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Posted by on August 25, 2011.

Stylish Buckhead businesswomen share clients, determination

Beverly Bremer, left, and Helen Frushtick talk shop.

Beverly Bremer, left, and Helen Frushtick talk shop.

Their shops are only a few miles apart, but it’s not often that two of Buckhead’s leading business women ever cross paths.

Yet they share a bond of clients, style and determination that has kept them in business for more than 80 years combined.

Beverly Bremer’s name has long been synonymous with refined elegance. The proprietor of the silver shop that bears her name carries some of the finest and rarest silver pieces in the nation.

Her clients come from around the country to find that odd Gorham spoon to round out a collection or to purchase an unusual toasting goblet as a gift.

Strolling through her shimmering emporium at 3164 Peachtree Road, surrounded by glinting silver flatware, serving pieces and tea sets, it’s hard to imagine that she got into business by selling her personal items. But in 1975, the divorced mother of three took a spot at a flea market and launched a business.

“It all came out of my house,” said Bremer, 79. “From there, we started a unique little place that had good retail, wholesale and second-hand silver.”

In 1980, Bremer moved the business to its present location, in the strip shopping center that’s also home to the White House restaurant. At the time, the building was a “dirty movie house,” Bremer recalls, but the low rent fit her budget.

Today, the soothing hunter green and silver shades of the showroom make it an appealing place to browse. Behind the scenes, the staff has access to a reference library, a polishing room and a shipping center. And you’ll find Bremer running the show six days a week, despite recent health setbacks and a depressed economy.

“It’s a fantastic product: beautiful, not perishable, and it never goes out of fashion,” she said. “And, every 50 years or so, it goes up about 10 times in value.”

A few miles from Bremer’s shop, Helen Frushtick reigns over the fur emporium that bears her name. It’s only been three years since she tucked into the shopping center anchored by a Houston’s restaurant. For 47 years before that, Frushtick drew a crowd to her showroom in the Atlanta Apparel Mart.

The move to Buckhead changed only the address; the business still draws an elite clientele in the market for coats, jackets, vests and more made of high-quality mink, leather or other upscale furs.

“I have always dealt with better merchandise; that’s what’s given me a good following from all over the country,” said Frushtick, who lives in Sandy Springs close to where she grew up.

Frushtick also stores and cleans furs, and undertakes makeovers to turn out-of-date pieces into stylish, contemporary togs. (She’s cultivated a following of fans who bring in their well-worn denim jackets for a fur-trimmed update.)

She learned the business from an aunt who owned it before Frushtick took over. Today, Frushtick’s son and sister work with her in the family enterprise that is still centered around mink.

“Mink is always what people come in for,” she said. “It’s very chic. And we make sure that our merchandise looks perfect on every client.”

Like Bremer, Frushtick has had health concerns, but neither illness nor a sluggish economy is slowing her down. She still delights in showcasing her wares, from a $20 scarf to a Russian sable coat priced at more than $100,000.

“I love this business,” she said. “I love that it’s very hands-on. I can’t imagine doing anything else.”

Among Frushtick’s favorite stories are working with clients from Atlanta’s rap scene and even one involving a customer of Bremer’s.

“I once had a lady come in who fell in love with a coat, but when she called her husband, he wasn’t having it,” said Frushtick. “She asked me to hold onto it, and I put it in the back, thinking she might not come back for it. But a few hours later, she came in and bought the coat. And she told me she sold her silver to Beverly to do it.”