Photo by Sarah Scrugg
As a retailer for more than 40 years, I see myself as the “godfather” of the personal touch retail gallery business and a true native of the Nation’s Capitol. I was born and raised in the Brentwood Village North East neighborhood in Washington, D.C. My parents and family were of modest means but were frugal and we were happy and enjoyed the friendship and safety of the neighborhood. It was my experience growing up there in which those neighbors and family friends involved in small business generally seemed to be better off and more independent than most others. That for me was a primary reason I gravitated toward small business at a very early age."
Although my path as a youth began with service in the U.S. military, my true calling began at the catalog company, W. Bell. From there, I was fortunate to move to Hecht’s as an assistant buyer for women’s clothing. Demonstrating a willingness to take risks despite a lack of experience, one summer in his early years he opened up three small retail outlets -- nothing glamorous, just a 8-foot by 10-foot booth on the Boardwalk at Ocean City featuring pierced earrings.
I knew absolutely nothing about the pierced ears earring business but discovered it was a terrific moneymaker and as I look back on those days I can’t believe it today but I researched how to pierce ears and spent one summer actually doing that.
Then in rapid succession came a variety store called “The Last Straw” in Rehoboth Beach, and on weekends another store. also in Ocean City, which I lovingly coin, “an eclectic flea market.”
I barely broke even that summer but I learned a lot and since those early years I have become far more conservative and successful as a result of those lessons learned. Several years later I met Carol in my Arlington store. Wow. She came in as a customer and after a couple of dates, I told her we were going to get married. She thought I was crazy -- still does -- but eventually we did get married and it was the most important decision we ever made. She made and continues to make all the difference in the world in terms of our long-term happiness in life and our business success.
Welcome to Our Home
We are Richard and Carol Lowy and we are so pleased to welcome you to our home and community. For us and the many we welcome into our shop, Richard Caroll is a local haven.
We celebrate 7 years in business this coming August at our business at Belle View Shopping Center on Belle View Boulevard in Alexandria, Virginia. This is our home. Come on in, you are welcome.
Together, we celebrate 38 years of marriage and are blessed with a son, raised in the community and a graduate of George Mason University, Richard Leonard Lowy.
Our store is located at the corner of Belle View Boulevard and Fort Hunt Road. Store Hourse are Monday thru Wednesday, 10AM until 7PM; Thursday and Friday from 10AM until 8PM; Saturday from 10!) until 6PM; and, Sunday from noon until 5PM.
Photos by Katherine Lapan
Why is Richard Carroll Unique?
It is unlikely there is any other neighborhood retail gallery store in the region where you can buy in the same store a one carat diamond, handcrafted jewelry, an ottoman, a lady’s’ dress, a chess set, a lamp, a man’s tie, a lady’s handbag, cuff links, ladies’ slippers. The approach to customer relations is definitely old school; a personal touch when you walk into our store that will make you feel right at home, whether you buy something or not. We are not a mall store or a big box store. I see us as a throwback to the small personal touch stores in past generations. Our customers’ trust us to provide them with good value for the price they are paying.
Our unique and special touch atmosphere includes our pet Rottweiler, Trooper, who is our constant companion at the store. He is just a big teddy bear (110 lbs of love), and stays quietly in his large crate at the back of the store.
We may not be a big shop, but we treat customers like we are -- want a coffee, a water? Come on in, we've got that. Want to chat? We'll make time to listen.
Content of full interview can be found the