Melissa Wheeler and Sarah Caldwell

Melissa Wheeler (left), president of Penelope, and her sister Sarah Caldwell, vice president, stand in front of the company warehouse. The pair run a chain of nine women’s fashion stores in central Virginia. The company is named for their mother, Penelope Searcy.

We’ve all heard the saying, “Mother knows best.” Penelope Searcey knows the truth behind that axiom better than most.

Last year marked 30 years since Searcey launched “Penelope,” a single store to fill a shopping void for women’s fashions in the area. The success of the business is evident: It has since grown to eight (at one time nine) brick and mortar locations, along with a thriving mail order operation.

More important, Penelope is still based locally in Appomattox, with members of the Searcey family occupying most of the critical jobs in the venture.

There’s more to this story in the current issue of the Times Virginian newspaper. Pick up a copy or view the full article in the e-edition version with a subscription.