Tag Archives: Regency Court

Charlie Rossi

December 27, 2018 by
Photography by Heather and Jameson Hooton

Editor’s note: These autobiographical pieces and corresponding photos are part of a special edition of 60PLUS featuring local residents who prove that fashion has no age limits. Click here for the full list of featured models. 

Charlie Rossi, 74

Growing up in St. Louis during the 1950s and early 1960s, I lived in a neighborhood with friends whose major interests were sports and clothes. The area was barely middle-class, yet my friends and I aspired to own clothes with upscale labels, such as shirts from Gant and Hathaway, sweaters from Pringle of Scotland, and Weejuns (penny loafers) from G.H. Bass & Co. Little did I know my affinity for designer-name clothes would have such a profound impact on my life. 

My first significant retail position was on the sales staff of the St. Louis Neiman Marcus store, which opened in 1974. Some salient advice I received while working there was, “If you own a store, it should have a focus and not try to be all things to all people.” This philosophy has guided me during my entire career. 

I have always been a big fan of the old movie stars of the 1930s, ’40s, and ’50s, such as Gary Cooper, Fred Astaire, and Clark Gable. They each had a personal yet timeless style. When Ralph Lauren reinterpreted this manner of dress for the modern man, I was inspired to adopt a classic aesthetic for my store. 

Marriage brought me to Omaha in 1977. I resumed my retail career here at Ben Simons at Westroads after seeking out stores that carried Polo by Ralph Lauren and discovering this was the only local store carrying the brand at that time. Not long after starting there, I was introduced to the gentleman who represented Polo Clothing Co. in this area. He suggested to the men’s clothing buyer that he take me to New York to assist in the selection of Polo merchandise for Ben Simons. I left Ben Simons in March 1978 to help open Suttons in Regency Fashion Court, placing primary emphasis on the Polo label. My association there lasted 12 ½ years. 

My dream of owning my own store came to fruition when I opened Rossi Clothiers in July 1991. I have no intention of retiring. As my son once said to a friend, “My pop has never had a job in his life, because he goes to his hobby every day.” I have been fortunate to have good health, which I mostly attribute to genetics, but doing something you have a passion for sure helps. Family and friends also give meaning to your life. I have close friends I have known for over 50 years. My customers are not just my customers, they are also my friends. After all, I have known some of them for close to 40 years. Finally, I am so proud of my three children and selfishly hope to live a long time so I can spend it with my five phenomenal grandchildren.

This article first appeared in the January/February 2019 edition of 60PLUS in Omaha MagazineTo receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

On the Move

April 10, 2015 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Originally Published in March/April/May 2015 B2B.

This isn’t the first time the owners of The Bookworm have done this whole move thing. Beth and Phil Black have owned the independent bookstore for nearly 30 years and last fall they moved into their third location, anchoring the new Loveland Centre at 90th Street and West Center Road.

It’s a move the couple felt necessary for the future of the store.

Since the recession, the climate for brick and mortar booksellers, like many other industries, has been less than kind. Yet The Bookworm, which opened at Regency Court in 1986 and then moved to Countryside Village in 1999, continues to serve a faithful reading public.

“We’ve got loyal customers,” says Beth Black. “Omaha supports local. Omaha is incredible in how it gets behind local businesses. And we’ve got wonderful workers here who really love books. Who want to put the right book into people’s hands.”

“We are noticing more young families coming in and it’s a better layout—everything on one level,” Black says. “The expansion is good. There are a lot more people saying it’s easier to get here and we are seeing more people from Council Bluffs, Papillion, and Ralston. It’s been a good move.”

The layout is different, and the wide-open look has led some people to think the store is a new business. A lot of the “coziness” of the old Countryside Village location was out of necessity due to cramped spaces. For some customers, the change has taken some getting used to, Black says.

“We went through the same things when we moved from Regency,” she says. “It’s just different—it’s a change. Our customers take ownership in the store. It’s their store. The physical store has changed, but nothing else. We’ll hear moms come in and say, ‘See they still have cookies’ and, ‘Look. Carl the dog is still here.’”

Several recent trips to The Bookworm, both during the week and on weekend days, saw a good number of browsers, very similar to typical traffic at the old Countryside Village location. Black says another thing the store has going in its favor is the support of the city. Omaha, she says, doesn’t just shop local; it’s also a very intelligent city.

“People read here,” she says. “Even people with all their electronic devices they still like a book. And whenever there is an event in Omaha people call us to sell books.”

Black says The Bookworm will be selling books at the Holland Lecture Series for the upcoming appearance of activist and author Angela Davis on March 4. The Bookworm is involved every year in the Berkshire Hathaway weekend.

“Everyone wants to know what Warren and Charlie are reading,” she says. “They both are big readers and promote reading.”

Black says she’s sure this is the final move for The Bookworm. She says that the staff looks forward to being a part of Omaha for a long time to come.