Share This Page

Caste Village Shoppes have local feel and family connections

| Wednesday, March 27, 2013, 9:02 p.m.
For The South Hills Record
Flowers by Terry in Caste Village Shopping Center.

Changes at the Caste Village Shoppes have brought in new customers to old staples in the Whitehall center, business owners say.

Yet, it's the local feel and family connections that keep people coming back.

“Caste Village is one of the few and only shopping centers that when you walk in the owner is standing there to great you,” said Tony Bonacci, co-owner of Frank's Shoes, which opened its second store in the last three years in Robinson Town Centre.

It all starts from the top, business owners say. Caste Village Shoppes is a family owned and operated shopping center, where members of the Caste family are involved in the day-to-day operations.

That makes a difference, said Silk Road owner Thuy Lieu.

Many of the more than 50 businesses in the shopping center also are locally owned, with South Hills residents at the helm. Generations, too, work together inside the stores to ensure their businesses prosper.

“This is their career. This is their life,” Lieu said.

A third generation of family members now are working at Frank's Shoes and Clothing, which opened at Caste Village in the 1960s as a shoe repair store. The business has been in the family since the 1970s and expanded to sell clothing and footwear, mostly for men, Bonacci said.

“It's a good family oriented place,” said store manager Nick Costanzo. “That's what I think makes this shopping center unique.”

The store has moved five times inside the shopping center and increased from 600 square feet to a 6,300-square-foot space, Bonacci said. While the majority of the business now is in clothing and shoe sales, Frank's Shoes still does repairs.

Today's shoes are “junk, cheap and horribly made” from plastics and man-made materials — swear words to those in the shoe repair business, Bonacci said. Now, many people simply buy another pair of shoes instead of getting theirs repaired. So it was important for the business to change.

Changes at Caste Village only have improved business, owners said.

“It's the best it's ever been,” Bonacci said of the shopping center.

Julie Mancine opened “Julie's Treats” inside Caste Village three years ago.

Like the owners of Frank's Shoes, Mancine, too, has gotten to know her customers well.

The same people come into the shop on a daily basis for coffee, doughnuts and lottery tickets. It's those customers that make work enjoyable.

“We like coming to work every day,” Mancine said.

Stephanie Hacke is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5818 or shacke@tribweb.com.

Related Content
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.