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La Pace looks ahead after five years

Andrea Lillo -- Home Textiles Today, September 9, 2002

Nestled in the leafy resort area of the Berkshires — far from Betsy Lee Workman's hometown of New York — the fine linens store La Pace recently celebrated its fifth anniversary.

Workman opened her store — named after the resort her grandparents visited in Italy for 30 years —with no experience in retail, though she was familiar with being on the other side of the register. "I was clearly born to shop," she said.

She was also born to decorate and loves helping customers beautify their beds, which she calls a "labor of love." She's even decorated bedrooms long distance, with only a photo to go on.

The personal service she gives to her customers, most of whom own a second home in the area, is one of the reasons she says she has a 90 percent customer return rate.

From the beginning the merchandise focused on the bed and bath, though over the years the assortment has trended up, she said. Anichini, Sferra, Mastro Rafael, Frette, The White House and Peacock Alley supply the majority of the bedding, while bath includes towels from Steven Drew, Raffia, Peacock Alley, Anichini and The White House. Mats are from Habidecor.

With five years of retail experience under her belt, Workman just added table linens to her assortment, staying mostly with her existing vendors like Anichini, though she's also added product from Sybaritic, Anali and others. Also in the works is an informational website, www.lapaceinc.com, which should be up and running soon, she said.

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