In June 1932, Rose Rubinoff Buchman opened a shop at the corner of Ligonier and Depot streets to sell bridal dresses and formal clothing to the women of Latrobe.
Nine decades and countless changes later, Rose Style Shoppe is still bustling with business.
Ronda Goetz, third-generation owner and Rubinoff Buchman’s granddaughter, described the shop’s family legacy as “daunting.”
“I almost want to pinch myself,” Goetz said. “I love being here.”
Goetz doesn’t know life without the shop, which moved to 906 Ligonier St. in 1945.
Her parents, Harold and Bette Buchman, became the owners in 1950. Ownership transferred to Goetz after her mother’s 2011 death.
Changes in the shop’s merchandise reflect shifts in cultural interests as well as family passions.
During the 1960s and 1970s, the shop welcomed casual clothes and women’s work clothes to its stock.
Additionally, as Goetz became more invested in shop management, the family began selling non-clothing items.
The shop now offers kitchen supplies, food, candles, jewelry, purses, cards and stickers in addition to women’s clothing.
Despite changes, the shop still pays homage to its rich past. Photographs of Goetz’s family members and 1930s models in wedding dresses line Rose Style Shoppe’s walls.
“The store has such an interesting history,” Goetz said. “It evolves.”
Goetz actively seeks merchandise from businesses that are socially active, women-owned or locally made.
“It’s meaningful,” she said. “You’re buying a gift but you’re giving to someone else.”
Goetz’s niece, Jessica Buchman, worked at the shop throughout high school and college. Buchman, from Shadyside, said countless stories and memories from the shop will stay with her forever.
“There’s not many stores that you can go in and get specialty service,” she said. “(The shop is) a hidden gemstone for our family and Latrobe.”
Throughout its 90-year life, Rose Style Shoppe has survived the Great Depression, World War II, several recessions and the coronavirus pandemic.
Personal hardships are also part of its history. When Goetz was in college, her parents were in a car accident. Her father died and her mother spent months in the hospital.
After the accident, Goetz didn’t immediately return to school. Instead, she ran the shop and gained “firsthand knowledge” of what it meant to own a small business.
“My mother had such a passion for this store, and I didn’t quite understand it completely until it became my responsibility and my baby,” she said.
Looking ahead, Goetz isn’t sure what the shop’s future holds. Her friends gave her 90 $1 bills to celebrate Rose Style Shoppe’s anniversary – and added a $10 bill for 10 more years.
“That would be cool to be 100,” Goetz said.
Regardless, Goetz plans to continue adapting, learning and “buying more chocolate,” one of her favorite items that she sells.
“This is more than a store,” she said. “I don’t even know how to describe it.”