Katherine Barchetti was Pittsburgh’s retail success story, a platinum blond grandmother who outsold, outpriced and outdazzled the competition.
K. Barchetti Shops does virtually no print advertising but keeps customers through mail incentives and services. From her system, she can look up who bought Zegna suits and invite them to an exclusive fashion show by Zegna.
Of the 35,000 customers in her database, 8,000 are regulars and most of them she knows not only by name, but by style.
On Oct. 30, her namesake boutique, K. Barchetti Shops, filed for protection from creditors under Chapter 11 of the federal bankruptcy code.
A day later, Ms. Barchetti filed for similar protection for her personal finances.
Ms. Barchetti blames theft. Customers and employees swiped merchandise and abused the store’s customer service policies, she said, forcing K.Barchetti to introduce a “no return” policy, fire more than 20 employees, hire undercover Pittsburgh police and install 10 video security cameras.
Ms. Barchetti’s current circumstances are a drastic departure from the cultivated image she built for herself and her business.
Ms. Barchetti said she failed to see what was happening at the time. She said theft there turned up only after a Deloitte & Touche fraud expert reviewed her books.
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