Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Persons of Interest: Pete and Kimberly Coppola

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Persons of Interest: Pete and Kimberly Coppola

Article excerpt

Serendipity isn't just the name of the accessories boutique in Market Square owned and operated by Pete and Kimberly Coppola of Pleasant Hills. It's how the shop got its start through what the couple calls a series of "fortunate accidents."

More than a decade ago, Pete worked in the restaurant business. His original plan was to open a small shop inside. But after he was injured in a car accident, his wife opened a 68-square-foot jewelry boutique in the restaurant while her husband recovered. After a year, they expanded to a 1,200-square-foot boutique at Oxford Centre, Downtown, which they called home for about four years.

Then, in what could be considered a risky move, Serendipity moved to Market Square before a $5 million renovation kicked off in August 2009. The plaza and surrounding streets turned into a giant construction mess for a year. But the store survived to celebrate its 10th anniversary this year.

"At the time, this was going to be the next retail mecca," Pete said.

Market Square evolved instead into a restaurant hub, but the Coppolas are happy with the store's street-level location. Plus, they're noticing a pickup in shoppers as more people live Downtown or visit Market Square to take in activities during the holidays or summer months.

The Coppolas pride the store in staying six to eight months ahead of trends through research, regular trips to New York City and relationships they maintain with designers. They've also been featured in the industry magazine Accessories.

The boutique carries jewelry, hats, handbags, scarves, fingerless gloves and an assortment of other fashionable knick-knacks. About half of the merchandise is American-made. Prices range from a few bucks to several hundred dollars.

What will the next decade bring? Possibly an expansion, or maybe franchising, the couple said.

"We already have our nieces saying, 'Listen, we're going to take over,' " Pete said.

Serendipity is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays. Information: www.serendipityaccessories.com or 412-325-1122.

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