Terry Ventre, who owned a namesake multibrand women’s apparel showroom in New York, died June 23 at the age of 62.
The cause of death was lung cancer, which she was diagnosed with on June 3, according to her husband, Elliot Zolot. She died at the Dana Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center in Boston.
Ventre was born in Hingham, Mass., and worked at retailers such as Louis Boston, Ann Taylor and Charivari, as well as the Zingara showroom, before striking out on her own. During the early part of her career, she also owned two women’s apparel stores on Nantucket, called Ginna and Ragtime, for many years.
On June 16, the Terry Ventre Showroom, which featured modern bridge collections, celebrated its 25th anniversary. The showroom, at 260 West 39th Street, represented such lines as Equestrian, Finley, A’nue Ligne, Kinross Cashmere, Soskin, Moyuru and Babette. All of her lines were specifically geared to specialty stores.
According to her goddaughter, Jaimie Baird, Ventre repped about eight to 10 lines, and most of these lines have been with her for years. “She had the utmost integrity. She was extremely loyal, incredibly honest and had the most incredible work ethic. She was a force,” said Baird. Ventre’s husband added, “She would always say, ‘I show up, and I tell the truth.’ That was her motto.”
David Ostrove, owner of Tallulah, a women’s specialty store in Woodbury, N.Y., had known Ventre for 32 years and bought several of her collections. “She was an extraordinary person who really stood out in this industry. She was fabulous at what she did. She developed an amazing business, and she knew absolutely everyone, and treated everyone like they were so important. She made me feel really important,” said Ostrove, whose store carries Kinross, Equestrian and Babette.
“She can sell me anything. She was beautiful and looked unbelievable in clothes. I would say to her, ‘Don’t try it on, because I’ll have to buy it.’ She had amazing personal style,” he added.
Lois Varat, owner of A’nue Ligne, one of the lines that Ventre represented, said, “We were lucky to not just work with Terry for 25 wonderful years, we were privileged to call her our friend. She was a throwback to the days when being a rep for clothing lines meant developing close personal relationships with both vendors and buyers. She knew how to navigate the retail landscape that has shifted and changed throughout the years. She was elegant, smart, funny, an incredible saleswoman, a leader and a good soul. She is dearly missed.”
In her spare time, Ventre enjoyed spinning class at SoulCycle and running and taking long walks in Central Park. A park bench will be donated in her honor. Ventre lived with her family on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.
In addition to her husband, she is survived by her 19-year-old twins, Ruby and Harry Zolot, a sister and three brothers.
Ventre was cremated, and a memorial service will be held this fall. Donations can be made to centralparknyc.org/ventre or the American Cancer Society.