The WC Press Family Owned and Operated Issue - March 2018

Page 1

Voice of the Borough | March 2018

Iconic West Chester entrepreneur Stanford Zukin built a business and a family legacy in the borough









“You don't choose your family. They are God's gift to your, as you are to them.” –Desmond Tutu


on the


COLUMNISTS WC Food Co-op Becca Boyd Jamie Jones Andrea Mason DJ Romeo Published By... Mathers Productions 12 E Barnard Street 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

THE MAN: Stan Zukin, who sadly passed away this January. We discuss his legacy in the opening segment of this month's feature story on page 15. THE IMAGE: This was shot by former staff photographer Adam Jones ( for a profile we ran on Stan in September of 2012. Adam's coffee business is also profiled on page 49.



Our no-nonsense table of contents


BARTENDER OF THE MONTH YEAR Chatting with newly crowned Valentina Stabilo at Barnaby’s


ALL IN THE FAMILY, PART 1 Get to know West Chester's family-owned businesses


EMPLOYEE OF THE MONTH Berger Rental Communities' Brent Sunderland


ALL IN THE FAMILY, PART 2 Get to know West Chester's family-owned businesses


PHOTO HUNT Find the five differences between two pictures and win!





MAY Style

OCTOBER Kid-Friendly

JUNE Summer Fun Guide


Featuring everything from interior and landscape design, down to artists and consumer products.

A collaborations with West Chester's fashion boutiques and salons to showcase the best looks.

Our annual guide to finding family fun in West Chester while the kids are home for the summer.

JULY Law & Order

As the county seat, West Chester is home to the most prominent legal minds in the county (and the state).

AUGUST Edible West Chester

West Chester is a foodie paradise, and we profile some of the best chefs and their culinary creations.



With more than a dozen bars in a four-block radius, there's always something going on after dark.

Information parents need to know, from when kids eat free to where you'll find family-friendly fun.

Our furry friends feature prominently, and we profile those pets and their industrious owners.

DECEMBER Holiday Shopping

Everything you need to know to find the best gifts while shopping locally this holiday season. ADVERTISING Nick Vecchio | 610.299.1100 EDITORIAL Dan Mathers | 610.984.5463


from the


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

When Glenn Lewis of Lewis Auto pitched us on the idea of a family owned and operated issue, we were immediately on board. After all, local, family businesses are the heart of this town, and they’re the reason a magazine like ours can even exist. The problem is, we didn’t know just how many family-owned businesses there were in West Chester. We naively started with a broad definition of what it meant to be family owned and operated, and when we announced our intentions, we were inundated by requests for coverage. As we began our own research, the list of family-owned businesses in this town quickly climbed into the hundreds. So, we were forced to narrow our definition and start rejecting really great businesses and really awesome people, because there was no way we’d be able to tell everyone’s stories. We came up with a two-part litmus test for a company to be feature in this story. It had to meet at least one of the following two criteria: 1. Multiple family members working day-in and day-out, side-by-side, on location at the business. 2. Multiple generations of the same family running the same business. Despite this much more narrow definition, we still ended up with a list of more than 50 businesses that we felt needed to be included in the feature, most of which satisfied both criteria. Three weeks before our deadline, it became clear that we really had our hands full. This issue tells one, massive story. It spans 20 pages, encompasses nearly 9,000 words and features photos of 24 separate businesses. There was a moment while I was assembling it, probably around 4am the night before our deadline, when I thought, “Ya know, we might’ve bitten off more than we can chew.” I imagine it’s a feeling that most the business owners on this list have felt before — when you own the company, there’s no safety net. You succeed because you must. In retrospect, it should’ve been clear that I was always destined to work for myself. My mother, father and stepfather are all self employed, and I was constantly in trouble at school for insubordination. Pursuing my own path was the only way forward. And yet, the stories told by the family members in this issue make me wonder if maybe there was another path. The tales of bonding and love and reward told herein made me wistful for the days of doing menial labor for my father’s construction company. I even got a bit sentimental about doing a week-long roofing job over spring break, and that’s saying something. The point is that, the accounts of accomplishment profiled in this story constantly reminded me of my own family. Like all great stories, they became more interesting each time I saw a bit of myself in them. I’m confident that all 20 pages are worth a thorough read.—





Bartender of the

Month YEAR PHOTO Sabina Sister INTERVIEW Skye McDonald

Chatting with newly crowned Bartender of the Year, Valentina Stabilo, at Barnaby’s How long have you been working at Barnaby’s? I started my freshman year at West Chester University. It’s been about seven years working here now. I have a full-time day job, too. What’s your normal shift? Wednesday nights with Tony DeRemer, and I pick up shifts whenever I can. Usually in the summer, I work Friday nights on the patio. And you recently won “Bartender of the Year” at the Bartenders Ball? I certainly wasn’t expecting it, but I’m incredibly honored. There are a lot of people who have won in the past who have way more experience than I do. So, to be recognized

was cool. It was amazing seeing Barnaby’s win an award too. What’s your favorite part of the job? The people I work with. Tony and I are great friends, so it helps the shift go by. I also love meeting new people and seeing familiar faces. How would you describe the atmosphere? When Quizzo is over on Wednesday nights, DJ Romeo will play “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” by Meatloaf, which is about 10 minutes long. Tony and I will get really into it, and it’s cool to see the customers sing along. Sometimes I’ll leave the bar and come dance with them. What else do you enjoy about bartending? When you take the time to get to know someone, and they thank you for listening to them and making their bar experience better, that always makes me feel good. Got any specials? On Wednesdays we have $3 Yeungling drafts, $5 wings, and at 10pm we do half off bottom-shelf mixed drinks, like vodka cranberry, whisky coke, gin and tonic. What makes Barnaby’s special? I love the family atmosphere, the relationships

I’ve made. If I didn’t work here, I wouldn’t know so many people in West Chester. Because of Barnaby’s, I can go into another bar and know so many of their customers, too. That’s a nice endorsement for all of West Chester. Since everyone comes together as a community, there’s a family atmosphere outside of Barnaby’s too. What do you mean? For example, this one Wednesday night at work, Tony told me that he learned from the football coach at West Chester University that there were 26 homeless students. I wanted to find a way for us to help the students. It was pretty remarkable seeing the generosity and kindness of everyone in the community who came together to support the students. It was absolutely moving. And as a Golden Ram myself, I love the university, and I wanted to help out its students. Why do you think you’re successful as a bartender? I think it comes down to personality. Anyone can pour a drink, but you need to make sure the customer has a good experience and take the extra second to have a conversation.







Suzanne Adams shares info on local food and the upcoming West Chester Food Co-op

Most of us are several generations or more removed from the skills that were employed in kitchens past to preserve food. This is a pity because the arts of food preservation — drying, pickling, fermenting, salting, smoking, curing, and preservation in mediums such as alcohol, sugar, and fat — produce some of the tastiest treats that can be brought to the table. Refrigeration has displaced these traditional preservation methods to a large extent, but nothing can replace the tastes that they produce. Food preservation once allowed people to eat local all year round—a necessity in the days before a globalized food system brought us asparagus in December and strawberries in January. There’s plenty of debate as to whether globalized food is actually an improvement in our diet—after all, how fresh can those strawberries be if they came from California or Chile? And how tasty are they when they have been bred for shipping and handling, rather than flavor and nutrition? And what kind of environmental and labor protections are provided for food produced outside the US? And what about the impact of all that transportation carbon? So as the local growing season approaches, think about ways to extend your local food diet with some simple preservation techniques. Remember that preservation is achieved by limiting bacterial growth, and bacteria need moisture, the right pH and the right temperature to grow. Many bacteria also require oxygen, but deadly botulinum flourishes in an oxygen-free environment, so controlling moisture, pH or temperature are the most reliable preservation methods. The easiest way to get started with preservation is to work with high acid (pH < 4.6) foods like fruit (including tomatoes) and rhubarb. These foods are not susceptible to botulism and may be preserved by simply cooking lightly and sealing in sterilized jars. Think of simple, low-sugar jams, lightly cooked with a little pectin added for thickening, and some lemon juice for additional brightness. Put in sterilized jars, top with a melted wax seal, and it’s shelf stable. Your jam will be nothing like supermarket stuff, which is mostly sugar. When you open a jar for a taste in winter, it will be like Proust’s madeleine; the glorious tastes of summer will come rushing back. Another easy, high-acid, preserved food is chutney—a sort of savory, chunky mélange of fruit, onion, spices, cider vinegar, sugar, and usually raisins or some other dried fruit. Chutneys are great with cheese, on a charcuterie plate, or spread on sandwiches. They can be kept in the refrigerator indefinitely and can also be made shelf stable by giving the sterilized, filled, and lidded jars a ten-minute boiling water bath. This method allows for room temperature aging, which is essential for developing the chutney’s flavor. At least three months are needed for maturation; if you find your chutney too ‘vinegary,’ that’s a sure sign it hasn’t had enough time in the jar. Local rhubarb will be up soon; so get your preserve and chutney recipes ready! –



Seeking to profile family owned and operated businesses in West Chester, we were innudated with responses. It turns out this community is pretty much entirely family owned. ¶ Forced to whittle down the entries, we decided that each candidate must meet at least one of the following two criteria: 1. Multiple family members work in the business, together, on a daily basis. 2. The business has been owned by a single family for multiple generations. ¶ We still ended up with 43 businesses. ¶ Did we miss some? Absolutely. Did we try and fail to include others? Sure did. ¶ Still, we feel that this article is an incredible collection of awesome businesses; it gives you insight into the minds of the people proud to run them, and a glimpse of the adversities and advantages of working with family. story: Dan Mathers, Kate Chadwick & Skye McDonald






The America’s Pie Family (©Sabina Sister)

The Zukin family trace their local business roots back to Stan Zukin’s first enterprise, Thatcher’s Pharmacy, started in the 1960s. “My dad knew everybody, because he filled their prescriptions,” remembers Stan’s son Scott. “My youngest memories are of working in that drug store.” Stan sold Thatcher’s in the late ‘90s and used his connections to launch Zukin Realty, buying properties from people he knew. “If someone was selling their building, they’d come to my dad, because they already had that trust,” says Scott. After working as a cabinet maker in Philadelphia, Scott joined his father in 1998, because the realty business had grown so fast that it was difficult for Stan to keep up alone. “I told him I’d give him one year, and if it didn’t work out, we’d go our separate ways,” says Scott. “It wasn’t until about a year and a half in that we realized how much time had elapsed, and we looked at each other and said, ‘Huh. I guess this is working.’” Like any business partners, they didn’t always see eye-to-eye. “We’d have heated arguments about work,” Scott says, “But then I’d still be like, ‘You’re coming over for dinner tonight, right?’” Sadly, Stan Zukin passed away this year. He forged a nearly 400-unit real estate empire and left an indelible mark on the community. His legacy lives on through both his business and his family. “My dad was an old-school guy,” says Scott. “He did a lot of deals by handshake, so we’ve had to delve back through them, and I can see my father through the relationships he built.”

Stan (left, 2012, ©Adam Jones) and Scott Zukin

People often approach Scott, saying, “Your dad did this; your dad did that,” to which Scott replies, “I’m running the business exactly the way my dad did — I’m doing it my way.”


When Dr. Judith Curtin started ABC Hearing in West Chester with her engineer husband Frank in 2004, she knew she had found her calling. A doctor of audiology, she loved the hands-on interactions, supplying specialized services ranging from comprehensive hearing evaluations, to speech therapy. Being family owned means they’re able to treat their clients like friends. “If we were corporate, there would be a more sales-oriented pressure,” Judith says. “As a family business, I can regulate the length of treatment.” In alternating years, Judith takes outof-pocket trips to Honduras, where she provides children and adults with hearing aids and hearing tests. “It’s who I am,” she says. “I’m always looking to help others and facilitate communication.”

AMERICA’S PIE “We’re lucky—we get to spend a lot of time together,” said America’s Pie owner Matthew Reed. “A lot of families don’t get to see each other very much.” Ten years working at his sister’s pizza shop taught him everything he needed. “It was the first shop I ever worked at. She taught me a ton and got me in the business.” And then there is Matt’s brother, who also owned a pizza shop for five years. After Matt had America’s Pie really rolling, he brought both of them on board as general managers. “I knew they’d give me their all. Trust is a huge thing—to trust that someone is going to do it the way that you want it done,” he said. “With family, I know they’re not gonna lose their cool, and they’ll make the same decisions that I would make. If I need a day off, I don’t have to worry about the shop.” Customers reap the benefits. “Family businesses are way more personalized,” Matt noted. “You’re going to get more attentive service. Everybody calls my mom ‘Mom.’”





natural curiosity and builds a foundation for joyful, lifelong learning. Our students thrive in authentic Montessori classrooms while learning science, Spanish, the arts, music and more. The program includes swim lessons, yoga, gym time and other Y activities, all at no added cost!

VISIT FOR AN OPEN HOUSE! March 16, 3:30-5 pm March 19, 6:30-8 pm

The YMCA is a cause-driven charitable organization that provides financial assistance for programs. Ask us for details.

Photos from the 2017 YMCA Fashion Show

For ages 2½ to 5

For details, visit or contact the Y today. WEST CHESTER AREA YMCA 610-431-9622 • 605 Airport Road, West Chester, PA 19380 a branch of the YMCA of Greater Brandywine



Robert Layman (2014, ©Andrew Hutchins)

But the work ethic extends to employees, too. “They see my mom in here giving 110 percent, and she’s 68. She keeps the place immaculate. She cares about it like it’s her own. So does everyone. And they’re a great example for other employees.”


For Artistic Eyewear owner Robert Layman, there’s a reason customers get the best service from family businesses. “When you come in, you’re being treated as part of the family, because you’re coming into the family.” Robert’s mother started the original store in Israel 30 years ago, adding Doylestown when she came to the United States. When she was ready to retire a decade ago, Robert took over the business in Doylestown, and five years later opened the West Chester location. Today, cousins help out at both locations, and his sister still runs the store in Israel. Customers make their way to Artistic Eyewear from all over Pennsylvania and beyond. “I send frames to Europe and all over the world,” he said. “Somebody will see a person on the subway in New York

City, and they’ll stop that person and ask where they got their glasses. Then they’ll come in one day and say ‘I saw these on somebody,’ and they end up becoming part of the family.” And family means socializing. “This weekend, four different longtime customers came in, and we ended up ordering pizzas. It became kind of a communal day, with everyone giving their opinion on what looked good or what didn’t.” “We get to sit and enjoy our clients’ company, and hopefully they enjoy ours,” Robert continued. “We can put a smile on somebody’s face and help them feel confident in a new look. That makes us all happy, and we enjoy doing it.”


Styling hair is an art, and like all artists, if you want to make it, you need to have passion. Frank Gruber has had that passion since day one, opening his first salon, Klip Joint, in 1978 at the age of 23. But, one business wasn’t enough for Frank. “After finding success at Kilp Joint, I opened Avanté Salon & Spa in 1991,” Frank says.

It wasn’t until a decade later that the next generation of Grubers joined the family business. “It was probably around 2000 when my daughter Amanda started working for me,” he remembers. “She started out doing some tracking for us and worked her way up to receptionist and front desk coordinator.” She even played a role in opening the family’s third salon, designing the front desk when Avanté launched in Main Street at Exton. Although Amanda chose not to stick with the family business, Frank’s sons Shane and Kevin followed in his footsteps. “Shane studied and is now a barber, and Kevin is the front desk administrator,” Frank says. “They’ll be taking over for me eventually.” Frank believes that continuity is good for everyone. “It brings stability for the customers and for the staff,” Frank says. “And, for me? I get to talk to my kids every day.”


Since 1993, Brandywine Valley HVAC has been providing their customers with consistency, excellent customer service, and a 100% guarantee. It all started when





owner Bill Romayne, who’d worked in the industry since 1974, couldn’t shake the desire to start his own business. Today Bill runs the business alongside his brother Mark and his son Dylan. Relying almost entirely on word-ofmouth, Bill says their marketing approach relies on active community involvement in non-profits, local businesses, and trade organizations. “I really like talking to people and helping them,” Bill says. “West Chester’s a great area and our family is a product of it.”


In 1999, Mike and Nancy McGovern bought Burrito Loco. Continuing with the previous owners vision, the husband and wife team serve freshly made Mexican food to the West Chester community. Over the years they’ve made great connections, and with their location bordering the university’s campus, they’re a staple of the WCU student diet. Knowing that, as a family-owned business they’re competing with corporations, Burrito Loco focus on quality. “Mike makes everything fresh, every day,” says Nancy. Nancy and Mike love watching their customers grow up and start their own families, seeing former students become community members. “It’s fun to know someone as a freshman and see them come in after they graduate,” Nancy said. “We’re really grateful to have our student and community base.”


First thing’s first: Glenn Lewis would like everyone to know that the “Family Owned” theme for this issue was his idea. (He’s right. And it’s a GREAT idea.) “That’s what business is really about, after all—like the old family-owned hardware store,” said Glenn. “When you go in there, you know you’re going to get the right object, there’s no lying or cheating, and you’re gonna get treated nice.” Glenn’s Dad Gordie started Lewis Automotive back in 1964, and Glenn remembers being five or six and hanging out at the garage. “They have pictures of me sitting on the floor,” he recalled. “My

Glenn Lewis (©Sabina Sister)

Dad would give me these carburetors and some tools to play with, and I’d pretend I was working on them.” When he was a few years older, Glenn liked to roll around the garage on the creeper, an activity his own son would discover decades later. In 2000, Gordie retired and Glenn took over. He loves being his own boss. “You answer to yourself. Everyday, when you get up, you have to make sure things happen, because you’re the last stop.” A sense of accomplishment is one of Glenn’s favorite parts of the job. “When you go home at the end of the day, you

think about that car that came in broken, but left running. And you fixed it. It makes you feel good.” Great service is essential in Glenn’s business. “When I’m talking to a customer, I pretend I’m on the other side of that counter. The customer is our boss.”


When Glenn and Kristin D’Ascenzo first tasted the gelato in Gelateria Monteforte Sas di Monteforte Giuseppina in Rome back in 1999, they knew they wanted





The DeBaptiste Family (©Sabina Sister)

to bring the same delicious, sweet, and creamy flavors back home. So, in 2004, they officially began serving customers at a farmer’s market and local fairs in the Chestnut Hill area. In April of 2011, the D’Ascenzo’s opened their brick-and-mortar location in West Chester where they work side-byside making cool confections using only high-quality, all-natural ingredients with no artificial preservatives.


The DeBaptiste name is a well-known one in West Chester, and that’s important to the family members who work in the family funeral home business. Presently those family members include

three generations: founder (and former West Chester mayor) Dr. Clifford DeBaptiste—who started it with his late wife, Inez, in 1954—their daughter Lillian, and her niece, Elizabeth. The family business expanded in 2008 to include a reception center, Milestone Events, where family members and friends can gather for a reception before or after a service.

“Sometimes we view our parents forever through the eyes of a child; working with my parents gave me a more 360-degree view of them.” According to Lillian, one of the most profound things about working with family was learning to view her parents as people, and not just as parents. “Sometimes we

view our parents forever through the eyes of a child; working with my parents gave me a more 360-degree view of them.” Her dad makes it easy, Lillian said. “Ahead of his time, he has great regard for women in business. My mom was a teacher for 20 years and remarked once that if he passed away first she wouldn’t know what to do. He said ‘Okay, you’re going to mortuary science school.’ It was important to him to empower her. So at age 50, she went back to school, and I didn’t realize the profoundness of that at the time. Seeing my mother as a student at the same time I was one, and she was graduating with honors while I was struggling to keep up…well.” As for her father, Lillian said, “Dad is 93 and is still hands-on and taking no prisoners. It’s a privilege to continue building on the legacy of this business.”




Something Old, Something New, Borrowed or Blue The perfect gift for the Bride could be in your jewelry box already! Sunset Hill Jewelers will clean, restore or redesign your family heirloom. 23 N. High Street, West Chester, PA • 610.692.0374



Polly & Holly (©Sabina Sister)


Some enterprises are born out of inspiration, others out of necessity. As Demetrios “Meme” Stavropoulos tells us, DeStarr’s is most certainly the latter. “My uncle got sick in 1957, so I had a choice.” he says. “I could work for him or get drafted in the army.” The choice was obvious.

“The dream had been percolating for a long time,” according to Kaly’s owner Polly Zobel. Looking to leave the corporate world, Polly’s mother Holly decided to open a women’s boutique in downtown West Chester. She pitched it to Polly, a then 20-year-old college student, and Kaly opened its doors in 1988.

His uncle was George DeStarr who had opened The Gay Grill in West Chester 21 years prior. Demetrios and his brother, Vasilios “Bill” Stavropoulos worked at The Gay Grill for years, until they bought and remodeled the building in 1974, reopening in 1975 as DeStarr’s Restaurant in their uncle’s honor.

“There’s a leap of faith in opening a business,” said Polly. “Sure, my Mom had owned two stores over the years, but I remember thinking ‘this is crazy.’”

“George really cared about West Chester; he was always donating to the fire and police departments,” Demetrios says. “It made sense to take it over in West Chester.”They’ve been selling Greek and American cuisine here ever since.


The journey’s had twists and turns, with Polly bowing out of the business for more than a decade. “Most family businesses fail because there are no boundaries,” she said. “I had to choose between the relationship and the business. It’s easy to take things too personally, and you can’t do that. If somebody criticizes a decision, you have to realize that it’s just business.” When Holly retired five years ago, Polly decided to buy Kaly, and the transition was

smooth. “It reenergized my Mom to see that her business was going to live on, and it energized me because it made me think about taking it into the next phase. Putting that plan in place together was really special. And I still see some of the customers I met when we first opened, and meet their kids and grandkids,” Polly told us. “I think that’s what local business is all about.”

“It reenergized my Mom to see that her business was going to live on, and it energized me because it made me think about taking it into the next phase.” And there’s the possibility of a third generation in the offing, too. Polly’s daughter Nina, age 13, helped in the store last summer, but Polly doesn’t have any expectations. “She loves art, fashion, photography, writing, so she’s going in that direction, but I don’t push it. I just keep the door wide open.”





Senior & Junior (©Sabina Sister)

BRANDYWINE WATER SYSTEMS Though Brandywine Water Systems has been fulfilling the county’s water filtration needs since 1980, the origins of this family-owned business can be traced back to the ‘60s. That’s when Bill McIlvaine’s barn burned down, and he knew he had to find another line of work, so he started a pump and filtration business.

Matt officially took took the reins from his father when Bob passed away in May 2007.


According to Winston Churchill, a pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist see the opportunity in every difficulty. By that rationale, Alby and Abby Kelly were most certainly optimists.

The second generation entered the business when Bill’s son-in-law, Bob Smith, saw his own business suffer the same fate as Bill’s farm. The fire at his fibreglass shop convinced Bob to spend the next several years learning from his father-in-law before he incorporated as Brandywine Water Systems.

As parents, they’d become frustrated that there was nowhere to get sports gear for their kids. “They’d have to go to Philly for field hockey and lacrosse equipment,” says their grandson Steve Kelly, Jr. “They saw the opportunity and jumped on it.” Kelly’s Sports opened in Parkway Shopping Center in 1972.

Matt Smith represents the third generation. Knowing the esteem his family placed on running the business, Matt moved home to maintain BWS when his father was diagnosed with cancer. “I think there’s a value in the relationships we’ve built with our clients,” Matt says. “We take a lot of pride in our legacy.”

“As in any family-run business, family members all do a little bit of everything,” says Steve. And at a business like Kelly’s, there’s a lot to do. Today Steve runs their online sales, but he’s also been involved in HR and accounting, delivery and retail, and—dating back to when he was very young—catching and folding cus-

tom-printed shirts for local schools and organizations in the Kelly’s print shop. All the while, his father—also Steve— impressed upon him the importance of customer service and community, an ethos illustrated to Steve by one of their customers. Shopping with his son one day, a customer told Steve about being a young boy, unable to afford a baseball glove, and how Alby simply gave it to him. “That boy grew up, and he’s been a customer of ours ever since,” says Steve. “That says something.”

GEMELLI It’s not much of a stretch to say that Gelato is Vincenzo Tettamanti’s birthright. “Being from Italy, when I moved here, it’s been a challenge to find the foods I was used to at home,” he says. “And so, I cooked: pasta, pizzas, and of course, desserts.” This passion for the food of his homeland eventually blossomed into a business. “I knew I wanted to open something, but I also knew I wanted it to be a bit more





Three generations at DARE (©Sabina Sister)

manageable than a restaurant,” Vincenzo says. “Gelato is something I grew up with, and it’s something I could make more artisanally than your standard American dessert.” And so Gemelli was born. Although she designed and maintained the Gemelli brand, Vincenzo’s wife Julianne — the American woman for whom he’d traversed the Atlantic — stuck to her marketing and design career when they first launched. As business grew, so too did the responsibilities, until the point that Gemelli also required her undivided attention. “We have a solid relationship,” she says of working with her husband. “I trust and love him; he trusts and loves me. We each know that the decisions we make will always be to see each other succeed.” Vincenzo agrees. “We have different skills and different strengths,” he says, “and we can leverage each other to build a better business.” The only difficulty of working together? “It has to be work-life balance,” Julianne says with a laugh. “When we go home, we still talk about gelato.”


retired five years ago, confident his business was in good hands.

There’s a recurring theme to these stories: a new business grows slowly until the founder of the business needs extra help. He/she hires a child to lend a hand, and the business takes off.

As much as he jokes, Jonathan says a lot of credit for that growth goes to his sister, Laura, who joined the family business in 1998. “My brother had never taken a vacation since working here,” says Laura. “So, when he got married, my dad told me to come in and answer the phones while he went on his honeymoon.” She now works six days a week, and Jonathan refers to her as “a title company in and of herself.”

As Jonathan Aloisio of DARE Auto tells it, that’s exactly how it happened... and then some. “This business was built on my back!” he jokes, while his sister Laura laughs in the background. “They’re all just riding my coattails!” Jonathan started at DARE, the business launched by his father Dave in 1976, full-time after high school, although he’d been working summers since 1985. It had grown from a single bay and one technician, to three bays and three technicians. “It was still a very small shop when I joined,” Jonathan says, “Just my dad, me and one other guy.” Business has since boomed. Today they boast eight bays, seven full-time technicians, and four administrative staff, who oversee their automotive repair, used auto sales and detailing enterprises. Dave

With a third generation working at DARE, Jonathan’s sons JT and Christopher, the family sees no sign of business slowing. “Having family you trust lets your business grow, because you can rely on them,” says Jonathan. “It’s hard not to suceed when you know that the people next to you will do anything for you.”


Four generations in, a Gadaleto remains at the helm of Gadaleto’s Seafood. That man is Andy Gadaleto, who spent years working under his uncle Steve, who in turn





The Greco Boys (©Sabina Sister)

had learned from Andy’s grandfather and greatgrandfather, Angelo and Ignatius, who trace the family business back to its founding in 1945 in upstate New York. The business has been housed in a handful of locations over the years, but today you’ll find them in Westtown Village Shopping Center. Tapping into the relationships his family’s forged through generations, Andy’s often on the road, sourcing fresh seafood from throughout the region, which you can snag from their local market at incredibly reasonable prices.


When Leonard Giunta noticed a lack of convenient furniture stores nearby, he opened the first Giunta’s Furniture in 2010 in the Exton Area. As the years passed, Leonard knew West Chester could also benefit, so Giunta’s Furniture opened in Gay Street Plaza in 2015. Jenna Forte, Leonard’s daughter, manages the West Chester location. “There were no furniture stores in West Chester,” she says. “Since my father owns Gay Street

Plaza, too, we knew we could fix that.” Jenna knows her customers are grateful for their combined family efforts to offer unique and tasteful furniture. “I think that it’s a lot more personable, and you get to know your customers,” she says. “They appreciate that.”

“We’ve even got three generations of the Camacho family working in the kitchen!”


Kerry Greco, owner of Market Street Grill, had been in the restaurant industry for his entire life, working for other people, biding his time for the right opportunity to launch his own business. When that opportunity came, it made perfect sense to launch a breakfast and lunch restaurant. After all, prior to the failing Mexican restaurant Kerry bought on Market Street, their location was a breakfast restaurant, Mr Sandwich, that successfully served breakfast and lunch for

years. But, more importantly, he wanted to put family first. “I wanted to serve breakfast and lunch so I could be home at night with my kids,” Kerry says. One of those kids, Kerry’s son Christian, has been working for is dad since his teenage years, but it wasn’t until after college that Christian really understood how much he loved the family business. “I graduated and tried a corporate job,” Christian says. “I quickly realized a cubicle wasn’t for me. Inevitably, I wanted to be involved with the restaurant.” Kerry was excited when his son chose to follow in his footsteps. “When he came on board, it was awesome,” he says. “I felt comfortable with him running the show here, so I could focus on building our second location in Downingtown.” Christian won’t be the last Greco to join the business — his brother Dominic is in the wings — nor was he the first. “People’d always ask me, ‘Who’s that old lady out front?’” remembers Kerry. “Well, it was my mom — she was with us from day one.” Joan Greco became like a mother to everyone who worked at Mar-





ket Street Grill, and even to many regular customers. “She’s the one that made it a family place,” Kerry says.

seeing people’s faces when they would see a piece of jewelry, and hearing their stories—it changed my mind.”

To the regulars who stop by for meals as often as seven days a week, to the staff — many of whom have been there for years — that family feel is tangible. Kerry laughs and says, “We’ve even got three generations of the Camacho family working in the kitchen!”

Like other family businesses, Evan cites getting along as a potential source of friction. “We all have strong opinions. We all have an idea about how things should be done. When those ideas don’t line up, it can be tough to navigate that.”


The resolution? “My Dad’s the boss,” he laughs. “Always. Then my Mom. And then me.”

As a child, Evan Kaplan remembers being in the family’s jewelry store after hours, waiting around for parents Lisa and Ivan to finish up for the day. “My Dad would come over and show me the pieces he was working on. It was neat seeing the things he’d made, knowing that they were going to people who would be creating memories with them.”

Being a family business lets the Kaplans focus on what’s important. “We know our customers. They’ve become part of our family over the years,” Evan told us. “If there is ever an issue, we go out of our way to fix it. There are no rules or corporate policies to follow. Being family-based gives us the flexibility to make sure every customer is happy.”

Today, the third-generation Kaplan is part of the business, but that wasn’t always the plan. “I always thought I didn’t want to do it, because my parents worked too hard,” he said. “As I grew up and started helping around the shop, though,


This iconic upscale women’s clothing shop has been a West Chester fixture since 1933, and Patrick Comerford’s fam-

The Kaplans (©Sabina Sister)

ily has owned it since 1955. Although he has a freelance career as a cameraman, Patrick joined his parents after college in running the boutique, and he and his wife Kiki started running it themselves once his parents stepped back from the business. Together, the duo have worked to keep the storied establishment on trend, with an emphasis on personalized service. Kiki gave up teaching to work with the sales team on the shop floor, and she joins Patrick on his buying trips. She told us, “Once we get there, we kind of separate while he goes looking for new things, and I am pounding the pavement.” Patrick’s responsibilities also include the bookkeeping and advertising for the store. When we asked Kiki what the secret is to successfully working with one’s spouse, she said, “I think, with us, it’s because we’re both fairly easygoing, and we are respectful of each other’s time.” And just because they work in the same place doesn’t mean they’re walking up each other’s heels. “When we’re at work, I’m in the shop and he’s upstairs in the office. It works.” ...continued on page 39





Near and Far

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

A few years back, we decided to do a complete office remodel. We had been living in 1987 cubicle world and suffered from almost 30 years of clutter that had found its way into every drawer, filing cabinet and brochure box. Knowing that I had to get the clutter under control before renovating, I asked around for the recommendation of a professional organizer and Carrie Kauffman—of Carrie’s Essential Services—came highly recommended. Carrie came out a few days later and performed a thorough organization analysis, and she gave us some tips and homework to prepare for her return. Over the course of a week and a half, Carrie met with team members to declutter work areas and develop individual systems that would help us maintain after she was done. Simple things like using a label maker instead of handwriting file tabs, color coding brochure and reference materials into groups, labeling storage shelves so that things would be put away properly, as well as actually embracing a junk drawer, all went a long way toward creating order in what seemed to be a downward spiral of chaos. Carrie came prepared to dig right in. Between brochure recycling and document shredding, I estimate that we got rid of at least a ton of clutter. Some of the vintage maps and airline plates we unearthed were a testament to our history in the travel business. A few weeks later, Carrie did an unannounced check-in to make sure we were maintaining all that she taught us. As the building breathed a sigh of relief from the reduction of stuff straining its old bones, we had Mac Neilon from Penn Office Products analyze our space to design a work system that would help us grow and represent our business in the best way possible. Local painters and carpet installers came in before Penn Office Products delivered our new furniture. After all was said and done, it felt like walking into a new job with a fresh start. Something as simple as organization and a fresh environment was what we needed to take our business to the next level, all with the help of some local professionals that are experts in their fields. Organization isn’t just important for our daily lives. It is essential in travel as well. Gone are the days of traveling with a few papers, maps and vouchers. Exceptional and immersive travel experiences don’t come in a one-size-fits-all packages. People are looking for unique experiences, immersive itineraries and truly customized travel plans. They want flights, transfers, trains, multiple hotels, and mix of private and small-group touring, reservations at nearly impossible to secure restaurants, tee times, spa appointments... the list goes on and on. An unorganized trip can mean missed reservations and lost money. One mishap can cause a domino effect and ruin what could have been the trip of a lifetime. Yes, it might have been possible for us to try and Fixer Upper the office on our own, but I’m confident that, with so much invested, turning to the professionals was the right idea. Why should your travel experience be any different? —





Employee of the Month

PHOTO Sabina Sister INTERVIEW Skye McDonald

Goshen Terrace Apartments' Brent Sunderland discusses the importance of personal and company values So, what's the job of a service manager? I direct the maintenance technicians. We take care of apartments for new residents and typical maintenance. I also solicit bids from contractors for major repairs, order materials and schedule contractors. Additionally, I make sure everything runs smoothly and try to answer all service requests within 24 hours. How did you get started? I took a vocational aptitude test in high school and scored very high. In 1975, I worked at Westgate Village Apartments in Frazer in landscape and maintenance, but I’ve been with Berger since 1985.

How have you seen Berger change throughout the years? Before Berger it was a property on the decline, but brothers Steve and Jim Berger bought it and the change was practically overnight. When I started working at Berger, I was a technician, then a superintendent. Now, I’ve been a service manager since 2012, and Steve’s son, Dan, runs the company. How has your role changed over time? I make a lot of follow-up calls to make sure customers are happy with the work that's done. It matters to me because I like to help people. There’s nothing more rewarding than being able to make someone’s life better every day. Everyone in the Berger family is customer-centric and everyone on staff treats each other as equals. Is that what differentiates Berger from its competitors? We also have our “21 Fundamentals" guidelines, which centers around trying to lead a positive life, treat people well, and deliver high-quality services. Some are easy; Fundamental Number 1: We’re a Family. That’s definitely true. Others are harder; Number 16: We Embrace Change. That’s the toughest one for me, but after I get used to change, I do learn to appreciate it.

So, these rules don’t just apply to Berger, but they apply to how you should act as a human being? Yes, this is life as we intend to live it. We can certainly improve our days with these rules. Why do you think having a sense of family is essential to Berger? Everyone is treated well. Like, when my car was stolen several years back, Dan let me borrow the company truck until I had the means to find other transportation. Do you think your job impacts your life outside of work? It crosses over. I live my life and my job equally. I care about my work, both at home and on the job. I don’t know that there is any difference. Have you learned any poignant lessons in your time here? I find that if you treat people well—personally and professionally—that impacts everything. Wave at the mailman when he comes by; if you’re having a bad day, don’t show it—you don’t need to have a negative effect on someone else. If you look at everything positively, you’ll have positive results. In the end, I'm confident this attitude benefits our residents, because we always have the customers in mind.






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


In Pennsylvania, March is the cruelest of months. The saying is that it comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb, but this only holds up if you figure snow is white, like lamb’s wool. Expectation is the mother of disappointment, so let’s just go ahead and consider March a winter month. In that case, bring on the baked French toast. This recipe is not healthy, but it’s a worth-it splurge. Make up for it with this delicious, light anti-casserole casserole for dinner and consider the day a draw. – Simple Baked French Toast makes 9x13 2 tbsp. light corn syrup 1 loaf Pepperidge Farm Cinna1 c. light brown sugar, packed mon Swirl Bread 1 stick butter, melted 1 2/3 c. milk 1/2 tsp. salt, divided 1 tsp. vanilla 6 large eggs

1. In the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish, whisk corn syrup,

brown sugar, melted butter and 1/4 tsp. salt until combined. Spread evenly across the bottom of the pan. 2. Layer bread slices into pan, as shown. 3. Whisk eggs, milk, vanilla and remaining salt until combined. Pour over bread. Cover with foil and place in the fridge overnight. 4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake, covered, for 25 minutes and then remove foil; continue to bake for 20 more minutes. Let sit five minutes, cut into squares and serve, with additional maple syrup if desired. Chicken, Quinoa and Cashew Casserole serves 4 1 c. quinoa, rinsed 1 tsp. Sriracha, or more to taste 1 white onion, diced 1 c. water 2 bell peppers, diced 1 tbsp. minced fresh ginger 4 raw chicken breasts, cut into 1 tbsp. minced garlic bite sized pieces 1 c. toasted cashews 1/3 c. hoisin sauce 1/3 c. sliced scallions 2 tbsp. soy or Tamari sauce

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9x13 or 8x11 inch bak-

ing dish with nonstick spray. 2. Spread quinoa in bottom of the dish. Top with onions, then bell peppers. 3. Top with chicken, then sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper. 4. Mix hoisin, soy/tamari, sriracha, water, ginger and garlic until blended. Pour evenly over chicken. 5. Bake uncovered for 45 minutes. Sprinkle cashews over the top and bake for another 10 minutes. Remove and top with scallions; serve.





The Lamonts (©Sabina Sister)

...continued from page 31

KILDARE’S “The Irish Pub has always been a part of my life,” says Dane Gray. “It’s something I’ve always enjoyed, especially after five years living in Ireland.” Dane worked with the Kildare’s franchise for the Dave Magrogan Group for 12 years before the opportunity to own the brand’s flagship location presented itself. “I was running as many as seven Kildare’s in four states at one point,” Dane says. “If anything, owning this location makes things a little easier—I only have to worry about one restaurant.” For the parts of the business Dane didn’t quite understand, he was able to rely on his wife, Stephanie, a trained graduate of the Culinary Institute of America with years of experience in the field. “She runs the kitchen and handles the bookkeeping, and I do everything else,” Dane says. Dane thinks the family feel has been great for business. “We love having our kids here during the day,” he says. “Cus-

tomers talk to our kids, bring in their whole families. It’s really become a family establishment.” But, the benefit extends beyond the business. “When things are going well, it’s rewarding to share that with your family,” Dane says. “And, bringing the kids up, they see how hard we work, and that’ll benefit them in the long run.”


If you’ve enjoyed a cup of coffee at the DK Diner in the past 40 years, you can thank the Lamont family. For four generations, they’ve supplied area restaurants and businesses with their signature blends and personalized service. Co-owner Jim Lamont joined the business when Brazil’s Black Frost caused prices to skyrocket, nearly putting Lamont Coffee out of business in the 1970s. “My Dad had to lay off his two workers, so I came to work for free,” Jim said. For Joe Lamont (Jim’s brother and co-owner), the decision to join the com-

pany took a bit more time. “After high school, I worked odd jobs in the restaurant industry and at a hospital, all of which had pretty crazy hours. That grew old quick.” When his Dad approached him about coming on board, a job with regular hours was a welcome opportunity. Jim likens working with family members to being on a sports team. “If you play a sport, work is like ‘game time’ once the puck has been dropped,” he told us. “Off the field, you’re back to being friends.” Today, Jim’s and Joe’s sons have joined the team. “It’s something they’ve all wanted to get involved with,” said Joe. “Coffee is like wine now. Millennials are into it, and it’s the hip thing.” Even non family members might as well be family members, according to Joe. “A guy who’s worked here for 37 years—people always think his last name is Lamont.” Customer focus has set them apart since the beginning. “We go out and visit our customers,” said Joe. “And lots of them will say, ‘Wow, you guys really





Dan & Christy (©Sabina Sister)

came to see us. We never see other owners.’ It means a lot, and that really hits home.”


While MaryLou Enoches is (mostly) retired after nearly 50 years in cosmetology and spends her with husband Jack and grandkids Aidan and Devan Rose, La Difference Salon and Spa is run by her daughter and son-in-law, Christy and Dan Cosgrove. “He’s the brains, I’m the heart,” Christy said. “Christy’s passion for helping her guests feel their very best is a wonderful trait handed down from her mother,” Dan said. Indeed, Christy’s behind her chair four days a week, teaches color theory and salon professional development with L’Oreal Professional USA, and lends her 23-plus years of salon experience to representing Dyson Supersonic Hairdryer on QVC. As for Dan, he does everything else, working closely with their award winning team, overseeing and developing

the company’s day-to-day operations. “Ten years ago, our biggest challenge was to be clear with our team on who’s ‘the boss,’” Dan said. “With their help, we’ve learned to clearly define our roles and responsibilities to ensure a cohesive work The Mingrinos (©Amy Tucker) environment.” Today, the challenge is downtime from the business. “We set a time limit the get-go. His brother Paul got his first on talking about work at home. executive chef experience there, after And the upside? “Mutual pride in this graduating from culinary school, and his business. We love what we do and the cousin Lisa was the GM. Although Frank guests we serve, and we’re grateful for was younger, he and his sister Dina still the trust MaryLou has placed in us as we had their responsibilities. “I waited tables guide La Difference into its second gen- there while I was at restaurant school, and my sister would hostess,” he says. eration.”


Frank Mingrino was always fated to run a restaurant. “My mother and her sister opened up Porta Rosa, our family’s first restaurant, in Havertown in 1996,” he remembers. It was a family affair from

But, there’s only so much room for growth in a family-owned restaurant, and when Frank graduated from school, he knew he wanted to expand the family business. “We came to West Chester in 2006, and we fell in love with this town,” he says. “The foot traffic, the ambiance, the patio dining — we knew it was perfect.”





The family feeling extends to their employees, who routinely comment on it when interviewed for this magazine. Patrick Barrenchea, when nominated for Bartender of the Month in our November 2016 issue, said, “Everyone who comes to work here becomes part of the Limoncello family.” Of course, having so many family members working together has its ups and downs. “I think everyone in my family, we have a passion for this,” Frank says. “We have our differences, and we butt heads, but at the end of the day, we always make peace — we’re family.”

H. ROSE BOUTIQUE Although this April marks the second anniversary for H. Rose Boutique, Rachel Becker and her mother Mariann Godwin have seven years together as a business team. “We started with a wholesale women’s clothing line,” Rachel told us, “and that branched into children’s clothing before we opened up the boutique in West Chester.” “I grew up surrounded by family entrepreneurship, so it became second nature to me, and I never doubted for a second that joining forces with my Mom wouldn’t lead to success,” she said. “H. Rose is genuinely a three-generation boutique. It has always been inspired by my own daughter Harper Rose, who is now four years old and frequently rocks our apparel and sits behind the counter with me entertaining customers with her pigtails and giggles.” Managing the dynamics of family and business takes a plan, and Rachel and Mariann have one. “From the beginning, we decided to create a time in the night where we shut off from work and just be ourselves—just Rachel, Mariann and Harper, as mother, daughter, and grandmother,” she said. “We have created an entirely different relationship on top of our mother-daughter relationship where we are able to conduct business and respect each other outside of our everyday bond.” She acknowledges the reality of being a small business owner means that there’s never really an end to the workday. “But we never complain, because we love what we have created. We are a team, we are a family, and we love every second of it!”

Carol & Michael Thiel (©Amy Tucker)


Few businesses embody the American Dream quite as clearly as Peter’s. “My grandmom was a hairdresser and my grandfather a barber in Yugoslavia. They moved to Philadelphia and started a barber shop.” says Michael Thiel, who now runs the day-to-day operations of the family business launched by his grandparents’ efforts. “We actually still own that barbershop today.”

The next generation wanted to expand the family business. “My dad, Peter, took over a salon from a business partner back in 1962,” Michael says. “That’s where Peter’s started, just my mom and my dad.” Michael remembers the Miss Pennsylvania Pageant, which used to be held at West Chester College, putting their business on the map. The pageant’s organizers contacted several salons, looking for someone to style the contestants. “My dad said, ‘We’ll do the contestants’





Chad Weldon (©Sabina Sister)

hair, and we’ll do their chaperones’ hair, and we’ll do it all for free,’” says Michael. “That established our name.”

the Baco name. But, they still offer the same fresh fair with a focus on healthy eating.

As Peter’s children joined the business — Michael’s sisters Carol, Tina, Suzi and Karin are all involved with the business today, as well as his wife Carol — he groomed them for success. All five kids tell the same story: their parents made them work harder than anyone else. “They didn’t want to show favoritism,” says Michael. “We had to go above and beyond.”

“We were in the pizza industries all of our lives, but my dad, Albert, just wanted to serve trendy and healthy food, and it’s grown into a really popular business” says Sophie DelVescovo, one of children who work in the family business. “It’s so special to work with your family and be around your close friends all the time,” she says.

That upbringing instilled them with a sense of pride in the family enterprise. “Everyone is involved and invested— nobody wants to lose the legacy,” says Michael. “You put so much more into it because it has that much more meaning.”


Originally launched by Albert and Kim DelVescovo four years ago as Baco Juice & Taco Bar, Jaco has since been renamed due to some competition for


When Jerie Weldon agreed to bake cakes for her husband’s company in 1970, she had no idea she was starting a family business that would span generations. Founded in Boothwyn, Pa, The Master’s Baker also operated out of Exton before settling their staff of eight pastry chefs, three designers, and one sculptor into their current West Chester location. Now in its 49th year, Jerie’s son Chad Weldon is proud of how far The Mas-

ter’s Baker has come, although he was initially hesitant to join the family business. “I worked with my family until I left for college,” Chad says. “I became a landscape architect in New York City for 10 years, but when my parents wanted to retire, I took it over. I think I needed that 10-year break to truly realize my love for this business.” The experience has been incredibly rewarding. “You’re always battling corporate chains, but we’re a second-generation, specialty, niche business, and everyone knows that,” Chad says. “My parents built the foundation and there’s a lot of pride that goes into this.” “We always tell our customers what goes into our cakes,” he says. “Whereas, if we were a corporate chain, you just wouldn’t know.” That means options for gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan cakes. The Master’s Baker’s cakes are just so beautiful, it can be hard to justify eating them, but Chad says that’s part of the experience. “Cake is an art,” he says. “We want every cake we send out to be a masterpiece.”





The Hazleys (©Sabina Sister)


If you’re looking for a family-run contracting business with the emphasis on the “family” part, you need look no further than Hazley Builders. One father plus five sons equals a full-service team that is truly hands on. “There are seven kids, total, two sisters who live and work in West Chester, and one brother who is a senior at WCU,” one of those sons told us—Chris Hazley, to be specific, who runs the company’s business development and is also their Service Director. Hazley Builders handle everything from carpentry to plumbing, from new construction to remodeling, so all of those hands are very busy. Father and founder Mike Hazley established the business in 2000, “But our Dad started building homes in West Chester in the 80s,” Chris told us. The family have a combined 60 years of experience between them. When asked about the pluses and minuses associated with working with family, Chris’ answer was the same for both: constructive criticism. With family,

“It’s easier to be on the receiving end of constructive criticism. You’re family, so you know they have your best interest in mind.” The tricky part though, says Chris, is, “Telling your brother that he has a dumb idea, but in a positive way.” With a family-run business, he adds, “There’s a higher level of accountability. At the end of the day, it’s your name that’s associated with the service or product, so there’s always motivation to exceed expectations.”


A newcomer to the WC culinary scene, Miss Winnie’s opened this past October and is already making its mark on the borough with its delectable Caribbean cuisine. It’s run by owner/operators and father/son team, Bertie and Nick Johnston. “We named it after my grandmother, my dad’s mother, who passed in 2014,” Nick told us. “She was a lady of the community and took care of everyone, which is what we want to continue and carry on.”

Bertie left the corporate grind for the restaurant scene. There have been some hurdles, but working with family isn’t one of them. “We avoid a lot of those challenges, believe it or not,” Nick said. “My dad and I have always been on the same wavelength. But if I had to name one, it was getting past being father and son and getting used to being business partners. But we’re trucking along.” As for the bonuses of family member as colleague? “Being able to spend valuable time with a loved one,” Nick said. “And sharing the experience of building something special in memory of a great person.”


Michael Wolff always had a deep, intellectual curiosity for the human body, and he honed that curiosity in his travels across the country assisting Dr. Joe Muscolino in his Clinical Orthopedic Manual Therapy workshops. He took that accumulated knowledge and applied it to a career as a masseuse, founding Optimal Massage 16 years ago.





And since his wife Kim joined him in 2005, they’ve merged their talents to build a massage therapy and life-coaching business to help locals forge healthy bodies and minds. “I think Michael and I work well together because we bring different talents to the table,” Kim explains. “And because we’re small and family owned, we have our clients’ best interests at heart.” “I’ve always enjoyed helping people, and healing everyone, from the insideout,” Kim says.

KRAPF’S With seven family owners, it’s safe to assume that the Krapf family knows how to work together. “We act as a board and also as shareholders. You could give yourself so many titles, really. The bottom line is that we’ve all got enough to do, so we’re not walking on each other,” said third generation co-owner Gary Krapf. He is quick to point out that everyone is family at Krapf’s, though. “To celebrate our 75th anniversary this past year, we

had a big family picnic at Brandywine Picnic Park. In the past, we’ve had roller skating parties and bowling parties, and company jackets. We celebrate the good times.” Growing up, Gary and his brothers spent summers cleaning and maintaining mechanical equipment in the shop, and while they always knew the opportunity was there, they weren’t necessarily expected to join the company full time. But join he did, right after college, starting in the Krapf Transportation division, which is the commercial side of the company (or “everything ‘not yellow,’” Gary noted). “Everyone starts in one area, and then you learn all the areas from the ground up.” With four generations currently working, “There are a lot of mouths to feed,” he said. “We’ll continue to grow, as long as we can attract good employees. Drivers are both our biggest investment and our greatest need.” Communication and autonomous driving technologies promise to keep things interesting for years to come.

“Whether personal or workrelated, there’s nothing we’re worried about discussing”


Some companies start in garages, others start in parents’ kitchens. At least that’s the case for Peloton Cold Brew, the local coffee company formed by brothers Adam and Dave Jones. Starting from humble roots on Marshall Street, the brothers have grown their business into an operation with a dedicated 1,500sqft production facility and distribution in nine states, from Georgia to Ohio, the Carolinas to Kentucky. Adam and Dave are the heart and soul of Peloton, working side-by-side every day. “As brothers, there’s a level of trust other partnerships lack,” says Adam. “Whether personal or work-related, there’s nothing we’re worried about discussing.” Dave shares the sentiment. “It’s rewarding to work with family,” he says. “It has its ups and downs, but to be as close as we are—to work together every day—we couldn’t have been given a better gift.”





The Pietro’s Team (©Amy Tucker)

Giunta’s added a cafe area to their store, they recruited chef Sean away from several high-end country clubs. Marisa later joined the store full-time in 2001 and married Sean a year later.


It used to be that every town had a local grocer, and here, from 1927 through the end of the century, that store was Giunta’s. Sadly, new development and competition from national corporations forced Giunta’s to close in 2006, but from this setback emerged another West Chester institution: Pietro’s Prime. Marisa Giunta was working in West Chester when she met Sean Powell at Jitters. The two started dating, and when

But, in 2004, when leasing concerns presented for the building, they started to consider other options. “Sean was like, ‘We should do a restaurant,’” says Marisa… she was less convinced. But, the idea struck a chord, so Marisa worked to learn the restaurant business, and when Murray’s went up for sale on Market Street in 2007, they made their move. Although Sean and Marisa now live separate lives, they remain partners and friends—Sean runs the kitchen, Marisa handles the rest. Marisa’s parents are

The Rothwells (©Amy Tucker)

involved, too: Nina makes the desserts, and Frank hosts on Mondays. You’ll often bump into Frank, Nina or Marisa when you drop by (Sean will be sweating back in the kitchen), and it’s this family feel that’s always made Pietro’s so appealing—it’s fine dining, without the pretension.


After World War II, John P. Rothwell Sr. worked at Remington Rand Typewriter Company in Philadelphia, selling and servicing typewriters. By 1947 he’d found the desire to set out on his own, with a vision for West Chester to have a local service option. Kevin Rothwell recounts the story of how his grandfather got started. “He used to work in West Chester and represent Remington as a one-man shop,” Kevin says. “But he realized he could do a better job on his own and soon left to





The Ryan Family (©Amy Tucker)

start his own company, Rothwell Office Supply.” His customers agreed, and John Sr. quickly gained a reputation for high-quality products and personal service. His son, John Jr., joined the business at a young age. “He remembers winding up typewriter spools in the basement of his childhood home,” Kevin says of his father. “He later bought the company from my grandfather in 1986.” Kevin initially had reservations about joining the family business and set out to find his own career. He worked for a variety of large corporations, living in three different cities in three years. But, after forging his own path, Kevin came back home in 2004 when his father hired him to run business development and assist in company operations. In January 2016, Kevin bought the company from his father, and has since seen a 300% growth. Throughout its seven decades, Rothwell Document Solutions has built their business by maintaining old relationBob Spaziani (©Skye McDonald)

ships and attracting new customers with high-quality printing systems and document management. “Our technology and our locations may have changed over the years,” Kevin says. “But there’s one thing that will never change: our name.”


In 1908 Joseph Ryan bought his first bar on 51st Street and Lancaster Avenue in Philadelphia. He named it JP Ryan’s. In 1952 his son Paul opened up Smokey Joe’s on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania. When his sons, Pat and Paul Jr. took over what the family fondly calls “Smoke’s” in the 1970s, they also launched three additional branches of the Ryan’s Pub brand: the West Chester location in February 2002, Phoenixville in 2008, and Manayunk in October 2017. Pat reflects on his family’s success in the industry. “Our establishment has become a very big, local hangout for every demographic,” Pat says. “Young or old, people enjoy our good food, friendly service, and family atmosphere.”

Pat’s sons, Sean and Mike, both joined the family business at a young age, working their way up through the ranks, eventually becoming general managers, along with their cousins, Paul III and Tommy. It seems fitting that the four members of the fourth generation oversee their family’s four locations, and Pat knows why the formula works. “A sense of pride comes with being a family owned business,” he says. “Everything you do is for family, and everyone has one, shared goal.”


Not many people could start a beer business in their grandmother’s house, but in 1948, after serving in the US Marine Corps in World War II, Robert C. Spaziani did just that, obtaining a license to sell beer out of a living room in East Greenville, PA. It wasn’t until 1952 that Robert found a storefront at 319 W. Gay Street in West Chester to house the business he named Spaz Beverage.





Sandy Riper (©Sabina Sister)

His son, Bob Spaziani, remembers helping his father. “We bought a house next to the property when we opened up shop,” Bob says. “Then we moved our business to Hannum Avenue, and then again in 1982, we moved to off of Route 202 where we were a wholesale distributor.” Bob took over the business in 1985, along with his brother and sister, when their father passed away. When his siblings retired, Bob acquired the business outright. Now in its fifth iteration, you can find Spaz Beverage on West Chester Pike, where they have been a retail distributor since 2009. “A customer can buy anything here, from one bottle to a thousand cases of beer,” Bob says. At 76 years old, Bob has no plans to stop working at Spaz Beverage (or selling real estate, which he’s been doing for 50 year). “I love the beer business! It’s really come a long way,” Bob says. “And I’m hopeful that my grandchildren will want to work here too, so we can keep the business in our family.”


Sunset Hill is more than just a pretty name for a jewelry store: it’s also love story. Vincent Giordano owned a quarter horse farm called Sunset Hill in East Bradford Township, and that’s where he met his future wife, Marsha. Vincent and Marsha traveled across the US, displaying Marsha’s vintage jewelry in antique shows throughout the 70s. Their daughter, Sandy, inherited her mother’s love for jewelry, and after graduating from Henderson High School, she studied at the Gemology Institute of America and obtained a gemology degree. But, when she graduated, she gave her parents an ultimatum. “I said, ‘I’ve reached my early 20s, and I don’t want to travel with my parents anymore,’” Sandy remembers. “I told them that if they wanted to keep me in the family business, we needed a shop.” With an interest in preserving a worthy legacy, the Giordanos purchased a property on High Street, and Sunset Hill Jewelers has since remained in the same location for 35 years.

The most exciting part about being in a long-run, family-owned business is that Sandy has worked with three generations of customers. “It’s so emotional selling engagement rings to young men who I knew when they were babies,” Sandy says. “Engagement rings are my favorite pieces of jewelry because they are so life-changing.” And while Sunset Hill sells a mix of modern and vintage heirloom jewelry, Sandy has always made the effort not to sell designer brands. “Jewelry should be a story about the person who wears it; not the company who made it,” she says.


If you’re looking for an illustration of the power of music, imagine starting a tiny music store in the year of the stock market crash and having that store expand and grow into a fixture of the community some 80 years later. Taylor’s Music is that place. Music teacher Gene Buglio bought it from original owner John I. Taylor in the mid-fifties, and then his own son, Tom,





Daughter & Mother (©Amy Tucker)

The DelVescovo Brothers (©Sabina Sister)

came on board in the mid-seventies, moving and reconditioning pianos. When a second location opened in Devon, Tom managed it for 10 years, eventually moving into an ownership position. In 1987, Gene’s daughter Julie married Len Doyle, who brought his expertise in the guitar to the table, and he eventually bought the store. Taylor’s is now a full service music store, with everything from instruments to sheet music to software, aptly illustrating the adage that the family that plays together stays together.


You don’t even have to guess whether Brothers Pizza is family owned—the answer’s right there in the name. Run by brothers Mike and Bill DelVescovo, the family connection doesn’t even stop there; Bill bought the business from an aunt and uncle—they’d owned it for five years—back in 1996when he was eyeing the exit after several years in corporate sales. The appeal of being one’s own boss

won out over the rat race—the fact that he didn’t know much beyond making a pizza didn’t curb his enthusiasm. “I was working a lot of hours and figured if I was working those hours, I should be doing it for myself.” It was quite the learning curve, and Bill leaned on family for the support. “I’ve got it down now, but it took years of my aunts, uncles, and cousins helping.” Brothers is such a family-oriented business that even their employees have brought their own siblings on board to work at the restaurant. Bill’s younger brother Mike got involved as a partner back in 2013 when a cousin bowed out, paving the way for the continuation of the family business. As Bill put it, “I think a lot about him coming on is having a successor.”

worked for themselves—she knew she wanted to own her own business. “Everybody told her she was gonna fail,” reflects Patty’s daughter Jamie Jones, “but she proved them all wrong.” Despite being the owner’s daughter, Jamie began work at WhirlAway on a trial basis. “I was being tested,” she says. She had a business coach and started off as and admin, slowly working her way through the ranks.


Jamie is now a co-owner of the business and the COO. Patty is still in the office a couple days a week, and working together has transformed their relationship. “We probably have a better relationship now than before we worked together,” Jaime says. “She’s learned to view me as a capable woman, and now I understand all that went into what she accomplished when I was growing up.”

For some people, entrepreneurship is just in their blood. That seems to be the case for Patty Jefferis of WhirlAway Travel & Cruise Consultants. Patty worked in travel, and a lot of her family

Jamie thinks that family feel is part of what their clients love. “When you work with a family-run business, you’re putting a kid through dance class. You’re not giving your money to some big-box entity; you’re supporting a family.”





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

Going to a housewarming party? I have the perfect go-to gift list for any budget. It’s important to consider how your gift will affect the existing home’s aesthetic and your friend’s style. You want something that is versatile and will complement anything. Let’s begin with budget-conscious gifts and work our way up to a special splurge. One of the best housewarming gifts I ever received when I moved was a small, potted succulent. The smaller ones that are about 6” diameter are the best because they can go on a multitude of surfaces, they look great in any household, and are super low maintenance. They can range from $5-$25. A candle is a pleasant way to say, “Congrats on your new home!” And to answer your question: no, a candle will not make your friends wonder if their house smells. Everyone loves a pleasant-smelling candle to help set the ambiance in a room. The Apotheke candles smell devine and are sold locally at Old Soul Decor on Market Street ( They come in all sorts of fresh scents like French Lavender and Ginger Lemon. Candles can range anywhere from $5-$50. A gift card to a home decor shop is another gift that anyone can make great use of. If you think gift cards are impersonal, then opt for one to a local store. This not only supports our community, but it adds a little personal touch and thoughtfulness. Gift cards are also a clever idea because choosing something to fit your friend’s style, or knowing they are in need of something in particular, is challenging. A book about design and DIY is a fun gift for someone wanting to redesign their new home. If you know your friend’s design aesthetic, you could get them a book that is all about that particular style, or you can purchase a book about the fundamentals of design to help them along their way. Some of my favorites are Make Yourself At Home by Moorea Seal, Home Decor Cheat Sheets by Jessica Probus, and The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide Manual by the editors of Family Handyman magazine. For the special friend or family member that you know will need help from an interior designer, you can purchase a “Doorstep Designer” which is essentially design services that are delivered directly to your home. Prices start at $500. You simply send Perceptions Interiors photos of your space and measurements, and in return you receive step-by-step instructions to create a professionally designed space, as well as trade secrets and designer tips! You can learn more about what is included on our website ( Moving is an accomplishment and reason to celebrate. Next housewarming party really wow your friend with something beyond the basic bouquet of flowers and bottle of wine!—



Spot the five differences between these images of the madness that is constant in the world’s largest family-owned retail business, then send your answer to for your chance to win a Barnaby’s gift certificate. Congrats to February winner Jennell Johns from Gemelli Gelato who identified all the changes to the courthouse photos




Thank You from and

West Chester

ders Ball



this year we’ll donate


to West Chester Firest Responders due to the gracious support of... America’s Pie Avante Salon & Spa Barnaby’s of WC Beam Suntory Calista Grand Creekside Cabaret Cuisine De Sylvie Eat Drink Om Yoga Faunbrook B&B Kildare’s Irish Pub Landmark Americana



Levante Limoncello Market Street Grill Cakes and Candy by Maryellen Origlio Penn Beer, Sales & Service Pietro’s Prime Ram’s Head Ruberti’s All Sports Lettering Ryan’s Pub Saloon 151

Schaffer Sound DJ’s Side Bar & Restaurant Social Lounge Split Rail Tavern Spaz Beverage Sunset Hill Jeweler The WC Press Vudu Lounge WC BID WC Sports & Social Zukin Realty

March Playlist DJ Romeo curates a list of the tracks you’ll be enjoying all month long. 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

The Weeknd & Kendrick Lamar – “Pray For Me” Justin Timberlake ft. Chris Stapleton – “Say Something” Zedd, Maren Morris & Grey – “The Middle” Oliver Tree – “Alien Boy” Bazzi – “Mine” BlocBoy JB ft. Drake – “Look Alive” A$AP Rocky, Gucci Mane & 21 Savage – “Cocky” AJR – “Sober Up” Niall Horan – “On The Loose” Drake – “God’s Plan” Sean Paul ft. David Guetta & Becky G – “Mad Love” Frank Ocean – “Moon River” Rudimental ft. Jess Glynne & Macklemore – “These Days” Brothers Osborne – “Shoot Me Straight” Migos – “Stir Fry” Iggy Azalea ft. Quavo – “Savior” Awolnation – “Handyman” Craig David ft. Bastille – “I Know You” LoCash – “Don’t Get Better Than That” In Real Life – “Tattoo (How ‘Bout You)” The Chainsmokers – “You Owe Me” Kelly Clarkson – “I Don’t Think About You” Lauv – “Getting Over You” Khalid ft. Normani – “Love Lies” Courtney Barnett – “Nameless, Faceless” Tory Lanez – “B.I.D.” Fat Joe ft. Dre – “Pick It Up” Muse – “Thought Contagion” Trust Fund Baby – “Why Don’t We” Calvin Harris ft. PARTYNEXTDOOR – “Nuh Ready Nuh Ready”



Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.