Artistry in Fashion

Meet Aversa's Style Masters

David Aversa

"We cater to all your good fashion senses." -David Aversa

Like his siblings, David grew up in the family business. One of seven children, he spent weekends and summers from middle school through college helping and learning about the fashion and retail worlds by doing whatever was necessary--stocking shelves, designing storefronts and crunching numbers. David attended Lewis University and Northern Illinois University, where he earned a business degree and MBA. Instead of joining the family business after college, David chose to join Klein's, a national department store chain. He was hired to become a part of their management team; thus he worked in every department including human resources, advertising and purchasing.

But, after a period of time at Klein's, David was inspired to open another Aversa and spoke with his father, Terry. Leaning on the strength of his work experiences and demographic research, the Milwaukee market was selected as the perfect location. Together, Terry and David visited several sites and concluded the North shore was a perfect fit. Bayshore would become their new home. In 1985, newlyweds David and Patti and sister Angela opened the Milwaukee Aversa.

David is Aversa's general manager and wears many hats. He handles advertising, operations and financial aspects of the business. He has also been intricately involved with the design and redesign of Aversa's interior. You might see David in the shop working with his family, although he diligently works behind the scenes, performing day-to-day operations.

Patti Aversa

"I believe fashion should complement your unique sense of style." -Patti Aversa

Inspired by her mother's sense of style, and nurturing her own interest in design, Patti earned a fashion merchandising and business degree from Eastern Illinois University. Patti's personal and professional lives were shaped by two work experiences during her college years. First, she learned the importance of customer service during a 12-week program at Disney World. The other included her stint as a sales associate at Klein's Department Store-a position that reported directly to David. After college, Patti briefly worked in management training at a women's clothier in Chicago. But with her relationship with David growing, Patti joined the Aversa family with Mr. and Mrs. Aversa's blessing. Terry Aversa, the family patriarch, took Patti under his wing; taking her to New York and introducing her to the buying world. Today, Patti researches collections and hand-selects fabrics and designs based on the wants and desires of Aversa's clients. Because she interacts with clients on a daily basis, Patti understands their needs and style. Her expertise as a buyer is based on many years of servicing clients and interpreting fashion trends. Patti considers all her colleagues "family." She cherishes the many friendships that have developed over the past 24 years with her clients and their daughters. Patti, and all Aversa's fashion consultants, would rather have a client leave empty handed than purchase an unflattering or inappropriate selection. She considers herself a fashion advocate--servicing clients with Aversa's impeccable integrity.

Maria Aversa

"Design should become you rather than wear you." - Maria Aversa

The fifth of seven children, Maria worked after school in the family business like the rest of her siblings; honing her fashion and design skills. She graduated from Northern Illinois University with a marketing and finance degree and later worked in mortgage banking and wholesale lending. After dedicating herself, for several years, to raise her family, Maria returned to Aversa in 2001.

Maria develops relationships. Her goal is to present styles that lend a comfortable confidence to clients no matter the occasion. One of her signature strengths is keenly observing clients' energy, comfort zones, sensitivity to fabrics and colors as well as their body frame. With her analytical fashion approach, she can intuitively determine which lines and styles will flatter clients at first glance.

She thinks of herself as a fashion guide--teaching specific fashion trends to fit each client's personality. Maria encourages openness to new fashion experiences in order to enhance style confidence. Her ability to bring an entire wardrobe or outfit together is evident in the many displays that greet each client. She is an integral part of the merchandising and buying process--literally feeling fabrics and inspecting a garment's architecture before purchasing. So whether you're a size two or 16, Maria can assist you in finding the perfect wardrobe pieces to enhance your lifestyle.

John Aversa

"We offer personalized service from the moment you walk through our door for a truly enjoyable shopping experience." - John Aversa

The youngest Aversa, John grew up learning retail and fashion at an early age. He often accompanied his father, Terry, to market on Saturdays and on an occasional trip to New York. While studying in college, John honed his retail skills by learning the ropes in Aversa's Joliet and Oakbrook, Illinois stores. After college, he worked briefly in other endeavors, including promotional sales, before moving to Milwaukee to help Patti and David at Aversa in Bayshore.

For the past 16 years, John has worn many hats like the rest of the Aversa family. From an early age, he was taught to pitch in wherever needed. Those traits are still a part of his everyday responsibilities. He is usually in the back office handling inventory and receiving; some days you might see John working with clients on the floor or on the phone discussing special orders, reorders, bags, boxes and more.

Emily Tanski

"I want to help you find the styles that fit your lifestyle." -Emily Tanski

Emily's love of historical costumes led her to a career in fashion and design. She earned a fashion design degree from Mount Mary College where she studied pattern making, design, textiles and merchandising. During college, she held an internship at Aversa and later joined full time in 2006. Today, Emily works on the sales floor, assists Patti and Maria with buying, and designs some of Aversa's many displays. Emily brings a sense of youth and vitality to the Aversa mix. While understanding and appreciating traditional couture design, Emily has been responsible for introducing new collections that speak to a younger audience; an audience that is more casual, budget conscious and less traditional. Emily is great at helping customers of any age select the perfect outfit or complementary wardrobe pieces. Her warm smile and genuine interest make you feel at home the minute you enter the store. So whether you're a young mom, or busy professional, she can introduce new looks to help you complete and update your current wardrobe.

Jean Williams

"I want every client to feel as comfortable with their style here as they do at home." - Jean Williams

Jean brings 30 plus years of retail experience to Aversa. She started her fashion career working at other retailers in Bayshore and downtown Milwaukee. For the past 13 years, Jean has enjoyed working with her Aversa family. Jean greets each and every person with a warm smile and a relaxed demeanor. Her professionalism is evident in meeting client needs. She listens to you and observes your personality before making any style suggestions. Jean is interested in more than just helping you select the perfect garment-she's interested in you and your style confidence. Many times, Aversa's clients will receive a friendly call or note from Jean, just to connect. Jean is also a talented display artist. Her savvy fashion sense is showcased in some of the 33 on-site displays. Whether you are shopping for a special accessory, entire outfit or special gown, Jean will take care of you like family.

Gretchen Balestrieri

"Whether you're a new client walking through our doors, or one that's been coming for years, my goal is to make you feel comfortable and provide a great overall experience." -Gretchen Balestrieri

Gretchen has spent the last 39 years in retail environments. Her love of fashion began at an early age when making her own clothes to reflect the latest trends. Later, Gretchen started her career as a part-time sales associate at T.A. Chapman Co., a Milwaukee-based department store. Working in virtually every department, including the sales floor and purchasing, Gretchen eventually became a manager of Chapman's II at Mayfair and Bayshore Malls. After 13 years with T.A. Chapman Co., she entered a new phase of her career and began working with the Aversa family.

For the last 20 years, Gretchen has felt a part of the Aversa family and continues to bring her knowledge of fabric, style and design to clients. Be it calling a client when the perfect piece comes in, or helping solve a last-minute fashion emergency, Gretchen ensures each client receives the personalized service that reflects Aversa's signature customer-oriented approach. She is also integral to visual merchandising-by creating outfits for her clients as well as mannequins and displays throughout the store. With an eye for form, fit and function, Gretchen's enthusiastic and unwavering desire to help each client look and feel their best in beautiful fashion, shines through.

Claudyne Whitaker

"When you walk out our doors, I want you to look good, feel good and know we exceeded your expectations." --Claudyne Whitaker

Formerly an educator at the elementary level with Milwaukee Public Schools, and an instructor at UW-Milwaukee, Claudyne joined Aversa while employed at the Milwaukee Teachers Education Association. Initially an enthusiastic client, Claudyne was impressed with Aversa's merchandise quality, fashion expertise and personalized attention. She continues to deliver that same sense of professionalism and friendliness after 21 years as an Aversa sales associate. Her ability to make others feel at ease comes from observing and listening to each client's needs. She carefully asks questions to gain fashion insights in an effort to provide targeted selections with impeccable, detailed attention. Whether you are looking for a gift for that special someone, searching for the perfect special occasion dress or adding to your current wardrobe, Claudyne can assist you with your needs.