As a little girl, Milagros Pardo was a mischievous child, according to her mother Gudelia Hernandez’s memories.
In front of an inspector, who came to take a look at their clothing store in Matanzas, Cuba, she jumped from the counter and knocked down the entire display.
“My husband scolded her and told her: you’re such a “revoltosa” little girl, which in English means something along the lines of a mischievous little girl,” Hernandez said in between laughs.
Just at that moment, the inspector was asking her husband what the name of his store was. “When my husband answered him that the store didn’t have a name yet, the same inspector had the idea of naming it ‘La Revoltosa’,” Hernandez said about the incident that 55 years ago gave name to this store, which has one its locations in Southwest Miami.
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Hernandez, now a widow, only goes to the family business as a visitor. The current proprietors are her daughter Milagros, her son-in-law, Francisco Pardo, and her grandson David Pardo, who is 35 years old.
“We had everything the same as here, with townspeople and tourists as clients, and we gave them special attention so they could feel like family,” said Hernandez as she enjoyed a stroll through the store and said hello to locals and to some customers who recently arrived from Cuba. She also greeted a grandmother searching for boutique-style pieces for her newborn grandson.
Once they left the island, Hernandez and her husband Fermin found jobs in factories and saved enough money to open the store again in Miami, in 1968. The first “La Revoltosa” was located on Flagler Street and Southwest 12th Avenue.
“It went very well for us. We opened a small store in a locale we rented but every now and then the owner would tell us that a new locale had become available and that’s how we expanded and we now have three other locations,” she recalled.
Today she simply serves as the family adviser. “I tell my children and my grandson to keep going forward. I love this business. I love work,” she said.
La Revoltosa in Westchester follows the formula of the business founded in Cuba and that later established itself in Miami. The store is divided in sections, with baby clothes, junior clothes and modern, trendy clothes at the front. The adult clothes is found on the far backside of the store, close to the undergarments and shoes.
“The prices are affordable. In this business, the market has become more competitive, but we try to make it so that our products fit into a range between $1.99 and $30,” said David Pardo, the manager of the store, which is located on Flagler Street and Southwest 107th Avenue in Westchester. The third store has the same name but is owned by his uncle, who runs it independently.
Different from their parents — who received merchandise taken to the store by salesmen or from wholesale stores which at that time were owned by the city, such as the Miami Merchandise Mart — Milagros Pardo is in charge of frequenting specialized fairs in Las Vegas and Los Angeles, where she mainly buys merchandise produced in China and other countries in Asia.
“I’m always aware about the demands of our customers,” she said. “My employees help keep me informed.”
The store also offers an ample selection of lounge robes in different styles and patterns as well as what she calls “mama bras,” bras without wiring and comfortable walking shoes.
“Robes to wear at home are hard to find now. In big stores, there’s little variety,” said David, who graduated with a degree in International Business from Florida International University. He is the only one of five siblings who wanted to involve himself in the family business.
Another popular section of “La Revoltosa” was the uniforms. However, demand led them to grow the specialty separately and two years ago they opened LR Uniforms, a store focusing on uniforms, shoes and accessories for school as well as those in the medical and cooking professions, among others.
In the medical department, Milagros notes the innovation of the uniforms and the antibacterial purses, fabricated with cotton and polyester textiles resistant to bacteria. They provide uniforms to the Catholic Hospice, Total Dental, Daniel Careaga Plastic Surgery, Baptist Hospital, SG Resorts and Alexander Hotel, among other clients.
The family will soon inaugurate a new LR Uniforms location in Country Walk, in West Kendall.
“It was an area where there weren’t any uniform businesses,” said David, echoing his grandmother. “What I most enjoy about this business is contact with the public.”