One mighty boutique in Pleasantville is elevating the shopping experience in the quaint village. Rhoda, centrally located on the corner of Wheeler Ave, has been in business since 2003, but recently received a new facelift, and it’s time you check it out.
The bright and airy shop, formerly known as Rhodadendron, has rebranded with a new name, Rhoda, and a cheerful new space. The new name, while the first name of the owner, Rhoda Gennarelli, is also a nod to the free-spirited character Rhoda Morganstern from the Mary Tyler Moore show.
The new space now has a clean aesthetic, is open and sunny, and is flooded with natural light. The physical transformation of the space is upgraded and sleek. The environment and new staff are welcoming and friendly, and the collections in the new inventory feature affordable statement pieces that appeal to a market that is “young at heart,” says Gennarelli.
Gennarelli shares of the longtime local staple: “Rhodadendron was a Pleasantville treasure, but we were starting to feel like buried treasure.”
COVID provided her the time to think about how to rebrand and impacted the speed at which she transformed the space. “I wanted to run a space that better represented the upbeat shopping environment I was selling. I owed it to my loyal customers to make a change and figure out how to create a similar experience online. The virus created every possible challenge, but instead of throwing in the towel, we decided to believe in the changes we were making, and that the community would respond and be there for us.”
While she says the process was not all “roses and rhododendrons,” her son Josh Lewis was her “secret weapon.” Lewis utilized his branding expertise to help his mom “look in the mirror, and better understand the store’s value proposition, and what could not be replicated,” says Gennarelli.
Lewis told her that having the capacity to rebrand her brand at her age was not typical and wanted to support her and offer advice for a successful rebrand.
Gennarelli shares, “He wanted me to own this and [give] tribute to the mid-1970s when I had my first buying job at Sears, and when America was getting to know Rhoda on Mary Tyler Moore. So the design was intended to bridge the gap between my corporate beginning to running my own little oasis, and celebrate women of notable stamina.”
Lewis jokes their approach to the major transformation is similar to the transformation of the town’s boutique by David Rose in the hit sitcom Schitt’s Creek.
“We were very careful not to lose sight of who we are and who our dedicated customers are. I think the rebrand is just a contemporary twist on the store we’ve always been,” says Gennarelli.
The store, which now stocks whimsical accessories like colorful headbands, dainty jewelry, flowy dresses, and boho-chic apparel, has also attracted new labels after their rebrand. Lewis says they are the only store in the county to stock Lisa Says Gah, Just Female, Mod Ref, and Grade & Gather. Collections are hand selected and curated to reflect the new motto of Rhoda: Go-To-Town™. The mother-son share this is “part motto, part merchandising strategy,” as the store champions small business and “the thrill of shopping for statement [pieces] under $100.”
During a time where retail has majorly struggled, Gennarelli shares their rebrand has been well-received by the community and that reception has been reflected through sales. Says Gennarelli: “It worked. Queue the rainbows.”