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Downtown boutique Serendipity celebrates 10 years of business

| Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2012, 9:15 p.m.
Kimberly and Peter Coppola, owners/operators of Serendipity in PPG Place December 18, 2012. James Knox | Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
A shoe wine bottle holder available at Serendipity in PPG Place December 18, 2012. James Knox | Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
A Safari Collection heart stud earings available at Serendipity in PPG Place December 18, 2012. James Knox | Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
An Italian leather downtown tote available at Serendipity in PPG Place December 18, 2012. James Knox | Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Serendipity is defined as the phenomenon of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for.

So it was a perfect name for Kimberly and Peter Coppola to choose for their Downtown women's accessories boutique. The store offers items to “express yourself.”

“Sometimes, you just meet people by chance, or things happen which steer you in a different direction than you were originally heading,” Peter Coppola says. “It's amazing how we have met so many wonderful people in this business … just by chance. It is just weird how this has opened so many doors for us.”

It is not by chance that their doors have remained open, having survived nearly a decade Downtown. February will be the store's 10th anniversary. The Market Square store was originally in One Oxford Centre.

“The experience you have there is like none other in the city,” says Sue Morris of Scott, who has been shopping at Serendipity for at least five years. “I love to shop, and I enjoy accessories, which are very much a part of my daily life. They have unique accessories, and they know everything about the products they sell. That is a gift when you can find a place like Serendipity.”

Morris says the minute she walks by the store windows, she spots something fashionable.

“Once you are inside the store, there are many things that catch your eye, and I want them all,” Morris says.

The couple hand-selects each accessory during monthly trips to New York. They say they love being able to see the items and bring back unique pieces. Their merchandise has been featured in Accessories magazine, a global industry publication. The store is a sponsor of several pageants and Pageant Associates.

“We are ahead of the trends,” Kimberly Coppola says. “We do our homework.”

They are and they do, says Lorrie Frost, publisher of Accessories magazine, who met the couple through one of her magazine's trade shows.

“They have great taste and it's a great store,” Frost says. “They stay close to their customers and they have a great website. They are always emailing clients and showing them new things, and they use social networking well. Many specialty stores don't do those things and then wonder why they have to close their doors.”

The Pleasant Hills couple worked for others before they realized their dream of running their own business. He was in the restaurant business for 30-plus years, and she spent many years in retail. Their working relationship works well because both bring different skills to the business. She knows style, and he is the business expert.

“There is no more chasing the carrot,” Peter Coppola says. “And, we don't have to give up our quality of life for our job. We love what we do, working with our clients, designers and vendors. Our goal is to offer a fun shopping experience. We offer quality, and we don't buy lots of one item.”

Serendipity sells stylish handbags, some that are made specifically for the store. Kimberly created a lip product called lipFUEL, a shine and plumping gloss.

“I love the openness of this store,” she says. “It gives people a chance to see what we have. It is really fun to be located on the street level for that reason.”

The 1,200-square-foot boutique offers a wide range of prices to accommodate everyone. Earrings start at $14, hair accessories at $5 and handbags at $80.

“Great style does not come with a price,” Kimberly says. “If you have an eye for fashion, you can find stylish items are all price points and look awesome.”

Serendipity: Two PPG Place, Downtown. Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturdays. Details: 412-325-1122 or www.serendipityaccessories.com

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at jharrop@tribweb.com or 412-320-7889.

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