Above & Beyond

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Canadian Quality Products

As much as possible, we strive to offer the finest Canadian-made fashions. We regularly have new shipments of women’s and men’s fashion and casual clothing. Our inventory never has time to grow tired. Sales associates are polite and well-informed, attentive without being intrusive, and are there to guarantee that every purchase, whether a scarf or a cocktail dress, is just perfect.

#1 in Customer Care

Customers come from all over the USA,Canada and around the world as well as locally. Rita and Biren know repeat business is important to any retailer; they continue to work hard for every customer.

Here is just one example of the kind of “above and beyond” service Sheila’s & Classic Lane are known for:

A long-time client called from Toronto. Her mother, a resident in a local retirement facility, was in need of some additions to her wardrobe. Biren chauffeured the caller’s mother to the store and Rita looked after her personally, knowing her tastes from years of purchasing. This customer was treated like royalty. A few days later, after custom alterations were made, everything was hand-delivered to a grateful customer.

VISIT US TODAY!

Please drop by and experience the warm, comfortable atmosphere and browse our large selection of fashion and accessories. We look forward to greeting new and existing customers.

About Sheila’s & Classic Lane

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It was not easy for D.J. and Sheila Patel, more than 40 years ago, when they arrived in Canada as refugees from Idi Amin’s Uganda. They found their place in a new country, educated all their children and have been successful in business since opening Sheila’s in 1974.
“Sheila’s clothing store has undergone many changes since it opened on Charlotte Street all those years ago,” Biren Patel says.
It is named for his mother, who still likes to visit with her friends at the store.

Biren manages the men’s wear department and the financial details and one of his four sisters, Rita, looks after ordering merchandise and day-to-day activities at the store. Father D.J., who passed away in October 2008, was the accountant up until 1998 when health problems forced him to retire.

“You will find that over 75% of the items in the store are Canadian-Made! We try and buy as much Canadian-made clothing as we can and have sourced some really good Canadian manufacturers.”

– BIREN PATEL

The Very Beginning

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Unlike many immigrants who spend years planning their departure to a country of their own choosing, the Patel family, along with many others, were expelled on 90 days notice in 1972. Parents D.J. and Sheila Patel had operated a wholesale fabric importing business in Uganda, and their five children were enrolled in English schools. Back then countries accepting refugees had a quota system. Since the Patel’s were British subjects, D.J. was sent to Canada to live. He arrived in Toronto “and they put him on a bus and sent him here, to Peterborough” recalls Biren who was nine when he came to Canada in 1973.

Although he had been self employed in Uganda, D.J. was assigned a job in the plumbing business. The first few months in Peterborough, he lived at the McGillis Inn (now the White House hotel). Coincidentally, the Patel’s first business was next door, on Charlotte Street, above what is now Tribal Voices. When the rest of the family, who went first to England, arrived in Peterborough, Sheila began to work for Pulver’s, doing alterations and making drapes for Bob Humphrey Interiors, Kawartha Carpet, and Cherneys.

A few months later in 1974, D.J. and Sheila opened their own business, moving downstairs to the main floor. In 1980 the new mall (Lansdowne Place) opened and the Patels took a huge step and moved into it, opening a large ladies wear store. In the ebb and flow of business, Sheila and D.J. opened a new men’s wear division and ladies wear shop in the newly built Portage Place. They expanded further in 1991 when they opened a third ladies wear store in Peterborough Square and a second men’s wear store in Lansdowne Place. Then, in 1996, they consolidated their stores and renovated the Lansdowne Place store.

The New Generation

hrThe Patel children all went to school in Peterborough and worked in the family business as they grew up, Biren says, but no one went on the payroll until they graduated from university. All five Patel children have a least one university degree and have careers in Peterborough, Ottawa, Oshawa, and Toronto.

Biren says, “When we came to Peterborough we were one of the few colored families here. It is tough starting out and not knowing many people and where things were. It was also very difficult to break into the retail business, as success is built on reputation, which he had yet to build. We stayed focused and continued to work hard.”

Today, Sheila’s is one of the most well established family-run businesses in the province of Ontario. “We persevered and are into the second generation now,” Biren notes, “Sheila’s and Classic Lane do their utmost to promote Canadian-made fashions. You will find that 75 per cent of the items in the store are Canadian-made. We try and buy as much Canadian-made clothing as we can. We have sourced some really good Canadian manufacturers.”

Some of our business relationships with the suppliers have continued since the first Sheila’s store opened and, like us, they are now in their second generation. Classic Lane also features a men’s European-style casual line.

Although Dad, D.J., has passed away, “Mom will never fully retire. She loves the contact with people.” In the meantime, the second generation seems to be keeping up the strong family tradition of Canadian-Made fashions with excellent customer service.

Elegance

Evening

Quality Canadian-Made High fashion Looks.

Professional

Office Looks

Looking your best keeps you working at your best and all while supporting Canadian Fashion Industries!

Casual

Relax & Enjoy

Our Fashions take you from the Ballroom to the boardroom and everywhere in between!

Drop By and See Our New Styles Today!

69 George Street N., Peterborough Ontario

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