Patricia McGrath Lind (b.1905), started her design career unconventionally, at an insurance company. The family legend is that she spent most of her time at the water cooler nipping, tucking, and advising her fellow working women on their outfits. Although her career at the insurance company was not successful, her designing was. When the 'rat's nest', as her mother called her collection of sewing projects, began taking over the house, her brothers rented a small workshop for her. It was comprised of a workroom, fitting room, and a small storefront with hats, gloves, hosiery and fabrics. They posted a sign on the door proclaiming it 'Patricia Shoppe' and she never had time to take it down. The first Patricia Shoppe was located at 11127 Vernon Avenue in Chicago, Illinois.
Patricia, known for the quality of her work, specialized in custom designs. It was said that she knew how to emphasize only the best of a woman's shape. Patricia's clients were as dynamic as herself and the times they lived in: middle class American housewives, the swelling ranks of 'working girls' and business women, well-known socialites, even nuns. While Patricia offered her customers the seasons latest styles she also taught them about building a wardrobe with all the valued staples of the era, a basic black dress, a classic navy suit….Her success through many hard times can be attributed to her ability in updating the old to new and creating styles made from quality, long lasting materials. Her clients were loyal and knew she could always make them look great. She kept all her clients' measurements on file, exemplifying the days of true customer service and Main Street America.
In the mid-1950's, Patricia Shoppe moved to 2543 East 79th Street in the popular South Shore neighborhood. Patricia brought in ready-to-wear lines and focused on accessories, especially hats and jewelry. The store grew into a full service women's boutique and enjoyed 30 years of business until Patricia's retirement in 1967.
1967 was a time of great change not only in Patricia's life, but also in her city, her country, and her world. Never a woman to sit on the sidelines, when Vatican 2 mandated nuns' habits be brought into the 20th century, Patricia jumped into the fray by submitting her own design. Her dark green wool suit was shown in Canada as a possible new uniform. Although, in the end, a particular design was not settled upon- it was decided the sisters would be allowed to choose their own outfits, within certain guidelines - the dark green color became a popular choice and many nuns' suits were styled after Patricia's design.
Upon her retirement, Patricia moved to her cottage in Crystal Lake, Illinois. She was an active member of her church as well as the garden and women's club and always designing and sewing for her friends and family. Patricia died in 1996, after 91 remarkable years of life. She was ahead of her time in many ways - at a time in American history where the role of the woman was so contrary to her dreams, Patricia was determined to have her own business, to raise her son on her own, and to really enjoy life. And she did it. All of it, in style.
Erin Anschutz Bosman, Patricia's great granddaughter, grew up 4 hours north of Chicago on Wisconsin's Door Peninsula, where Patricia and her family had vacationed since the 1930's. Erin remembers visits to her great grandmother in Chicago: "It was so glamorous, I loved getting dressed up and going into the city for tea and shopping. Grandmother had a certain grace about her, always in furs and heels, the best made clothing, and always up to date in trends. I loved looking through her old photos and fashion magazines." Patricia would share stories about the shop and the times past that have always intrigued Erin. She sparked Erin's interest in vintage styles and fashion. Erin was 19 years old when her great grandmother passed away and considered her one of the most influential people in her life.
After years of working in Door County galleries and shops, Erin knew that, like Patricia, she would open her own boutique. Picking up where her great grandmother left off in 1967, the focus of Erin's shop was accessories: jewelry, handbags, and hats. Inspired by Patricia's era and personal style and colored by the lens of Erin's own unique vision, Patricia Shoppe was reborn and opened May 4th, 2001 in the waterfront village of Egg Harbor, Wisconsin.
Repeating Patricia Shoppe history Erin's jewelry and accessories shop was a success and outgrew her first small storefront. In 2004 Erin and her husband purchased and renovated the historic Egg Harbor Town Hall. In 2005 Patricia Shoppe moved to its larger location and continues to give its visitors a truly unique shopping experience with charming gardens, vintage atmosphere, personal service, and an even wider array of unique jewelry and accessories. The addition of apparel and shoes has brought Patricia Shoppe's history full circle. Today Patricia Shoppe offers her customers quality products that are both stylish and classic. In 2008 Patricia Shoppe was voted one of Door County's top boutiques.
Located in a remote tourist destination, the majority of Patricia Shoppe customers only get to visit a few times a year. Many of Erin's customers told her they wished Patricia Shoppe was closer to home. Channeling the entrepreneurial spirit of Patricia, Erin decided to franchise and open other locations. In September of 2006 the first Patricia Shoppe franchise opened at 403 East Silver Spring Drive, Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin, a northern suburb of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Both stores are a reflection of the original Patricia Shoppe; decorated with antique jewelry cases, historically accurate light fixtures, and Patricia's pen and ink sketches. Merchandise is displayed uniquely among old vanities and vintage hat boxes, and yet has a modern edge that makes the new Patricia Shoppe both a classic yet current boutique and a trend setter in today's fashion scene.