A women’s apparel and jewelry store on Shore Road in Cape Elizabeth, Ann Veronica, is closing its doors this weekend on a high note after more than 12 years in business, says its owner and textile designer, Ann Perrino.

Perrino’s mission for the business, which she said she has “more than achieved,” has been about supporting other local businesses and giving back to the community, while providing quality, artisan-fashioned products, she said.

“My goal with the store was always to encourage youth and the arts,” said Perrino, who served on the organizing committee of MECAmorphosis, a May 1 event that premiered the collections of Maine College of Art textile and fashion design majors. “It symbolized for me a completed circle.”

Ann Veronica, at 535 Shore Road in Cape Elizabeth, is known for carrying Maine-made products, from clothing to jewelry, shoes and other accessories, including local artisans Angelrox, Sea Bags and Alaina Marie, to name a few. Perrino plans to officially close the doors May 31. The store is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Sunday from 12-5 p.m.

The 3,700-square-foot mixed-use building where Ann Veronica is located is up for sale for $475,000.

While she will miss the Cape Elizabeth community and her longtime patrons, Perrino, a Cape Elizabeth resident, told the Current that she looks forward to moving south this fall to support her daughter as she starts a new chapter in her life.

“It’s just time to move on,” said Perrino. “We have been in the community for 12 years and have had a very successful business. It is just time to focus on my family.”

She said she’s “very grateful for how supportive people have been of the store over the years. I have had the best customers. I am closing the store, but I am not necessarily shutting down the business,” said Perrino.

Since January 2003, Ann Veronica has had several locations, including one in the Old Port, one in York and two in Cape Elizabeth, and has employed more than 30 local residents through the years, Perrino said.

“What I loved about being here is that I was a fixture in the community,” she said of her current location. “We were a go-to for a lot of women and girls.”

Perrino also ran a textile company, Ann Veronica Handprints, which produced Maine-made totes, bags and accessories, from 2003-2012. Due to the rising costs of production, however, she decided to postpone production in 2013. Through the years her hand-printed line of products were sold to several boutiques along the East Coast, as well as Anthropologie and Bloomingdales, and were featured in magazines such as Seventeen, Elle, and Cosmo Girl.

Perrino has supported more than 150 artisans and businesses, and has raised nearly $30,000 to donate to various charities and nonprofits through the years. Among other fundraisers, Perrino spearheaded an effort to raise $14,000 for Portland’s Preble Street Resource Center in honor of the late Mary Staszko, a longtime Preble Street soup kitchen volunteer and former assistant at Ann Veronica.

And in 2012, through the sales of a silver TD Banknorth Beach to Beacon charm Perrino designed, she was able to donate $2,000 to the Center for Grieving Children in Portland, who was the beneficiary for the Beach to Beacon road race that year.

“We really admired the thoughtfulness and creativity of that charitable work,” said the center’s development director, Elyse Tipton, a South Portland resident. “It was a unique and creative way for her to merge what her customers’ interests might be, with the popularity in the local community of Beach to Beacon, and the center’s need for community support.”

“She was nice to work with,” added Tipton.

Cape Elizabeth resident Corin Swift, whose husband Rafael Adams owns Soposup, a surf shop on Cottage Road in South Portland, has been a customer of Ann Veronica since 2004. She commends Ann Perrino for being a community leader and for championing local artists and encouraging other small business owners.

“She’s an amazing networker and brings people together,” said Swift. “I’ve met so many incredible women through her store, (including) artists and small business owners. When anyone asks if they can have an event in her store, to sell a product or fundraise for a cause, she is incredibly generous in saying yes and helping make a successful event.”

Perrino is not only a successful business owner, but she’s also supportive of her clients. Swift was particularly impressed with Perrino this past year when she started volunteering and raising money for the Maine Down Syndrome Network, an organization in which Swift is active.

“She raised money and walked with my family at the annual Maine Down Syndrome Buddy Walk in support of my son,” said Swift. “She really caters to her clientele.”

Longtime customer and Cape Elizabeth resident Wendy Petsinger said Perrino epitomized what it means to be a local merchant.

“She provided quality products and items – things you could only find in a nice boutique,” she said. “We have a lot of nice little local businesses in Cape, but hers was very unique.”

Perrino said she is happy to be able to give back for the past several years, and hopes to leave a “lasting impression” on the community.

“It’s made all the difference in being here for 12 years and really made me feel connected to both South Portland and Cape Elizabeth,” said Perrino. “People need to know how grateful local businesses are for their continued support. It’s really important that people not lose sight of how important small businesses are in their community.”

Ann Veronica, a women’s clothing store on Shore Road in Cape Elizabeth, is closing its doors on May 31 after more than 12 years in business. Staff photo by Kayla J. CollinsAnn Veronica Perrino, owner of Ann Veronica in Cape Elizabeth, poses with a model at the MECAmorphosis fashion show May 1.  Courtesy photo


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