The WC Press Sustainability Issue - April 2019

Page 1















“The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.” –Robert Swan



COLUMNISTS Becca Boyd Jamie Jones Andrea Mason DJ Romeo Rotary Club of West Chester Moore Maguire Group Published By... Mathers Productions 24 W Market St, Ste 4 West Chester, PA 19382 610-344-3463 The WC Press is a monthly magazine distributed free of charge to more than 250 businesses. For a free digital subscription, visit For more information about specific distribution locations, visit



Our no-nonsense table of contents


BARTENDER OF THE MONTH Meet Vittoria Visco of Mercato Restaurant and Bar


SENSE AND SUSTAINABILITY How West Chester is working toward a more feasible future


We employ Nick Vecchio’s adorable daughter to great effect


Get to know Olayemi Swindell of New Vision Family Eye Care


RESTORE & RENEW Meet the local artisans bringing sustainability to your home


How changemakers created a sustainable economy


Our guide to what’s going on this month


Find the five differences between the two pictures and win!



MAY 3, 2019

First Friday • 5pm - 9pm (rain or shine) Bring together a group of friends to experience Gallery Walk. Explore everything downtown West Chester has to offer. Enjoy an evening of art, dining and shopping.

Free to attend | Open to the public

+ 3 0 One-N

ight-Only Art Shows

Generous support provided by

Greater West Chester Chamber of Commerce, 137 North High Street, West Chester, PA 19380 | 610.696.4046 |

#WCGalleryWalk THE WC PRESS 8





from the


Dan Mathers shares some personal insight into this month’s theme

This year I traded in my Ford Focus that was clocking 32mpg for a Nissan Titan, sporting a gas-gobbling 5.6L V8. I justified the change by saying that I almost never drive anywhere except to Home Depot and that trying to cram lumber in the hatchback was getting ridiculous. My rationale has mostly proven true. Since purchasing the truck last April, I’ve put 1,200 miles on it and only filled the gas tank four times. Still, if I’d been willing to compromise on my toxically masculine desire for a pickup and gotten, say, a Toyota Highlander Hybrid — which has plenty of room for 2x4s and gets 30mpg — I’d only have filled that tank twice. This is just a small insight into my ongoing moral conundrum. Theoretically, I want to be more sustainable; in practice I’m only willing to make small, token choices. For instance, I navigate to whenever I shop online. AmazonSmile is a program where the retail behemoth donates half a percent of all my transactions made from that URL to the charity of my choice; I chose The Nature Conservancy. It’s a small gesture made even smaller by the fact that Chrome auto-completes the web address as soon as I type the letter “s.” But substantive changes? No so much. After having a company come give us an estimate (and a lecture on the tax implications), my girlfriend and I decided not to invest in solar panels. The price, we felt, was still too high. Plus, Tesla had recently debuted the Solar Roof, so we figured clunky panels would become unfashionable once people implemented Elon Musk’s fancy shingles. The issue you hold started as just another token gesture. I could show people that The WC Press cares about the environment, while actually doing nothing new. However, it’s ended up encouraging me, because I’ve realized just how easy it can be to do more. First of all, did you know that, just by electing Mayor Dianne Herrin, we’ve helped the planet? This month’s piece on policies being pursued by the borough makes that clear. Moreover, I found out that all this reclaimed wood I’ve been sourcing off weirdos on Craigslist to fashionably renovate our open-concept home isn’t just a Fixer Upper fad — it’s a bona fide environmental booster. Between that and the yard sale furniture I’ve been restaining in a cheap imitation of the restoration professionals we profiled this month, my mostly blue house seems a shade or two more green. Obviously I’m being facetious. I’m aware that I should be doing more, and that the donation Grandma Mathers makes in my name to the National Geographic Society on my birthday is literally the least I can do. But there is something to be said of small sacrifices. As commencement speaker at the University of Texas, Admiral William H. McRaven said, “If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.” His premise was that starting the day by accomplishing a simple task encourages you to do more. I’m hoping that my AmazonSmile account, or maybe the act of publishing these stories, will serve as the simple task that springboards me onto something greater... or at least as a reminder to actually grab the reusable bags when I go to Giant.—






of the Month PHOTO Amy Tucker INTERVIEW Courtney Potts

Vittoria Visco brings hospitality skills honed in NOLA to Market Street at Mercato Restaurant and Bar How long have you been here? I’ve been working here for about two years. What made you want to start working here? During the summertime I noticed there was a lot of people outside eating on the patio. The aesthetic of the place really caught my eye; I thought it was so pretty. I walked inside right away and asked if they were hiring. Lucky enough, they were. Shortly after, I began working as a server and then eventually moved on to bartending. Do you prefer to bartend or serve? I like bartending — it’s a little more personal. Serving sometimes feels rushed

when you try and get to know some of your customers. What do you enjoy most about the job? We have a really great crowd and a core group of regulars. They make my job feel really fun. What’s the typical crowd? Definitely professional, more upscale, but still relaxed. People like to dress nice when coming out to eat here. We don’t really get a college crowd, or a super rowdy group. Things never get out of control. I’m sure it’s nice not having to worry about things getting out of hand. I worked in New Orleans right in the French Quarter, and it was such a different atmosphere. It was wild. It’s nice to come back somewhere that has a nice ambiance. What took you to the Big Easy? I moved down for a little bit to bartend. The service industry there is huge and hospitality is one of their biggest industries. So, I went to save up some money to go back to school. It was a lot of fun and a great experience. Are you also involved with catering? Mercato does a lot of wedding showers,

graduation events, and private parties. When we do off-site catering we typically transport everything, set up, serve, and clean up once everyone is finished. We also do a lot of parties and events in the wine cellar. When you’re not bartending, what are you usually up to? I go to school full time for public health. I’m very passionate about it, and I love focusing on health through food and cooking. I think it’s another reason why I like working here so much. We serve modern Italian food, and everything is made from scratch—you can tell the cooks put a lot of work into each meal. I’m sold. And we have a great happy hour that’s the perfect way to try a lot of our menu items. Drinks are discounted, wines are half priced, and there’s a bunch of small plates. It’s a lot of fun, and it only gets better once the patio opens back up. What should I get to drink? I suggest the blood orange cosmo; it’s the most popular drink here for a reason. I can make it with my eyes closed; I do it so much that it’s muscle memory at this point.













you’re of a certain age, or if you’re a fan of cartoons in general, you’re likely familiar with the character of Wimpy — full name: J. Wellington Wimpy — from the iconic Popeye series. (And you can Google it or ask your grandma if you’re not.) The character was the antithesis of the maniacally macho good guy, Popeye. Wimpy was soft spoken and educated, lazy and somewhat slippery. A catchphrase attributed to the character of Wimpy, however, perfectly captures the world in which we find ourselves today—or rather, how we got here: “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.” The joke in the cartoon, of course, lay in the fact that Wimpy got immediate gratification, with the debt due sometime in the future. He always somehow managed to be unaccounted for on Tuesdays. In the real world, Tuesday has come. After decades of reliance on fossil fuels, the effects on our environment— and therefore our very future—have come home to roost. From the negative repercussions of climate change to overflowing landfills, it’s become abundantly clear that we can’t—figuratively, and in some cases literally— keep eating burgers today and putting off paying for them until Tuesday. It’s become an undeniable matter of fact that if humans continue on our present course, we will not be able to sustain our current lifestyles without devastating consequences to the planet. (If you disagree with this assessment, we politely ask you to reconsider your position in the face of overwhelming evidence.) The primary definition of the word “sustainability” is “the ability to be maintained at a certain rate or level.” Here in West Chester, the concept of sustainability is one that’s being addressed in a big way, starting with the mayor’s office. But it’s also embraced by local businesses and institutions who are adopting energy-efficiency changes, through the efforts of the

local chapter of the Sierra Club’s Ready for 100 initiative, and by the Sustainability Advisory Committee that was established by the borough in 2015 in an effort to facilitate collaboration between borough departments on key environmental matters. We talked with some of the people out in front of this important movement.

It’s all pretty straightforward for Jim

Wylie, who is not only on the borough’s aforementioned Sustainability Advisory Committee, he is a Sierra Club volunteer and Executive Committee Chair of the West Chester Ready for 100 organization. “Sustainability, to me, means that we try not to impact the lives of future generations so that we can have a certain lifestyle today,” he told us. “Ready For 100 is about setting goals, making plans, and taking action to transition to 100% renewable energy, community-wide [by 2050], using a fair and inclusive process. More than 110 cities and towns across the country have made this commitment by passing a resolution stating a target date for this transition and assigning responsibility for drafting a plan to get there.”

According to Jim, West Chester Borough was one of the first in Pennsylvania to pass a Renewable Energy Vision resolution, along with several others in Chester County, including Phoenixville, Downingtown, and East Bradford, to name a few. “But what is really exciting,” says Jim, “is that the West Chester Area Council of Governments (a regional body with representatives from seven municipalities in greater West Chester — roughly the WC school

district) has embarked on an effort to commission an energy transition plan to 100% renewable energy to be done by a professional energy planning company.” Just to be clear, he added, “This is not a plan for government mandates and carbon taxes; this is a plan that will identify opportunities for our residents, businesses and insti-





tutions to make informed energy procurement choices that move our community, as a whole, toward clean and renewable energy sources like wind, solar, hydro, geothermal, and bio-fuels, while reducing our demand for energy overall (which saves us money), through energy efficiency and energy reduction choices, like public transit and alternatives to each of us driving alone in an SUV to work every day.” One example of a local business already walking the walk is West Chester University. “WCU is definitely an ally, and Sustainability Director Brad Flamm has been a great co-host for many Sierra Club and Ready For 100 events at the university,” Jim said. “West Chester University has a Climate Action Plan that sets a goal of being carbon-neutral by 2025 — a very aggressive goal. Their first major

project was replacing the coal-burning, on-campus power plant and steamheating system with a geothermal system that covers most of the buildings on campus, reducing their footprint considerably. Any new construction and renovation projects are viewed through the lens of sustainability and LEED criteria.” And to what does Jim attribute so much of this drive toward renewable energy in the borough? “In two words: Diane Herrin,” he said. “Dianne ran for mayor with a goal of 100% renewable energy as a major campaign platform component. Dianne championed the 2017 resolution for West Chester Borough to set a goal of transitioning to renewable energy and draft a plan to get us there. Dianne suggested a process for inviting the WC Area Council of Governments to embark on com-

Jim Wylie and Paula Kline standing next to Jim and Sally Hammerman’s ground-mounted solar panels at their home outside the borough. Jim and Sally are examples of early adopters who installed solar to meet their energy needs in Chester County, which has more than 800 installations, producing 20.88MW — the 2nd highest ranking in PA. missioning a regional energy transition plan. And if all goes according to plan, we will have that draft plan, with input from the community, by the end of this summer. Then comes the fun part — taking action.” For Mayor Herrin, that drive for action is prompted internally by a love for nature, an understanding that a





healthy environment is critical, and the desire of a mom who wants to leave a better world for our children. But it is also a way of simply and responsibly representing her constituents. “Here in West Chester, our residents recognize that our ‘throw-away’ culture is unsustainable, and we are making decisions to reject unnecessary conveniences, practices, and behaviors that do more harm than good,” she told us. “West Chester recently became the second municipality in Pennsylvania to ban single-use plastic bags and straws. And we are a local leader in cutting fossil fuel energy waste; we have reduced greenhouse gas emissions community-wide by 10% over 2005 levels.”

committed citizens working to establish a food co-op grocery store in town that will sell locally-produced food and provide work-for-healthy-food programs to residents in need,” she told us. “This greatly reduces ‘food miles’ traveled, which in turn greatly reduces fossil fuel energy use and also substantially reduces plastic packaging waste.” Another important component of the program is an economic one. “They will give profits back to the citizen owners of the store, all of whom are local residents,” Mayor Herrin added. “Right now, more than $7 million flows out of the borough to large, chain grocery

Paula stresses that it’s imperative that entities and businesses take action. “We have passed the point that individual actions alone can help us avoid the dangers we are facing, which is why the vision of our businesses and local governments to take action is so critical.” But, that certainly doesn’t mean that the average person is off the hook in terms of making changes in their everyday lives to reduce their impact on the planet and proactively take steps toward sustainability. “The number one recommendation for individuals is to look for energy reduction opportunities — invest in things that will reduce our demand for energy overall, so that our eventual transition task is more manageable,” says Jim. “In 2015, the greater West Chester area spent about $285,000,000 on energy — all sectors: residential, transportation, industry, institutions. There is a lot of opportunity here for an educated consumer to spend their energy budget wisely and on clean products — from investing in LED light bulbs, to better attic insulation, to caulking leaky windows, to choosing a higher mileage car when it’s time to get a new one. It’s basically looking at the total cost of ownership, not just the sticker price, as well as at the kinds of energy choices you have. When you can, choose electric so that when Pennsylvania steps up to a cleaner grid, and we will all be the beneficiaries.”

“West Chester recently became the second municipality in Pennsylvania to ban single-use plastic bags and straws. And we are a local leader in cutting fossil fuel energy waste; we have reduced greenhouse gas emissions community-wide by 10% over 2005 levels.”

Other initiatives the mayor’s office is implementing include such simple and immediate things as the upcoming Clean & Green West Chester Downtown Sidewalk Clean-Up, scheduled for Earth Day (Saturday on April 27 at 10am, with a rain date of April 28). “With the support of some of our amazingly talented residents, we created a Clean & Green West Chester campaign that includes not only the ‘green’ sustainability initiatives we’ve talked about, but cleanliness as well,” Mayor Herrin said. “I’m a huge advocate of basic respect — not only for our environment but for our community and each other.” To that end, WC residents, Rotary members, WCU students, elected officials, the police department, in-town business people, and Scouts will all participate in the sidewalk cleanup. “We’re even buying a gum-removal machine for this event!” she said. “Our success is rooted in the power of context, and seemingly little things like dirty sidewalks matter more than we might realize. Experience and research show that a clean environment is essential to safety and success on every level.” A more long-range plan that the mayor’s office is working on is something most people probably don’t give a lot of thought to: the distances people travel to get food (and that food travels to get to them). “We have a group of

stores. With this new model in place, we will be able to retain a good portion of this money right here in our town, to the great benefit of our residents and to our environment.” Indeed, while businesses are implementing changes all around us, the concept of sustainability is a broad one that the average person can view as difficult to get their arms around. But whether we, as individuals, should embrace it is not a difficult call to answer, according to Paula Kline, another local Sierra Club volunteer and WC Ready for 100 member. “The question of whether we should be worried about the impact of climate disruption has already been settled,” Paula told us. “With more than $17 billion in weather-related disasters in 2017, the average person is not confused that we need to both prevent these disasters and know how to be prepared to face them. The notion that climate disasters would only strike island nations and third-world countries has been dispelled. This reality explains why, in a recent survey, most of us in Pennsylvania support a transition to renewable energy.”

“Travel light,” Paula adds. “Live near work, walk, carpool, bike, purchase a low-polluting, fuel-efficient car — a hybrid or electric one if possible. Eat right: fewer meals with meat, purchase local, in-season, whole and organic foods. Live well: reduce your heating and hot water costs with efficient heat pumps and solar, install LED lights, buy Energy star appliances, buy 100% renewable electricity through PA Powerswitch. And speak up: Let local and state officials know you want to be part of the new clean energy revolution. If you have professional skills to contribute, volunteer with grassroots organizations to educate and train us all on how to move forward!”





Before being elected mayor of West Chester, Dianne Herrin was a partner at an energy efficiency consulting firm that served commerical, nonprofit, municipal and educational clients. When she decided to run for office, she made that experience part of her platform, promising to help transition West Chester to a more sustainable future. At the end of the day, we are all in this together, and there is also strength in numbers. “Sometimes it can be discouraging — there is so much that looks overwhelming and hard to accomplish,” Jim said. “That’s why it is so important to remember that there are literally millions of ordinary people and tens of thousands of visionary local leaders who are building a future we would all want. From food co-ops, community supported agriculture (or CSAs), Cool Congregations, community solar and wind projects, city bike rental programs, shared car programs, and more. We are not alone in this. Ask yourself: what would you most want to do to create a sustainable future? Then find others who are on the same path and pitch in!” “No one intentionally wants to poison the air, soil or water,” Paula adds. “We all want the lights to turn on, and we would prefer that we do no harm when they do. It was clearly no one’s intention to so deplete our natural resources or so pollute our air, water, and soil that the livability of our world would be thrown into question. Choosing sustainability means choosing to meet our needs without destroying the life support system upon which we depend. This is a great creative opportunity and adventure, which requires that we both reinvent and rediscover ways to live that sustain a stable climate, safe and clean air, water and soil. The discovery and use of fossil fuels propelled us into an industrial revolution which contaminated our natural resources beyond anyone’s imaginings. We now need to begin a new clean energy revolution which will allow us to sustain a vibrant community which prioritizes human and environmental health and safety.”

Here in West Chester, we’re well on our way to making a difference, taking steps both individually and as a business and residential community. “To many of our residents, sustainability means making conscious decisions on a daily basis about how we live — things like not using chemicals that shatter the ecological balance and harm human health, such as Round-Up, and composting food waste so it regen-

erates our soil and plant life — I could go on and on,” concludes Mayor Herrin. “Our future is bright because we have such committed and talented residents, business owners and, yes, students who care. This is our human capital, and it gives me great faith that, tomorrow, we’ll be even better than we are today, because we are all working toward a safe, clean, green, diverse, inclusive, and vibrant future, together.”






TUESDAY, APRIL 16 5:30-7:30 P.M. Register Today: 22



Becca Boyd shares tips on life and cooking on her blog at


April is special in PA. The winds blow gusty and sharp as the new season settles in, and folks are desperate for the change. When April showers dampen your buzz, make a big batch of baked oatmeal and stay tucked in; as soon as the sun shows its face, pack up this light and fresh salad for some al fresco action. Hurry! Before you know it you’ll be complaining about the heat. Morning Glory Baked Oatmeal - makes 9x13” pan 2 c. pecans, chopped divided 2 c. vanilla unsweetened 1/2 c. unsweetened shredded almond milk coconut, divided 2 c. reduced fat milk 2 tsp. cinnamon, divided 1 tbsp. vanilla 2 tbsp. brown sugar 2 Macintosh or Golden Deli1 tsp. and 1/8 tsp. salt, divided cious apples, cored and diced (unpeeled) 2 tsp. baking powder 2 c. shredded carrots 4 c. old fashioned oats 1 c. raisins 2/3 c. maple syrup 1/4 c. coconut oil, melted 2 large eggs

1. Preheat oven to 375F. 2. In a small bowl, put 1 c. nuts, 1/4 c. coconut, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, the brown sugar, and 1/8 tsp. salt. Mix to combine. Set aside. 3. Place remaining nuts, coconut, cinnamon and salt in a larger bowl. Add baking powder and oats. Stir to combine. 4. In another large bowl, whisk maple syrup and eggs until combined. Add milks and whisk to combine. Pour milk mixture over oats mixture and stir to combine. 5. Add apples, carrots, and raisins to oat/milk bowl and stir to combine. 6. Grease a 9x13” baking dish with nonstick spray. Add coconut oil to oat mixture in a steady stream while stirring, and immediately pour mixture into prepared pan. Sprinkle with reserved topping and place in preheated oven. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until topping is golden. 7. Let cool to firm and serve. Light Lemony Chicken Salad - serves 6 4 c. cooked, shredded chicken 1 c. finely diced celery 4 c. chicken broth 1/2 red onion, finely diced zest and juice of 1 lemon 2 tbsp. chopped parsley 1/3 c. extra virgin olive oil 2 tbsp. chopped basil 1 tbsp. red or white wine vinegar 1/4 tsp. black pepper 1/4 c. Greek lowfat, plain yogurt 1/2 tsp. salt (and more to taste) 1/4 c. light or olive oil mayo 1/2 c. slivered, toasted almonds

1. Put chicken in large sauce pan and cover with chicken broth. If chicken is not covered completely by broth, add water until chicken is submerged. When chicken is cool enough to handle, shred with two forks. Add to large bowl. 2. Meanwhile, whisk zest, juice, olive oil and vinegar together until smooth. Add yogurt and mayo and whisk until smooth. Set aside. 3. Add veggies to chicken in bowl. Add dressing on top and mix. 4. Add herbs, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir in almonds. – APRIL 2019 THEWCPRESS.COM






photo AMY TUCKER story COURTNEY POTTS model OLIVIA VECCHIO Hop into spring with this stylish onesie for your baby. This adorable piece is just what your youngin’ needs for snuggling up at night, but it can also make a functional daytime outfit! Equipped with these footies, you won’t have to worry about a sock disappearing or being left behind. The matching headband adds to the cuteness overload. Maybe we’re biased, but is she the cutest thing we’ve ever printed, or what? Organic Cotton, Footed


by MilkBarn Baby $32 Organic Cotton

BUNNY HEADBAND by MilkBarn Baby $13 Plush BUNNY by Jellycat $25





Near and Far

Jamie Jones of Whirlaway Travel explores some travel options abroad and highlights their local counterparts

In November of last year I was getting ready for the trip of a lifetime — 10 days in Kenya — when my husband dropped a bomb on me in my kid’s elementary school hallway: a friend of his asked if we could take in a dog. Equipped with a heart that bleeds for animals, I asked only a few pertinent questions and later on that afternoon we met our new family member, Roxy, an eight-year-old Cane Corso. Within 12 hours I was off on an adventure in East Africa only to come home to Roxy and set off on another transformative endeavor. Roxy was “ridden hard” as our beloved vet would later describe her. She’d had quite a few litters, fed a few more and had been used up for her pedigree by her previous owner. We thought we were getting a dog that needed a new home; we didn’t expect an old lady riddled with neglect and late-stage cancer. Despite that, Roxy was a gem. She had the best demeanor, spunky personality and a gap-toothed smile that could turn a cat lady into a dog lover in an instant. She loved marrow bones and snuggles just as much as she relished bossing around the men of the house. I built an instant connection with her that I had not felt since the passing of my beloved Smokey the Lab six years ago. Roxy was my girl. As soon as Roxy joined our family we took her to Dr. Perkins at West Chester Animal Hospital. Dr. Perkins treated Smokey for most of his life, and I knew and trusted her. When we first took Roxy, I knew that Dr. Perkins would care for her as much as I did and treat her humanely. Over the next four months I spoke with and met with Dr. Perkins weekly. We didn’t know Roxy’s history, so a lot of treatment was trial and error. What began as a malnourished, underweight, tumor-ridden, neglected dog with a urinary tract infection turned into a delightful companion who continued to battle something far worse than we could ever treat. After rounds of steroids, antibiotics and pain killers, we finally made the decision to say goodbye to Roxy. That day was one of the hardest days of my life. I wanted so desperately to give her the life she deserved; we did the best we could, but she still deserved more. Travelers are often given opportunities to interact with animals. Whether on tiger safaris in India, seeing a moose or grizzly in Yellowstone or crossing paths with an Ellie in Africa, opportunities to see animals in the wild can be life changing. Unfortunately, there are also opportunities to ride elephants, walk leopards and hold lions. While these activities may seem amazing, the conditions with which these animals are acquired and raised can make Roxy’s treatment seem banal. I stress to every traveler the importance of researching the organizations they patronize, regardless of how unique the experience may be. It is amazing what we will not tolerate in our own backyards but ignore in our travels. One of the many reasons I love West Chester Animal Hospital is their devotion to our animals, and their realistic views and treatments of our pets. We can all learn a lesson from their humanity and caring whether we are dealing with our own pets or encountering wildlife abroad. —






of the Month PHOTO Amy Tucker INTERVIEW Courtney Potts

Olayemi Swindell of New Vision Family Eye Care places the emphasis on the individual How’d you get into the field? I’ve always wanted to be a doctor. I just didn’t know what kind. My junior year of high school, we were asked to interview someone for a class assignment. I had just received contact lenses and had been seeing an optometrist often. The doctor always seemed like she was on cloud nine; I was curious to know why. One thing she said was that becoming an eye doctor was the best decision she’d ever made. I decided right then that this was what I wanted to do. Did you know you wanted to run your own business? After college I worked at a few places in Chester County, but nothing ever felt like “it.” My husband

and I discussed the idea of opening the business and decided to go for it. What’s most improved now that you own the business? I have control of the quality of service that we give to our patients. A lot of places I worked before, the focus on patient experience wasn’t there. The fact that I can control the patient’s experience and make changes to keep improving is a major benefit. Has that caused you to notice customer service elsewhere? Absolutely. I remember going to a local restaurant that’s been one of my favorites, and I saw how poorly managed it was. I saw, from the customer’s side, how it looks when you’re not put together. Conversely, I really appreciate when places care about every aspect of the customer experience. I feel like there’s a whole philosophy behind it. It’s up to you whether you want to buy into that philosophy or not. It’s not easy, especially if you are bent on creating the best customer experience. You almost have to individualize it for everyone, but at the same time give fair and equal treatment to everybody.

What’s your main goal with this business? When starting our business, we came up with a mission statement: to change the view of the world around us, one pair of eyes at a time. We want people to understand how important it is to take their eyes more seriously, to look towards the future. By looking at life in a different way, you can control your own destiny, instead of letting life happen. That’s why we’re called New Vision. Do you offer any unique services? We offer eye exams, and sell eyewear, but we also offer dry eyes specialty services. I’ve never heard of the dry eyes services. We’ve had patients come in not understanding why they couldn’t read like before, or use a computer for long periods of time, or even just wear their contacts comfortably. Since having the dry eye procedures done, they are now able to enjoy these activities again. Doctors had told them there wasn’t much they could do, or that eye drops should solve the problem. But we can do so much more. People don’t realize that eye care is more than just a pair of glasses. It’s deeper than just the surface.





Meet the local artisans bringing sustainability to your home by Michael Lynch & Jamie Jones photos Amy Tucker APRIL 2019 THEWCPRESS.COM




John Hutchinson in his Mechanics Alley workshop


aying “sustainable” often conjures images of green landscapes, solar panels and electric vehicles, but that’s such a narrow view of what sustainability means. For instance, while we all know recycling is better for the environment, few of us have grappled with the fact that landfills are the third-largest source of man-made methane, a gas 28 times as potent a greenhouse contributor as CO2. Of that, the US alone was responsible for 130 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent. For comparison, natural gas-burning power plants accounted for 506 million metric tons in 2017. Our trash is worse for us than 25% of our gas power plants — obviously sustainability also means not throwing things in the trash! To that end, we want to introduce you to some local craftspeople who are working hard to make sure your belongings don’t end up in the dump. These artisans are breathing new life into old pieces, whether by restoring historic furniture to its former glory, or finding a new use for your old wooden doors. Beyond cutting down on the amount of waste we’re generating, the wares they’re producing have the added benefit of being absolutely beautiful.

RESTORE John Hutchinson

For nearly a quarter of a century, master restorer and finisher John Hutchinson has been the head craftsman and sole proprietor of Rose Valley Restorations, West Chester’s premier furniture restoration and conservation studio. John began his journey into the fine arts during the mid-1990s when, after graduating from Dickinson College, he moved to Florence Italy to study abroad. While living in Florence, John attended the prestigious Restoration Academy Palazzo-Spinelli and also worked under master finisher Maestro Cianferoni to attune his knowledge of general restoration and the art of French polish. John then moved back to the states and started his own business out of his mother’s greenhouse. In 1998 Hutchinson opened Rose Valley Restorations in West Chester, now located at the historic property at 219 Mechanics Alley, where John

and his network of artisans specialize in all forms of the restorative arts — from finish work and on-site carpentry, to upholstery and antique billiards table restoration, to name just a few. Hutchinson’s restorative and conservation skills extend from the Renaissance, Chippendale, and Sheraton eras, to Arts and Crafts, Nouveau, Mid-Century Modern, and all periods in between. Over the years, Rose Valley Restorations has worked with multiple small museums and institutions in the area, such as Primitive Hall, the Leiper House, and the Rose Valley Historical Society, among others. We recently caught up with John and discussed the sustainability aspects of his business, where thinking green is critical to daily operations. “Preservation and conservation are a big part of what we do,” he said. John explained that his business model is the ultimate expression of reduce, reuse, and recycle, where the majority of the wood used in his shop is salvaged





Rose Valley Restorations shared a booth with Monroe Coldren & Son at this year’s Chester County Historical Society Antique Show and repurposed from roofers, auctions, and old barns. At Rose Valley, energy costs are kept to a minimum, with a low carbon footprint, by not running industrial-sized machinery all day. Instead, the majority of the shop’s workload is processed by period-specific, hand-powered tools. Hutchinson’s Earth-friendly approach is evident in all the materials at Rose Valley, as John does not work with anything that is harmful for the environment and all of the finishes used at the shop are hand-applied, never sprayed. “We work exclusively with time-tested, organic materials, such as shellac, oil and wax,” he said. John makes his own hot wax from pure beeswax and also makes shellac finish from flake. “Shellac is a naturally occurring resin, produced by the lac beetle. The bug, resin and leaves of the lac tree are harvested and then boiled down to get the pure form of the resin,” John explained. He further described how the shellac is then refined for varying colors and poured into flakes, which he converts into finish. “Many of the colors that I use are ‘earth colors,’ meaning they are naturally occurring clays that come in a variety of hues,” he said.

Repurposing is another key feature to Rose Valley’s ethos of sustainability, as the typical furniture items that John works on tend not to be strictly museum-quality but are often the types of pieces that are put to everyday use. “Although I work with the decorative arts, ninety percent of the furniture that comes through the shop has a practical purpose,” Hutchinson said. For example, John recently took six 1880’s farmhouse doors, restored them, and converted them into sliding doors. These types of projects further demonstrate that instead of buying big on the more disposable, mass-produced furniture products from chain, box stores, John’s services allow for his clients to spend small on fixing or restoring pieces found in Grandmom’s basement. As opposed to constantly replacing the new with the brand new, Rose Valley Restorations offers the possibility of giving new life to a more meaningful piece of furniture that may have been passed down from a previous generation… and perhaps even for generations to come.


Who would have thought that a lamp could be made out of an oxygen tank? Beth Stiles, owner of Thrifty Vintage, created just such a lamp — that’s who — and then she sold that lamp to a nurse in Arizona. But she couldn’t breathe easy over the sale until she overcame the bigger obstacle of shipping it across the United States, since oxygen cylinders are considered dangerous goods. This was but one of many stories Beth shared with us on a recent visit to her store at 14 N Church Street, where the walls are lined with unique objects that exude an arts-and-crafts-meets-shabby-chic vibe along with an assortment of beautiful repainted antiques. Thrifty Vintage is a treasure trove of old items that have been given new life. What began as an online store for Beth to earn some extra cash as a stay-at-home mom blossomed into this thriving downtown business. Charmingly strewn about the space are repainted antique dressers in vibrant colors, candleholders crafted from



5 High Quality Arts & Crafts for Sale Moon Bounces Mexican Artists Children Rides Live Artisian Demostrations Authentic Mexican Food



Beth Stiles, with fresh paint on her apron, just back from a custom job at a client’s home.

repurposed beer bottles, and headboards that have been turned into coat racks. Handmade wooden signs line the walls and vintage iron pipes that have been converted into industrial-style lamps light the space. Everything in the store is upcycled, recycled, or refurbished, giving Beth major sustainability points. Thrifty Vintage has also built a community of like-minded artists by providing a place for others to share their goods. With just four consignors when she started out, today that number has grown to 21, guaranteeing a wide variety of styles to suit anyone’s tastes. Refurbishing furniture and other items isn’t automatically an environmentally safe process, but at Thrifty Vintage, care is taken to employ only eco-friendly methods and finishes, such as VOC-free paint. Beth is passionate about reusing and upcycling, and loves to create custom projects for her clients. One of her favorite products is chalk paint, an excellent choice for creating a weathered, distressed look. Beth has created a culture of sustainability by bringing the work of local artisans together under one roof with a shared vision to reduce waste and use

what is already available, all at very affordable prices. After spending some time in the shop, it was apparent that investing in the quality of custom pieces designed and hand crafted by our neighbors is a solid way to support a sustainable future. Instead of heading to Home Goods for the perfect sign to adorn a bathroom wall or a sideboard to fill with wares, consider Thrifty Vintage. The curated selection of unique items offers plenty of choices, all of which come with the added bonus of keeping things out of the landfill. Thrifty Vintage will be celebrating their one year anniversary in May. Be on the lookout for specials and events this spring to help them celebrate.

RECLAIM Gary Stuchel

World famous designer and architect, Frank Lloyd Wright once stated “I go to nature every day for inspiration in the day's work. I follow in building the principles which nature has used in its domain.” That quote perhaps best captures the spirit of the growing trend of

reclaimed wood, a movement that began to gain traction during 1990s as waste disposal increased and deconstruction became a more viable economic alternative to demolition. Homeowners, architects, designers and other woodworkers sought to build structures that give, rather than take, from the environment, and selecting reclaimed wood or lumber puts to use an existing building material. Reclaimed wood is incredibly beneficial for the natural world because it does not require as many resources, compared to the energies that go into the cutting, processing, and transportating that’s often associated with new wood production. Recently we spoke with local Timber Framer and Woodwright, Gary Stuchel, about the benefits and longevity associated with reclaimed wood, in comparison to the materials that are often used in new home construction. “So many of today’s homes are built so flimsy and filled with toxic materials,” he said. “I take pride in knowing that the structures that I build and work on will most likely survive for hundreds of years after I’m gone. If that’s not sustainability, what is?” he asked.





Although reclaimed lumber makes for a durable building material, living oldgrowth wood is nearing extinction in the United States. According to the US Forest Service, there is approximately 3% of old-growth forest left in North America. However, Gary mentioned that utilizing reclaimed wood helps minimize the impact of this issue. “I'm aware that trees are not infinitely available, but by supporting sustainable forestry and reclaiming timber, the environmental footprint is small,” he said.

Krystal Reinhard in the Market Street storefront of Old Soul Decor photo Justin James Muir

When the personality of reclaimed wood is preserved, anyone working with these materials gains aesthetic charm, alongside the structural-functional advantages of the lumber, while doing something nice for Mother-Nature.

REIMAGINE Old Soul Décor

Nothing represents Old Soul Décor’s aesthetic better than the vintage teak Danish shelving unit on the wall that holds a signature eclectic mix of offerings: Locally crafted leather goods from Tesoro, a pair of midcentury milk glass carafes, Zoet Bathlatier’s hand-poured candles, an antique starburst clock, ceramics from Louise Vance, SOKO upcycled, fairtrade jewelry. Although from different periods of history, the items share a classic appeal. The look is timeless—not ahead of the curve or behind it. Because, according to Paul Mangan, “There is no curve.” Paul’s one of a few people who’ve been pulled into the orbit of Old Soul Décor owner Krystal Reinhard. After just a casual chat about the shop and Krystal’s beliefs, Paul knew the passion that was at work in Old Soul, and he joined the shop. Today he’s part of the team, alongside veteran woodworker Tristram MacDonnell. Krystal’s commitment to sustainability grew out of her upbringing. “I'm the first generation born in the United States, and my family came here with very little,” she said. “We were brought up to appreciate what we have, to reuse and repurpose items, to have a garden. We were taught to play outside and not use electronics.” In addition to sensibly sourced products, Old Soul also takes care to employ sustainable practices within their business. “Our bags and boxes are made out of recycled paper; we hand stamp our logos,” said

Krystal. “We've outfitted the store using reclaimed wood, our lighting is energy efficient, and we recycle and repurpose.” Old Soul is also committed to giving vintage and antique items a new life, by building custom pieces of furniture and accent walls in their wood shop two blocks away. The accent wall in the front of the store is comprised of wood slats salvaged from old homes in the borough. Colors range from blond, to tan, to dark gray and black, all the natural colors of the wood that was hidden behind the plaster. These accent walls are becoming a popular request. One of their upcoming projects is the lobby of Dare Automotive on Westttown

Road, which was described as a mix of industrial and local, comprising mostly cedar and steel. Examples of Old Soul’s work are already all over town, like the hostess stand at Sterling Pig Brewery next door, which is built from wood salvaged from an 1800s-era house in Gladwyne. Just as many of us find the influence of our childhood inescapable as adults, Krystal’s upbringing has been instrumental in fashioning her passions, like a deep appreciation for handmade items. “It is my goal to expose my clients and customers to vendors and artisans who practice sustainability and to give them products that are not only friendly to our environment, but also safe for them to use and wear.”





Making a Difference

Each month the Rotary Club of West Chester contributes a column exploring the organizations that are making a difference in our community. Rotary has a broad mission, so it is not uncommon for members to also lend their talents to other organizations. Rotarians provide leadership to countless non-profits throughout the region, further expanding the organization’s reach as a force for good. In West Chester, the club offers an opportunity for its people to develope into board members who can have maximum impact on the community. Leadership Chester County (LCC) is an eight-month intensive board development program created by The United Way of Chester County, in conjunction with the Chester County Chamber of Business and Industry, and the Graduate Center of West Chester University. For 18 years, local companies have sent their best and brightest to learn about Chester County’s social and economic landscape while developing leadership skills and knowledge about non-profit governance. From the beginning, the Rotary Club of West Chester has embraced this program and annually sponsors a member to attend, knowing that Rotarian will attain skills that will benefit the club and the community at-large. Mary Anne Feeley, director of the program, recognizes the value of the partnership. “The Rotary Club of West Chester has a long, strong history of supporting local nonprofits,” she said. “The club has sponsored 17 of its members through the course, the most of any nonprofit sponsor, and the only civic group to invest in this training, building the capacity of local nonprofits to serve the community well into the future.” As part of the program, each class is tasked with completing a project for a pre-selected non-profit. Depending on the organization, this project could have a long-term impact on the scope or mission of the organization. Current Rotary President Bill Friedmann, a 2017 graduate of Leadership Chester County, values the experience. “LCC really opened my eyes to the power of the nonprofit sector to do great things in our community,” he said. “The project provided an opportunity to work with talented folks from across a number of different fields with a diversity of skill sets.” Chester County Prothonotary Matt Holliday graduated from Leadership Chester County in 2014. He has taken the concept of Service Above Self to the extreme. The President-Elect of the Rotary Club, he serves on an additional thirteen non-profit boards, not to mention countless councils and committees. He sums up his experience with the program, saying, “Not only does Leadership Chester County give program participants the skills they need to successfully serve on and lead the boards of non-profit organizations, but it also puts you in touch with a network of 30 other people in your class who are trying to do good in the world. This is another similarity the program shares with the Rotary Club of West Chester, which connects you with around 120 likeminded people who want to make our community the best it can possibly be.” – If you are interested in making a difference, please feel free to check us out. The Rotary Club of West Chester meets every Thursday at noon at the West Chester Country Club.





Real (Estate) Talk Realtors Brad Moore and Alison Maguire of Keller Williams Real Estate’s Moore Maguire Group take a look at the borough’s booming market

The question of rent vs buy often seems a simple conundrum. Many first-time buyers let it boil down to one question: do I have the down payment? But the decision is often more complex, and West Chester has some particular considerations to ponder that can drastically impact your final decision. The first thing you’ll want to think about is the cost comparison. Beyond the obvious benefit of earning equity as you pay your premium, owning a home allows you to lock down your monthly payment, whereas renting might mean an increase year after year. In the borough, the cost of renting a property continues to rapidly increase, while property values rise at a more moderate rate. The average two- or three-bedroom property rents for around $2,100/ month. If you owned, a monthly expense of $2,100 could put you in a house valued at more than $300,000. Chances are, that’s a lot more living space than in that two-bedroom rental. Another major question is how long you plan to stay. When you buy, there are upfront costs associated with your purchase. Often these amount to anywhere from 2-5% of the total cost of the loan. Generally speaking, you’d need to remain in a property for three to four years in order to make that money back and begin truly reaping the benefits. However, with rent values almost always exceeding mortgage payments in West Chester, the borough is a great place to consider an investment property. If you choose to move before you’ve made your money back, you can likely rent it out and have someone else pay your mortgage for you. Best of all, in West Chester you won’t see an increase in your property taxes even if it’s no longer your primary residence. Now for the dreaded downpayment. Many first-timers fear they’ll never save the 20% they need to purchase a property, but the truth is that 20% is a myth — you can put down far less. That number has become prominent because many lenders will charge a private mortgage insurance (PMI) fee of 1% of the total loan amount to insure owner’s with less than 20% equity. However, there are certain pockets in the borough that qualify for the Community Reinvestment Act where you’re able to own a home with 3% down and still have no PMI. So what does that look like in reality? We recently had an updated borough townhome with two bedrooms and one bath go under contract for $285,000. With 3% down, plus closing costs, the total cash-to-close was $19,481. Because they have no PMI, their total monthly payment is only $1,597, and this includes principal, interest, taxes and insurance. The fair market value to rent this property is around $1,900 per month! The decision to buy or rent is a big one, and considering all your options can be difficult. But between high rental rates, and the availability of programs that require very little down, purchasing a home is often an affordable option. The reality is, by the time you’ve saved up first, last and security for a borough rental, you’re halfway to owning your own home! –





b e c o m i n g




how community changemakers created a sustainable economy for downtown story MALCOLM JOHNSTONE photos COURTNEY POTTS




2000, community leaders decided it was time to set their own destiny for West Chester. The decade before saw the borough with a shrinking population, commercial property values in the tank, and a crime rate higher than the national average. All this in a county that finished the same decade with a growth rate of 15%, making Chester County the fastest growing, and by many measures, the wealthiest county in Pennsylvania. What happened? In the second half of the 20th century, West Chester had up to five department stores, two theaters, and four hotels that acted as so-called anchor businesses. Most of these businesses were part of national corporate chains and the locally owned shops and restaurants depended on them to create customer traffic. The inherent economic problem with the chains is that, while their strength is in creating customer traffic, the shopping dollars spent at the chain does not stay within the community on the same level as with locally-owned businesses. According to the National Main Street Center, for every $100 spent in a corporate big-box retailer, such as Wal-Mart, only $10 remains in the community to be recycled back into the local economy. This compares to $100 spent in a locally-owned business where $60 of that makes its way back into the community, thus compounding its impact and creating an economic value of $250. Penn State calls this the Multiplier Effect. After the first transaction takes place at a local business, there can be up to ten more transactions before the effect of the original transaction is completely exhausted. This effect is particularly evident in communities that have, at least in part, a tourism component to their economy. One example is to compare the community of Gresham, a suburb of Portland, Oregon, which is regarded as having the largest local economy in that state, primarily because of the big-box retailers, car dealerships and strip malls along a massive boulevard. When I visited on a consulting gig a couple of decades ago, I noticed that the area may be generating lots of big ticket sales, but there is not a sense that one would want to live there.

“Our meeting and event space also inspires creativity and productivity,” says Chad Williams. He is a co-founder and partner of the parent company align5 that opened align.Space in the F&M Building at the corner of Market & High.

I was able to compare it to Baker City, in rural eastern Oregon, which is considered among the economically poorest communities in that state. But because it’s located near the National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center — not

huge, but it’s something — the tourist dollars that were spent there, stayed there. The result is that Baker City has every appearance of a charming small town with a high livability quotient. So basically, it's a matter of the capture and leakage of dollars spent within a community. Downtown West Chester stakeholders recognized this at the start of the millennium, and they focused on sustainability as part of the strategy to create a new economy for downtown. They





“Our culture has forever struggled to find the answers to eating healthy foods that are prepared fresh, fast and, most importantly, are fun to make, eat, and share,” states Evan Ross, owner of Liquid Eatery, a tropical-inspired vegan restaurant + smoothie café

knew that a centralized corporate structure, anchored by department stores, was never coming back to downtown (super malls like King of Prussia would see to that), but that a much healthier economic environment of home-owned shops and restaurants would create economic sustainability. Within the vision statement for the BID is the operative phrase: “things that make West Chester a special place.” When the area was anchored around department stores, small businesses — particularly those with a creative sense — we devalued. Nowadays they are no longer acting as if they were just amenities for customers — they have become the attractions of downtown. They make West Chester that special place. While we can certainly look at examples like the long-defunct Woolworth’s Department Store (at the corner of High and Gay Streets) morphing into a

place like Iron Hill Restaurant & Brewery, which immediately shows the positive impact of selling locally made products, we have also embraced what destination marketers are calling the “Boutique Destinations.” These are businesses with a niche following that ignore the mass markets and seek to please the individual tastes of their patrons. These are a new type of business structure that has taken over with its own name: catalyst businesses. They are being run by creative people, and author Richard Florida identifies them as the future of downtown in his book The Rise of the Creative Class, in which he examines this phenomenon in detail. Such businesses are generating customer traffic and local jobs and are relatively immune to mega-corporate competition. West Chester is already brimming with these kind of businesses that have become downtown destinations that offer a unique and authentic

experience for customers. And many more are coming. One such shop, opening May 1 at 134 E Market Street, is Compendium (, a boutique offering exclusive, private-label apparel. Owner Emily Scott plans on making her West Chester location the flagship for her emerging store and pop-ups. She offers limited-run styles that retail for under $100 and include things such as leggings/athleisure-wear, sundresses, work clothes, and even party dresses, all under her own label. It was once impossible to even consider such a business plan, but it may soon become commonplace. When align.Space opened in the historic F&M Building at 2 W Market Street (renovated into a modern co-working space), it had every appearance of what used to be called "Business Incubators" or "Executive Suites." But it is so





much more. It offers a comprehensive approach for entrepreneurs seeking scalable quality space and acts as a business resource for emerging entrepreneurs and small professional businesses. “Our meeting and event space also inspires creativity and productivity,” says Chad Williams. He is a co-founder and partner of the parent company align5 and is responsible for leading the company’s business development. “Our name is a reflection of our belief that simplicity is much better than complexity, and we work with companies to help them in a variety of ways, whether it be high growth, building a world-class culture, coaching senior leaders, or exiting through our Investment Banking Services.” Entrepreneurs of all types should be checking out align.Space. Economic sustainability can easily partner with environmental sustainability as downtown welcomes such restaurants as Liquid Eatery, 18 N High Street, and Love Again Local, 18 S Church Street. Both are truly vegan, using locally sourced, plant-based food with gluten-free and non-GMO options.

“We are lucky to be located in Pennsylvania where we can find the freshest local organic dairies, produce and cheeses,”says Vincenzo Tettamanti, owner and chef at Gemelli Artisanal Gelato Dessert Café.

“Our culture has forever struggled to find the answers to eating healthy foods that are prepared fresh, fast and, most importantly, are fun to make, eat, and share,” states Evan Ross, owner of Liquid Eatery. And eating this way, besides being healthy, can be an adventure. “Join us on a culinary journey around the globe as we explore the tastes of superior plantbased nutrition,” writes Elena Mascherino, owner of Love Again Local. “Great cooking isn't just about recipes — it's about techniques. We offer cooking classes where you'll work together with other students in a fun, hands-on environment led by a professional plantbased health coach.”

photos © Gemelli When the Warner Theater opened in 1930 (“Warner” referred to Warner Bros.), it could seat an audience of 1,500. It quickly became the entertainment center of Chester County. The theater has been repurposed into the Hotel Warner at 118 N High Street and still accommodates thousands of visitors each year. But healthy communities need healthy theaters, and the Uptown! Knauer Performing Arts Center, repurposed from the historic Armory, now has that distinction. Among the many theater companies that call Uptown! home, The Resident Theatre Company or RTC, is a professional company started by Kristin McLaughlin Mitchell, who is also its Producing Artistic Director. RTC produces professional plays and musicals (currently, the popular Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is playing through April 14). But RTC does not just produce shows, it works to “create a thriving, inclusive creative community in West Chester, where people can discover theatre, interact with the artists, find people with common interests, and feel like they are part of the community,”





according to Kristin. This is truly part of a sustainable culture. Even sweet treats can be part of a sustainable economy. Just ask Vincenzo Tettamanti, owner of Gemelli Artisanal Gelato & Dessert Café, 12 W Market Street. He was born and raised in Emilia-Romagna, Italy, a region known for its culinary traditions. But Vincenzo was able to apply local ingredients to his family recipes. “We are lucky to be located in Pennsylvania where we can find the freshest local organic dairies, produce and cheeses,” he says. “We can choose local products and still make truly authentic Italian Gelato.” Social sustainability also comes into play, and we mean “play” quite literally when talking about Level13 eSports Gaming Center, 21 S High Street. This is a place where young people can experience what will someday be their fond memories of their hometown downtown. Besides a menu of classic games, there are new games and everything needed for a great experience. “We have state-of-the-art computers that were designed with collaborative and social gameplay in mind,” points out owner Kevin Mash. “Our staff of enthusiasts are here to help make sure everyone has the best experience. We’re available to help instruct on strategy, technique, game meta — you name it.” Added to that is the formation of competitive gaming. It’s all part of truly being a community. An often overlooked aspect of sustainability is property ownership. When you’re visiting many of the small shops downtown, there’s a good chance that you’re talking to both the proprietor and the property owner. Such a level of investment has a way of keeping a focus where it counts. Tish Boutique, at 138 E Gay Street, is one example. While Tonda Dipasquale and Ashley Tischler Darlington are most certainly busy creating a hub for contemporary women’s apparel in downtown — think everything from funky shoes and accessories to date night tops and stylish dresses — they also take pride in keeping their charming historic location in pristine shape. The investments that are made to their property add value for them and to the entire street, as well as provide an

“We have state of the art computers that were designed with collaborative and social gameplay in mind,”says Kevin Mash, the owner of Level13, a professional eSports center that recently opened on High Street right by Barnaby’s.

authentic experience, with just the right amount of funk thrown in. The overall effect is a healthier, more sustainable economy. These are the types of businesses that have taken downtown West Chester from about 300 businesses in 2000 to roughly 600 today. They also helped make West Chester numero uno in growth out of

the 958 boroughs in Pennsylvania, with an 8.7% growth rate since 2010. Plus crime is now at its lowest point ever, well below the national rate, due to a professional, well-trained police force supported by a vital economy. It is this concerted effort, led by a vision with a focus on localized and creative businesses, that has transformed downtown West Chester into a vibrant and livable destination, and by keeping the focus on local, we ensure a sustainable economic future for this town. Malcolm Johnstone has been the Executive Director of the West Chester Business Improvement District since 2001.





Design Dilemmas Andrea Mason of Perceptions Interiors is a professional interior designer who wants to help you upgrade your space

I love a stylish piece of particle board furniture just as much as the next person, belive me. This cheap furniture is appealing when thinking of the wear and tear from your children and pets. Why ruin a nice piece of furniture? What many people don’t take into account is that a solid, durable piece, although often more expensive, will last longer and be better for the environment. Think of all of the bargain furniture you will keep buying and chucking when you could have purchased just one long-lasting piece. Learning more about the many ways you can have sustainable furniture in your life will help create a good-looking space while keeping in mind the effects it has on our world. WOOD: The thought of chopping down trees for a table doesn’t sound quite sustainable, but choosing the right wood can make a difference. Bamboo and Rattan grow very quickly and are both incredibly durable. Teak, Walnut, and Eucalyptus are other woods that are commonly responsibly sourced and you can usually find these durable wood species at furniture stores that carry a sustainable furniture line. Try using reclaimed or recycled wood for your next coffee or dining table. These pieces not only tell a story, but have a one-ofa-kind look. Another sustainable trait is to use wood that is locally sourced. This will cut costs on transporting materials from across the world, and it’s a chance to support a local craftsman. METAL: Furniture made from metal not only looks fantastic, but it will last forever. When you are ready for something new, it can easily be broken down and recycled. Metal can also be made out of recycled material for an environmentally friendly material. It comes in a variety of colors, making it a versatile material for a traditional or modern home. Pro Tips: TOXICITY: When purchasing furniture, look for pieces with little or no VOC emissions. This stands for volatile organic compounds. They are found in paint, varnish, stains and upholstery. Applied during production, they slowly emit their toxicity in your home. They can be the cause of all sorts of health problems while also adding toxins to our environment. REUSE: An easy way to be sustainable and not break the bank is to find something pre-owned. Discovering the perfect piece of furniture at a thrift store can be fun — all it needs is a little TLC and a new home! Every little bit helps when reducing your carbon footprint. Next time you go shopping, take into consideration the materials you buy. I would love to help you implement these practices, so never hesitate to contact me. –





Can’t-Miss April Events 4/25

Don’t miss your chance to see Skin, winner of this year’s Oscar for Best Live Action Short, at the Film Festival.

April 4-14

April 12 & 25

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

Common Thread Spring Social Event & Artists’ Talk

Resident Theater Company presents Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, based on the 1988 film. It takes us back to the French Riviera, with hysterical comedy and mischief. Music and lyrics by Tony Award-nominee David Yazbek (The Full Monty). The show is recommended for ages 10+. Children under eight cannot attend. Discounts are available for seniors, students and groups. Tickets are available for purchase on RTC’s and Uptown!’s websites. Uptown!Knauer Performing Arts Center 226 N High St | 610-356-2787

April 7

Enjoy an art exhibition by artists Katee Boyle, Kate McGammon and Anne Mitchell Reid any time from March 6 until April 26, but join The Art Trust for two special events this month: from 5pm–8:30pm on April 12 their will be a social where light refreshments will be served; and on April 25 come listen to the artists elaborate on their work from 7–8pm. The Art Trust 16 Market St | 484-301-2784

April 13 & 14

Easter Bunny Hayride Spring is here, and what better way to and Pancake Breakfast Handmade Craft Fair

get rid of all the winter blues than with some new artwork? Handmade art from local craftspeople will be available for purchase. This free event runs 1pm–5pm. Milestone Moments 600 E Market St | 610-918-4704

Enjoy a delicious breakfast outdoors with the family. This event runs 8am-11am both days and includes pancakes, sausage, fruit, an apple cider donut, and choice of juice, milk, coffee or tea. There will also be hayrides to visit the Easter Bunny. Breakfast is only $7 a plate, but

a hayride out to meet the Easter Bunny is not included in the price for breakfast. Highland Orchards 1000 Marshallton Thorndale Rd 610-269-3494 |

April 14

Blues & Brews Sunday Jamz

Wind down the weekend with some blues music and tasty beverages. Sunday will start off with a set from the house band, and then the stage will open to local blues musicians. This is not an open mic setting; it’s open to professional-level musicians who are interested in networking and playing blues music with other musicians. The event runs 2pm–6pm. Righteous Tap House 1548 Shadyside Rd | 484-593-0850

April 18

Magical Mystery Doors

Magical Mystery Doors is a tribute act blending the music of three legendary bands to create new and unique tunes. Attendees can expect to hear timeless scores from The Beatles, The Doors



Find the perfect wedding gown for your special day at Sabrina Ann Couture, West Chester and Sabrina Ann in Ardmore, both premier destinations for bridal gowns and evening wear. Browse our selection of designer sample gowns in a range of sizes. Our selection changes weekly. Enjoy a boutique shopping experience while saving 30 – 70% off retail. Our seasoned consultants will help you find the gown of your dreams. New Dresses Arriving Weekly! Save 30- 70% Off Retail.

To view our collections, visit our website today!



Sabrina Ann 24 Ardmore Ave Ardmore, PA 19003 610.642.6228

Sabrina Ann Couture 128 North High Street West Chester, PA 19380 484.999.8326

Get a round in at Radley Run and network with fellow WCU alums


and Led Zeppelin. Tickets are available on Uptown!’s website for $20 plus a $3 service fee. The show starts at 7pm and lasts 120 minutes. Uptown! Knauer Performing Arts Center 226 N High St | 610-356-2787

April 18

WCU Symphony Orchestra Outdoor Concert WCU is again putting on a free, public, open-air concert, featuring the university’s symphony orchestra, along with the Dali String Quartet, who will be performing Broadway musicals and instrumentals with Latin flair. Before the concert, starting at 4pm, the WCU Steel Drum Ensemble and the Latin Jazz Ensemble will perform, and free popcorn will be handed out. The show takes place on the Quad, which is in the middle of the campus framed by Church, High, University and Rosedale. West Chester University School of Music 700 S High St | 610-436-1100

April 20

FIFA 19 Live Tournament

Love playing FIFA? Level 13 eSports Gaming Center is partnering with Kildare’s Pub to host a live tournament. Players will compete in a single elimination, bracket format to win the title of West Chester’s Best FIFA player. First prize is $1,000 in cash. The games start at 10am and will last until there’s a winner. Level 13 21 S High St | 267-727-1313 TICKETS:

April 25

Faces of the Berlin Wall

Join students and faculty for a special lecture and reception celebrating the opening of the 11th student co-curated exhibit featuring artifacts from East and West Berlin, including military materials, tourist souvenirs, everyday objects, toys and even authentic pieces of the wall. A lecture hosted by Dr. Nikolai Vukov from the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences in Sofia, Bulgaria, followed by a short discussion by the West Chester University faculty, and a reception. The free, two-hour event starts at 6pm and is open to the public. Reservations can be made upon request. West Chester University Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology 775 S Church St |

April 25-29

West Chester International Short Film Festival

Come out to West Chester’s film festival, showcasing diverse films from around the world. With more than 60 films being shown over the course of three days, all at the Uptown! Knauer Performing Arts Center and the Ches-

ter County Historical Society. Come out and enjoy additional activities, such as the opening night party, filmmaker workshops, and meet-and-greet events. The Family Film Festival on Saturday morning is free for ages 10 and younger, followed by the Young Filmmaker Festival that showcases short films from local and international students. Sunday night the “best of the fest” will be awarded at the Chester Awards Party. All events are open to the public. Tickets are available online through the West Chester Film Festival’s website. West Chester Film Festival

April 29

WCU Rams Alumni Golf Outing

Hosted by the WCU Chester County Alumni Chapter, join fellow alumni for a golf outing at Radley Run Country Club. The day will be full of prizes, competitions, raffles, and networking. The event will start around 10am and last until 8pm. Tickets are available for purchase on the WCU Alumni Association’s website. WCU Alumni Association 202 Carter Drive |





April Playlist DJ Romeo curates a list of the tracks you’ll be singing all spring The following is a list of songs that will take over the radio stations in the next few months. You’ll soon know them by heart and play them ‘til they’re tired. But, good news: you can download them first and look like the cool musical genius to all of your friends. | @DJRomeo24

Benny Blanco ft. Tiny, Selena Gomez & J Balvin “I Can’t Get Enough” Marshmello ft. CHVRCHES – “Here With Me” Jonas Brothers – “Sucker” Daddy Yankee ft. Snow – “Con Calma” Maren Morris – “The Bones” Weezer – “Can’t Knock The Hustle” John Legend – “Preach” Twenty One Pilots – “Chlorine” Zac Brown Band – “Someone I Used To Know” Ava Max – “So Am I” Louis Tomlinson – “Two Of Us” Gesaffelstein ft. Pharrell Williams – “Blast Off” Panic! At The Disco – “Hey Look Ma, I Made It” Sofia Reyes ft. Rita Ora & Anitta – “R.I.P.” Hardwell ft. Mike Williams – “I’m Not Sorry” Cage The Elephant – “House Of Glass” Thomas Rhett – “Look What God Gave Her” John Mayer – “I Guess I Just Feel Like” ScHoolboy Q – “Numb Numb Juice” Tory Lanez – “Freaky” The Head and the Heart – “Missed Connection” Absofacto – “Dissolve” Jake Miller – “NIKES” Arcade Fire – “Baby Mine” why mona – “Wannabe” Dierks Bentley – “Living” Wiley ft. Stefflon Don & Sean Paul – “Boasty” AJ Mitchell – “All My Friends” P!nk – “Walk Me Home” Russ – “Missin You Crazy”





Apparently the Norwegians have already begun planning their sustainable cities of the future. Good luck spotting the five differences in this photo from the concept drawings for a site outside of Oslo. Email your answers to, and you’ve got a chance to win a Barnaby’s gift certificate. Congrats to our March winner Katie Smith from Hotel Warner who spotted the five differences in the West Chester Garden Club plant sale!