Liza Fragomele is passionate about her home town – a fact that is now the good fortune of local fashionistas. That’s because after nearly a decade of experience in New York, the local girl has opened a new boutique, “Trudy,” on Delaware Avenue in Trolley Square.
On the store’s first weekend of business, mothers, daughters, and a stream of women in Saturday morning athletic gear popped in to catch their first look at the new fashion, gift and lifestyle boutique. Shoppers were excited to meet the local retailer, and their consensus was clear – Trudy is a much-welcomed addition to the neighborhood.
“It’s kind of cliché to say, but it’s always been one of my dreams to open a store, and I saw that there was an opportunity to bring great women’s fashion to this part of town,” said Fragomele, remarking that the location sealed the deal. When the old Bloomsbury Florist (later the consignment store Déjà vu) retail space – with large windows facing both Delaware Ave. and North Scott St. – became available, she jumped at the opportunity. “I thought this was such a perfect location – it’s so visible.”
Fragomele grew up in Wilmington, graduating from the Tatnall School in 2008. After studying at the University of Delaware and the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, she landed an internship at Kirna Zabete, a high-end women’s fashion boutique (also in NYC) owned by Beth Buccini, wife of developer Rob Buccini. Fragomele quickly earned a full-time position at the luxury retailer and spent the next six years learning the business in a variety of roles, from web developer to the “awesome” position as an associate buyer.
In 2017 Fragomele was able to combine her desire to move back to Wilmington, where she wanted to reconnect with family and friends, and maintain her role as a buyer for Kirna Zabete, which was opening a new store in Bryn Mawr, on Philadelphia’s Main Line. “It just worked out great. It kind of took me leaving Wilmington to appreciate this small town so much more.”
Fragomele’s uncle is Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki (her mother’s brother-in-law), and he officiated the ribbon cutting at Trudy last Friday.
Her store is named after her mother Trudy, and both of her parents were instrumental in helping their daughter get her new business off the ground. Her father Joe Fragomele, who runs Colonial Construction, managed the renovations. And Liza worked with her mom, who also has a knack for interior design, to bring her aesthetic vision for the store to life. They picked up light fixtures in New York and picked out great art photographs for the walls, including a picture of Marylyn Monroe wearing a delicate blouse and revealing skirt, supermodel Kate Moss strutting down a New York street and an artist’s rendering of Audrey Hepburn sporting a modern sleeve tattoo.
With a nod to the store’s namesake, there’s a smiling picture of mom Trudy on one of the back walls.
Trudy (@trudy_de), which Fragomele describes as ‘fun and fashion forward,’ offers a fresh, New York vibe to its clientele. In addition to beautiful blouses, jeans, cute sweaters, and dresses, merchandise also includes bathing suits, accessories, handbags, evening clutches, jewelry, note cards, coffee table books and candles. Her lifestyle store offers a little something for everyone. “My goal was to offer things they shoppers don’t see at every other store. I wanted people would leave here finding something special.”
Some of the lines she carries include Ganni, Mother, A.L.C., Pam & Gela, KULE, MISA, Monrow, Trademark, and Solid and Striped. She even has cool t-shirts with political cartoons designed by U.P Unfortunate Portrait.
Fragomele is looking forward to becoming an important part of her new neighborhood. “I never appreciated home when I was here growing up. There’s something really special about small towns, especially Trolley Square and 40 Acres. It’s changing so much, there are so many new things happening. And I want to be a part of it — a positive change for the city and the neighborhood.”