Mia Gradney, Tootsies new owner Norman Lewis, Lauren Levicki Courville at the Women of Wardrobe Summer Soirée at Tootsies in West Ave.
Donna & Norman Lewis, Tootsies president
Tootsies late founder and owner Mickey Rosmarin
Annie Amante and Mickey Rosmarin at a Bulgari dinner in 2014. Photo by Michelle Watson
Sheridan Williams, Mickey Rosmarin, Shelby Hodge at the annual River Oaks Country Club Tootsies fashion show, in 2016. A time when Shelby's suit jacket would zip closed. Not anymore.
Congratulatory hugs and sighs of relief resounded through the Houston Tootsies on Wednesday night as word spread through the gathering that Donna and Norman Lewis had acquired the wildly popular boutique. Norman Lewis has been with Tootsies for 21 years, serving as chief operating officer and president. He often quipped, “I was the ‘no’ to Mickey’s ‘yes.’ ”
Tootsies founder and owner Mickey Rosmarin, passed away unexpectedly in June of 2016.
The sale was completed last Thursday meaning that the newly-minted owners were making their debut as such at the Women of Wardrobe Summer Soirée. (More on that later in the week.)
“We’re thrilled to have this group here. We’re thrilled to have all these women in the store,” the beaming Lewis said. “It’s exciting. We have so much that we can do in the community.”
Purchasing the store from Rosmarin’s heirs has been a six month process, one that Lewis assured was worth the effort. “The store stays within the (Tootsies) family,” he said. “We remain family owned and Houston based.”
Are there changes in store, we asked? “There will be evolution over time. Let’s just see,” he said. “We’re not going to change things, we’re going to try to evolve.”
The announcement which officially goes out today has brought a sigh of relief throughout the store and throughout both Houston and Dallas, where Tootsies devotees had worried about the boutiques’ future, particularly the dreaded prospect of it being taken over by a national, corporate entity.
One change has already taken place — the addition of Crystal Roark as Houston store director. She comes to Tootsies after positions as Chanel boutique director in the Houston Galleria, CH Carolina Herrera district manager and regional manager for Tory Burch.
In an email to the Tootsies team, Lewis noted that Roark, “will partner with everyone within the organization, focusing on building a Houston team-based environment and our daily goal of providing an extraordinary customer experience for everyone that walks through our doors.”
The news made the late summer bash an almost giddy celebration for many. And, while confidence was restored in the future of Tootsies, for many of Rosmarin’s close friends it was a night of mixed emotions as they could not help but revisit the sense of loss felt at the time of his passing.