Saturday, he said.
Jack doesn’t understand why they walk past 80 Main St. on Sundays.
“It’s gonna be difficult to explain to a dog” when the six-day-a-week routine ends in May, his owner added. “Fifty percent of the people who come in know everybody. It’s just a comfortable place.”
He and his wife Kathy also have come to rely on Piccadilly for a variety of gift purchases. “They have things you just don’t find in larger stores . . . . I’m truly gonna miss it.”
Blair Lawrence, who with her sister owns the building, also will miss the shop that became a tenant in 1994.
“We’ve loved having them, because they were also so involved in the community,” said Mrs. Lawrence, who hopes another retailer will occupy the 2,400-square-foot space.
“I’m gonna be very sad to see the store close,” said Barbara Brown, who lives near New Baltimore. “We’ve been going there for 25 years.
“Kathryn and John have worked so hard to keep the store going. They certainly carried on their mother’s tradition of customer service,” Mrs. Brown said. “It’s hard to find that.”
She added: “I don’t where I’m going to shop. The Town Duck has many wonderful things, but you get into your habits. I don’t think you can replace Piccadilly.”
Lots of other businesses have come and gone from Old Town since Piccadilly opened three decades ago.
“I see good things happening for Main Street in the future, with Wort Hog (Brewing) opening” and the launch of the Partnership for Warrenton’s successor organization, said Ms. Lamonia, who earned a bachelor’s degree in foreign affairs at the University of Virginia. “Warrenton’s a special place.
“I will miss being a part of it on a daily basis.”
She and her brother, a 39-year-old Rutgers University graduate who majored in turf management, plan to leave on a high note.
They contracted Wingate Sales Solutions of Wichita, Kan., to manage the liquidation sale that will start Thursday, March 30. Price reductions will start at 20 to 50 percent and increase as the liquidation continues.
“I know how to run a store, but I don’t know how to close the store,” Ms. Lamonia said of the professional help. “I think it will be a lot of fun.”
Cynthia Carroll, a Wingate staff member from Ohio, will work in the store every day through its closure.
Unlike some liquidations she has managed, Piccadilly’s has none of the challenges of a struggling business or a downtown in decline, Ms. Carroll said.
“We’re fully stocked,” said Ms. Lamonia, who added new items to the inventory just two weeks ago. “We’ve tried to do this with grace . . . the right way.”
What would Charlotte Sedam think?
“I think she would be very, very proud of us,” her daughter said.
“She would support us 100 percent,” Mrs. Sedam’s son added.
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craignsue · March 29, 2017 at 8:57 am
The front window of Piccadilly always showcased one of the most beautiful Christmas displays in town. Always looked forward to seeing it as the holidays approached.
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