The New Generation
The 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.