“And though she be but little, she is fierce.” This is a quote from Shakespeare’s a Midsummer’s Night’s Dream, but it describes Victoria Bombardieri, our Charlottesville Store Manager, quite well. She may be little, but don’t underestimate her. From her passion about being a mom, to her drive and determination to make our Charlottesville store a success, she is fierce in everything she does.
But don’t take it from me, let her tell you herself in this great biography she has written for us…
My earliest solid memories are from the age of five. I lived with my family in a split-level house in Aspen Hill, Maryland. My grandparents lived right down the street. We were living there while my parents built our new house in Highland, Maryland. They still live there today. During construction of the house, my sister Jacquie and I loved to play hide and seek and just run around like crazy kids. I remember being fascinated by how things were being built and asking the different tradespeople a lot of questions.
My dad, John Urbas, is a plastering contractor who learned his craft from my grandfather, Donald Urbas. There aren’t very many real plasterers around these days and my dad is well known in the DC area for his skill. In fact, he is currently doing ornamental plaster work at the White House. My dad is a very hard-working person, but also gregarious and fun loving. He loves to tell funny stories and tease people too!
My mom, Jennifer, was a home maker and did the accounting for my father’s business. She was dedicated to my sister and me and pushed us to do our best in everything we did. She is a friend to me now, and a wonderful grandmother. She and I entered the kitchen business at the same time, but she prefers the behind the scenes work. She has a generous heart and loves to spoil her grandchildren rotten!
I have one sister named Jacquie. Jacquie is my confidant and biggest supporter. She has an analytical mind and is always reading a book. She is a professor at a community college. She and her husband, Jon, have three amazing girls who are all smart and very athletic.
When we finally moved into that house it was fall of my kindergarten year, I really, really couldn’t wait to start at my new school, and I was dying to ride the school bus. (I walked to school in my old neighborhood). My mom signed me up for school on a Friday and I was to start the following Monday. The secretary told my mom to bring me to the office at 8 AM on Monday. I told the lady I was going to ride the bus. The lady said that they didn’t have time to notify the bus driver, so my mom had to drive me. I replied that I was going to ride the bus. The grownups all laughed, and we left.
Monday morning finally arrived, and I was ready for school. I told my mom good-bye and I left to catch the bus. My mom laughed it off as I walked out the front door. My mom called after me as I headed for the end of the driveway. The bus started coming around the corner and I started waving. Well, I guess that bus driver couldn’t help but to stop for the tiny little five-year-old girl wearing a backpack, holding her lunch box, and flagging him down. So, he stopped and opened the door. I introduced myself and hopped on. By this time, my mom was there, and she and the driver talked for a minute. Then off I went to my first day at Clarksville Elementary School. When I got to school, I headed straight for the office like I owned the place and the secretary was very impressed.
Later that fall (1980), I brought home a flyer from school about a local ice hockey club. My parents liked to watch Washington Capitals games and thought it might be fun if my sister and I gave ice hockey a shot. That flyer helped start a lifelong hobby that would take me around the US, Canada, and Europe. I played boys travel hockey all the way through high school and attended girls’ camps in New England during the summers. I played other sports growing up like swimming, diving, softball, basketball, volleyball, and lacrosse, but hockey was always my favorite. The summer between my junior and senior year I was invited to participate in the USA Hockey Girls Select Under 17 Development Camp in St Cloud, Minnesota. From there I was recruited to play hockey by several college coaches. Because I worked hard to keep my grades up, Princeton University was on that list… and that was where I went.
The Princeton campus is such a beautiful place to be all year round. I was surrounded by some pretty amazing students and athletes and I received a world class education. I met most of my best friends there, many of whom played hockey. I played all four years. I was captain by my senior year, and I won a few awards along the way. The bond that was formed by my teammates and I was unlike anything else I’ve ever experienced. We achieved big wins and endured devastating losses together. We were pushed to the breaking point and made it to the other side as strong and determined women.
After college, I worked at a marketing job in Princeton, NJ. But I couldn’t quite shake off the hockey bug. Anyone reading this bio who played a sport in his or her whole life and got to a high level knows that it’s not easy to shake off. It becomes part of your identity and it’s hard to let it go. After just a year of working at a 9 to 5 job, I decided to leave it to play hockey in Switzerland. That was a fun time and I got to travel all around Switzerland and Western Europe. When I got back to the States I was now ready to settle down and figure out my life. I landed a consulting job in Northern Virginia where I met my husband, Russ. Russ was my supervisor, and he was basically “the golden boy” of the company. I like to tease him and say that I did all the work, and he got all the credit. It was pretty comical actually, because he really did tell everyone that I was responsible for the work I did, but everyone just thought he was being modest. Russ and I have now been married for 16 years, and he is my best friend. He is loyal and smart, a great husband and father, and most importantly…. he is an amazing cook!
Russ and I have two beautiful children, Sophia and Vincent. Sophia is in 9th grade, is a straight A student, and is an amazing lacrosse and volleyball player. Russ and I are constantly blown away by her determination. When she sets her mind to do something, she doesn’t stop until she does it. Vince is in 6th grade, is a mostly A student, and is a quick and agile soccer player. He also recently started playing the guitar and seems to have a real passion for it. Vince has a great sense of humor that occasionally gets him in trouble at school, but he also has a big heart. In fact, the little kids and old ladies in the neighborhood love Vince because he is so sweet and fun.
In June 2001, I was presented with the opportunity to work in the fast-paced kitchen business. I was hesitant at first, but a family friend convinced me to give it a try. He is a master carpenter/cabinet installer and he told me that I would do well because I was smart and creative and wasn’t afraid to get my hands dirty. I accepted the challenge and he took me under his wing. He taught me so much about how a kitchen goes together from an installation point of view. I went to every jobsite and learned about how cabinets are installed as well as many things from various tradespeople like electricians, plumbers, and tile installers. I was also fortunate to be mentored by some of the best-known kitchen and bath designers and architects in Northern Virginia and DC.
In 2007, I was privileged to be introduced to Pat, Ken and Virginia Rakes of Ideal Cabinets. I worked on a few projects with Pat and was hired by Ideal soon afterward. When we all met at the Homestead Resort, Ken said that he wasn’t sure that I could run a new kitchen design shop in Charlottesville all by myself… Well, that was until he found out that I played ice hockey! When he found that out, he knew that I was resilient and could handle anything! I am very thankful that Ken, Virginia and Pat had so much faith in me, and to give me such an unbelievable opportunity. Ten years later, I still love going to work every day knowing that they will always be there to support me.
I have my parents to thank for all the love and support they gave me (and continue to do so). They were a big part of making me into the women, friend, sister, wife, and mother that I am today. I thank god every day for the many blessings I have in my life.
All of us at Ideal Cabinets are thankful for Victoria, and all that she brings to our team. We believe in teamwork, and that working together makes us all stronger. Victoria has been a great member of our Ideal Cabinets team in Charlottesville for the last ten years, and we look forward to many more years together.