The Tirocchis business continued strong into the early 1930s.
Her most loyal clients continued to visit 514 Broadway even after
the Stock Market crash of 1929 and the descent upon the land of
the Great Depression. However, by 1933, the number of clients began
to decline steadily, along with the amount of money they were willing
to spend. From 1931 to the Spring of 1933, the shop listed 60 clients
in the customer ledger; the 1933/34 ledger listed 44; and the 1934/35
ledger listed 38. The decline continued until 1938, when only 28
The business during the 1930s was still a mix of upscale ready-to-wear
garments and accessories and the typical dressmaking services of
alterations and repairs. Another service that the Tirocchi shop
offered its clients was assistance in the upkeep of their wardrobes.
Women would bring in those garments that were difficult to clean
and press. The shop also specialized in the repair and cleaning
By the late 1930s, business letters are full of comments about
Annas state of health, which seemed to be in decline. Although
Madame Tirocchi continued to sew for her most loyal clients and
employed two girls to help with the work until 1940, she could not
keep up with the pace of fashion or the ferociously increasing competition.
Her most loyal customers stayed with her until the end, but most
found other dressmakers or other solutions by 1942. The truth is
that most women by this time had ceased to rely on personal dressmakers,
and the Tirocchi shop was not able to stock enough ready-made clothing
to give their clients much choice when shopping with them. As longtime
customers died or drifted away, new customers did not replace them.
The Tirocchi sisters had rarely advertised their business and, in
the end, the word-of-mouth system they relied on failed them.
Anna Tirocchi, the leading light of the shop, died on February
26, 1947. Her sister and business partner Laura Tirocchi Cella did
not revive the business, choosing instead to devote herself exclusively
to her husband and children, whom she may have felt she had neglected
during her long partnership in the business. She carefully packed
away all of the business records, wrapped in tissue paper the remaining
fabrics, laces, ribbon, trim, and notions, and closed the doors
on A. & L. Tirocchi.
>> read on about The
Record-Keeping of the Business