From day one, Nigro’s has been a family business. David Nigro Sr. represents the second generation of leadership at Nigro’s Western Store #1. But David does not stand alone. Beside him are children L.D. and Serena (the third generation of Nigros to join the family business), and of course Anita Nigro, the family matriarch and David’s wife.
Anita Nigro’s positive influence on store merchandising, her impact on exponential sales growth, and the bright light of influence she brings to the store’s future provide a little insight into Anita. But there is so much more!
Anita met David Nigro when she was 18 and David was 20, at a dance club designed for the younger set; a place many long-time Kansas Citians remember fondly: Pogo’s Nightclub. Three years later the two were married. According to Anita, joining the Nigro family and the Western business was a little intimidating at first.
With a mixture of patience and persistence, Anita carved out a space in the family business – a business that at the time was more geared toward tack and saddles. Today, 41 years later, the couple remain happily married, and work together at the store daily. Two of their three children, Serena and L.D (Little David) also work at Nigro’s Western Store #1, (the original Nigro’s flagship store in Merriam, Kansas).
Prior to Nigro’s, Anita was no stranger to the retail world. In fact, at the tender age of 15, Anita gained retail experience working in her father’s grocery store. Her early years at Nigro’s were spent mostly at David’s side as both worked with Anita’s father-in-law, Tony Nigro Sr., and other members of the Nigro family.
As David and Anita’s young family grew, Anita opted to stay home with Serena, Austin and L.D. Wanting to balance motherhood with career aspirations, Anita purchased a franchise travel business selling cruise packages. Partnering with two girlfriends, the team was incredibly successful, eventually selling over half a million dollars in cruises. After nearly 10 years of running her home-based business, Anita decided to return to Nigro’s Western Store.
Upon her return to Nigro’s, Anita’s goal was to expand the store’s offerings as well as the store’s positive impact on the community. Traveling to the Dallas market with her brother-in-law Tony Jr., she began making merchandise purchases, adding handbags and various women’s western fashion pieces and accessories to the store’s inventory.
Anita also held her first annual Girl’s Night Out – an event for women held at the store with food, drinks, and prizes with a goal to raise money for breast cancer research and support. Anita’s younger sister is a breast cancer survivor, so Girl’s Night events were near and dear to her heart. The Girl’s Nights Out started small and grew each year – ultimately hosting over 350 guests. One year, the famous Nigro horse on the roof was even painted pink in support! Anita was dedicated to help fund organizations that provided direct services to cancer patients, such as rides to chemotherapy treatments or complimentary house cleaning for patients with breast cancer.
Anita also played a major role in modernizing the back-end of the store. She familiarized herself with the latest in accounting software and upgraded the store’s antiquated pen-and-paper record keeping with an organized, functional, and time-efficient POS system and financial system.
A giant leap forward was made during available downtime during the pandemic as Anita – along with Serena and L.D. – propelled the store into the 21st century by creating Nigro’s Western online store. This new retail channel has expanded Nigro’s client base to buyers in 49 out of 50 states and foreign buyers the world over.
After more than 40 years in the business, Anita says her favorite thing about her job at the store is the opportunity to work and spend time with her family every day. Even her son Austin, who works across the street, stops in each day to have lunch with his parents and siblings. Working six days a week at Nigro’s leaves Anita with limited free time, but she says carrying on this iconic family business is truly a labor of love.