Artistry in Fashion
Meet Aversa’s Style Masters
“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.
“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.
“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.
“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.
“My goal is to help you look and feel your very best.” – Susan Cardone
Susan’s love for fashion started at an early age. After College, Susan began her fashion career as a successful model. While modeling for one of her clients, she was offered a position in sales and special events with Zita, a high-end Milwaukee fashion retailer. While there, she developed and produced one of Milwaukee’s largest fashion events, The Milwaukee Symphony Fashion Show. What started as a simple pipe and drape event evolved into a high-end New York fashion show with over 1000 attendees and standing ovations! She served as a sales associate for over 12 years, helping Milwaukee’s elite dress for success.
With her strong customer following and keen fashion sense, Susan opened her own boutique in 1999, serving as a buyer, operations manager, events coordinator and sales aficionado.
After her son as born in 2008, she became a full-time mom, dedicating herself for several years to raising her family After her son entered school, Susan’s passion for fashion and desire to help women look and feel good led her back into retail. Today, Susan delights in helping Aversa clients dress for any occasion, whether it be casual, professional work attire or formalwear. She believes Aversa’s classic lines work for everyone, be they old, young, thin or fuller figured. At the end of the day, Susan is satisfied when her customers feel good about themselves when they walk out Aversa’s door.
“Clothes should match your attitude and style and speak to your energy, no matter what your age. Fashion should be simple, fun and easy!” – Meri Setyan
Meri started working in the designer fashion industry in 2008 as an intern for Valentina, a high-end Milwaukee retailer. While there, she organized and managed fashion shows, designed creative displays and provided styling tips and advice for Milwaukee fashion conscious.
Meri grew up in a close-knit family of estheticians. Her family suggested she enter nursing school so that she could form her own Medispa one day. Obtaining a nursing degree was necessary to provide additional wellness and beauty treatments. However, after three years of nursing school, Meri shifted focus, entering esthetician school. After receiving her esthetician’s license, she worked for the next two years at Neroli, providing make-up services, facial, and body treatments.
Missing the fashion business, she took a part-time job in the Milwaukee’s Third Ward as a sales associate for a small clothing store. It was there that she realized her true passion was fashion. When the store closed, she joined the Aversa family as their assistant buyer. Today, she also serves as marketing and merchandising guru while assisting the family with various store tasks.
Meri brings a sense of youthfulness and vitality to Aversa. While she loves traditional couture design, she is also bringing new trends and collections that speak to a younger audience — pieces that are more casual, budget conscious and fun. Her creative energy is contagious too, helping woman of all ages feel pretty and more confident. Whether you are a young mom, busy professional or just looking for an ideal gift for that special person in your life, Meri can help bring new and exciting looks that can update and complete any wardrobe.