The staff at an area business dedicates their time to each and every customer’s need.
The Ritz, in Lima, is a store that provides breast care for every women, any shape or size, and also specializes in helping women who are battling with breast cancer to gain control of their body.
The special part of this business is that there is nothing like this in the area, the manager says.
“It’s a nitch that is needed,” store manager Sondra Ambrister said.
Breast surgery may leave a woman feeling as if they are no longer in control, but Ambrister says one can regain some peace of mind by taking charge of the things one can control.
The Ritz’s aim is to help women explore all of their options and plan their their needs. They serve women who are battling or who have overcome breast cancer by fitting them into breast forms and surgical bras.
Ambrister said the women she sees who come in are very inspirational and her goal is to help them throughout their whole breast surgery process.
“The Ritz addresses many of the important issues only a woman who has been through breast cancer can understand and appreciate,” Ambrister said. “From leaving the hospital with a camisole, throughout recovery and beyond, our specialty garments offer women a lifetime of self-assurance and confidence.”
The Ritz provides many options for breast care for women, including a post surgery line, partial shapers to regain breast symmetry and bras for every size, including 28-56, and cup sizes AA-M.
“It’s amazing, we have women come in with socks in their bras,” Ambrister said. “Knowledge is power. We want to help them control something in their lives.”
Ambrister wants every woman to feel comfortable coming into the store to seek options for their body.
“It’s a very intimate thing,” certified breast care consultant Jodi Steinke said. “We sit down, one on one, and help guide them.”
With women having breast surgery, The Ritz provides different options for women, depending on what kind of surgery they underwent for their breast cancer, whether it be a mastectomy, lumpectomy or reconstructive.
Ambrister said that The Ritz will be there every step of the way, as one battles with cancer.
The Ritz has been in business for more than 70 years, and the owners are proud to be a family-owned and operated business.
Ambrister’s parents Jonalee and Bob Schmidt are the fourth owners of the business.
Jonalee Schmidt owns a beauty salon, HRJ Hair Solutions, in Lima, where she makes wigs for cancer patients. The third owner of The Ritz approached Jonalee Schmidt to take over The Ritz business, and she gladly accepted.
Jonalee Schmidt, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1984, understands what the clients who come to her salon and The Ritz are going through, and said that helping her clients feel stronger made her stronger.
“Obviously, fulfilling breast cancer survivors’ needs was my destiny,” Jonalee Schmidt said, in a article for RitaScope, a publication of St. Rita’s Medical Center. “Being a breast cancer survivor has guided me with God’s help to give back, which has given me more faith and strength.”
“It’s a very rewarding and amazing thing to deal with,” Ambrister said, referring to the business. “We deal with all kinds of emotions, and we are with them every step of the way.”
Along with running the store, Ambrister said that she does speaking engagements, that include topics such as “Bra Fitting 101. She talks to cancer and women’s groups about general breast care, including breast cancer.
“It’s truly a rewarding thing to be involved in,” Ambrister said. “Knowing what my mom went through helps me to help other women. The whole point is to help women and have options for them. This is something that is needed in this community because there is nothing like this around.
“This is a women’s boutique and a place for them to come and feel like a woman again.”
The Ritz’s motto is providing breast care for every woman, and the store also carries nursing and fitted bras and all of the staff members are certified fitters.