The WC Press Locally Made Issue - September 2019

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“The way to change the world is through individual responsibility and taking local action in your own community.” –Jeff Bridges

Press PUBLISHER Dan Mathers


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

The Greater West Chester Chamber of Commerce are great supporters of local business, and so are their members, who we’ve recognized with this badge throughout the magazine.



Our no-nonsense table of contents


#THEWCPRESS Our favorite social media posts from fans are getting printed


INSIDE AN EMPIRE OF OUTLAWS Righteous Felon Beef Jerky have seized the moment


Miranda Hill from Ram’s Head Bar & Grill


A look at the key players in WC’s history as a manufacturing hub


a collection of businesses that are keeping it close to home


CAN’T MISS SEPTEMBER EVENTS Everything you need to be doing this month


Find the five differences between the two pictures and win!






from the


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

Since May of 2013, every issue of The WC Press has had a theme around which it’s built. Having recently planned out the entirety of 2020, that means we’ve now selected 104 of them. Of course, some of those repeat. After the popularity of our first food issue back in May of 2013, we’ve published one every year since. We also launched our first “Summer Fun Guide” back in 2013 (although it was titled “53 Reasons NOT to go to the Beach this Summer”) and have made that an annual occurrence, too. The same goes for our “Holiday Shopping Guide.” For a while there we also recycled “fashion” or “style” every 12 months, and we’ve printed a handful of animal-, alcohol-, wellness-, and wedding-related mags, too. Which brings me to this month: “Locally Made.” While we haven’t technically done it before, for all intents and purposes it’s the third iteration of this issue, following “Made in America” in 2013 and “Homemade” in 2017. Luckily for us, talking about locally produced products in West Chester is like drinking from a well that never dries. We live in a town that’s small in terms of population but loaded with ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit. Every time we touch on this motif, we examine new, thriving businesses, and thanks to our 220-year history (and the Chester County Historical Society), there’s a treasure trove of memorable ventures from our past. The reality is that these are all secondary subjects; the central premise in each The WC Press is simply “think local.” Whenever I’m asked about how this magazine finds success when other print models are failing, I credit our community ties. Huge operations may cover large swathes of the country, but they never generate the same kind of engagement with readers as something published in their own backyard. It’s a sentiment with which I think many of the business owners we feature this month would agree, and it’s why we’ve always stood firmly by the guiding principle that any article we write has to have a direct connection to 19380 or 19382. While digging through our archives in the course of fact-checking for this piece, I re-read my first “Letter from the Editor.” It set out to explain what our earliest readers were holding and to establish the ethic around which all future publications would be built. Honestly, it was a bit embarrassing for me to revisit. I found the piece full of mistakes I’ve since chided employees about, silly slipups like constant word repetition. And yet, while I hope my writing has improved in the interim, I’ve always maintained that effective prose is that which conveys a clear message, and my first column certainly did just that. It may have only been two short paragraphs, but my inaugural “Letter from the Editor” included the word “local” three times. As much as I may look back and wish the 25-year-old version of myself had been more willing to consult a thesaurus, maybe it wasn’t so bad that I defined the essential theme of this publication early and, apparently, often. —





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Making a Difference

This month’s column is written by Michelle Venema and Sophie Tentrop from Home of the Sparrow. Michelle is president-elect of the Rotary Club of West Chester and Home of the Sparrow is a recipient of funds raised by the club via their annual Chili Cookoff. Chester County has two different sides. One is a region of great abundance: beautiful open spaces, prominent corporate centers, and prosperous neighborhoods. The other side is one of struggle, desperation and poverty. This is the narrative that Home of the Sparrow is working to change. The average woman in one of our programs is working fulltime, sometimes at two jobs, supporting two children on a single income, and skipping meals to make sure her children get enough to eat. She lives with the constant fear of losing her home. When a family loses their home, children are uprooted from their schools, illnesses occur more frequently, and patterns of poverty and homelessness can be experienced by generation after generation. That is why at Home of the Sparrow, our priority is prevention. Home of the Sparrow prevents homelessness through targeted interventions that are individualized for each family, solutions that are strengths-based and intergenerational. We use our programs to overcome the issues and barriers that lead to housing instability and help women to achieve long-term financial stability. Our programs include: Supportive Housing, Emergency Solutions — which include eviction prevention and security deposit assistance — Shared Housing, Pre-senior Bridge Housing, our Graduate Program and the Women’s Re-entry Assessment Program (WRAP). Last year we helped 742 women and children in Chester County. This year we are on pace to help even more. Long-term housing stability is entirely dependent on having the personal skills and resources to obtain and maintain financial stability. For a family living paycheck to paycheck, one small emergency — an illness, or a car breakdown — can send them into crisis. In our programs, participants acquire financial skills and receive support to improve employment and education. In addition to affordable housing solutions and case management, we connect them to community resources and other services. Maria [real name withheld] is a mother recently referred to us by another Chester County Agency when she sought help to escape her abusive husband. Maria knew she didn’t have the means to support herself and her small son on her own, but she had to get out. At Home of the Sparrow she received the support she needed to change her future. We helped her secure housing away from abuse and gave her the opportunity to pursue a new career with a job offered by one of our board members. Maria says, “Home of the Sparrow has been incredible. Not only are they helping me learn to achieve financial stability, they helped open a door to a new career that I absolutely love. I never thought walking through those doors to my initial meeting would be so incredibly life changing. I will forever be thankful for the opportunities that have been afforded to me.” – If you or someone you know is experiencing housing instability, please call 610-647-4940.





inside an empire of by Jesse Piersol

The founders of Righteous Felon Beef Jerky came. They conquered. Now what?



Co-founder Brendan Cawley waves the Righteous Felon flag

“Highly potent substance.” “Illicit combinations.” “Jerky trafficking.” For a brand whose image is built upon lurid metaphor and grandiloquent storytelling, like those listed above, Righteous Felon Beef Jerky’s co-founder and CEO Brendan Cawley is remarkably low key. After college, he spent five years at Lockheed Martin’s Sikorsky helicopter facility as a financial analyst, during which time he was sharing a house on Lacey Street with a bunch of other guys in their mid twenties, including his best friend Tucker “Renegade” Rinehart. They started making jerky. “We’d go snowboarding or to concerts, and we’d pool our money to make a big batch of jerky,” Brendan recounts. Then they bought some blank brown bags and printed their own labels, and lo and behold, they sold a batch to a bar in Brooklyn. Soon after, beer distributors started picking it up. And over the past seven years, Brendan, along with two

brothers and six friends, have built Righteous Felon into a craft jerky empire. But the company’s story actually begins almost two decades ago, in another house in a city on the other side of the state, in the bedroom of a precocious 10 year old. Brendan’s uncle worked in a steel mill in Pittsburgh and had a passion for beef jerky, which he made in his basement and sold to coworkers. He taught young Brendan the craft, and soon the enterprising elementary schooler was in business, along with his buddy Tucker. “We were making 10 pounds a week, bagging it up in Ziploc bags and selling it at school,” Brendan recalls. “We’d go to BJs and buy brisket and soy sauce and the bill would be $70, which seemed impossible.” They used an electric turkey knife to slice up the meat, and then let it marinate in the fridge before moving it to the dehydrator. It was a time of gleeful trial and error, which eventually led to the dehydrator being moved to his bedroom because his parents couldn’t stand the smell anymore.

One day, Tucker and Brendan got caught in the bathroom at school selling their baggies of jerky for cash, and the ensuing misunderstanding would inspire Righteous Felon’s drug cartel brand identity years later when the friends reunited after college in the house on Lacey Street. One of their original flavors, and still the most popular, is O.G. Hickory, a smoky and slightly sweet classic incarnation of beef jerky. “It’s our best seller and is based on those early recipes, although we’ve switched to gluten-free tamari to accommodate a wider audience of consumers,” says Brendan. When the Lacey Street roommates decided to scale up their idea beyond the kitchen of a rental house, challenges arose, including finding the right supplier. “We went through 20 to 30 farms who supplied all-natural beef and could produce enough to keep up with where we thought we could go to,” Brendan recalls. Their criteria dictated the use of humane practices in raising the animals, as well as no growth hormones or antibiotics.





Righteous Felon’s lineup of savory and spicy flavors.

“We were looking to buy 50 pounds of beef, so the big guys wouldn’t even talk to us, but the small guys couldn’t keep up, because they only had one or two cows. We were thinking we’d need 2,000 pounds a week, all top round, which is the biggest muscle and the leanest cut. The problem is you only get about 25 pounds of top round per animal.”

ble meeting. “The owner was skinning rattle snakes, and here I was, this city slicker,” he laughs. Today, as the company has grown, they’re experimenting with other cuts of meat as well as other suppliers.

Finally, they found Roseda Farm in Monkton, Maryland. It was a memora-

It is difficult, if not impossible, to love the jerky more than the brand.

From the different characters on the jerky pouches to the outrageous bios of everyone at the company on their website, a large part of the enduring appeal of Righteous Felon is their unique marketing angle. “Our founders are all creative individually,” says Brendan, “but when we’re together having beers, it gets really creative. Tucker is one of the most creative people I know.” Indeed, Tucker’s influence is reflected in most of the company’s writing and artwork.





“We use group text to send ideas and pictures back and forth,” he explains. “People either rip on it or give it a thumbs up. They’re all between 27 and 39, which is the core demographic that we’re going after, so that’s helpful.” Righteous Felon's biggest seller on Amazon and other e-commerce sites is the face-melting Voodoo Chile. It owes its flaming presence to the Carolina Reaper, the hottest pepper in the world, topping out at almost two million Scoville Units. (Also—it is DELICIOUS and highly addictive, with a borderline-friendly heat that takes hold immediately and radiates until being extinguished by another food or beverage or professional intervention.) Like Voodoo Chile, the jerky industry itself is on fire. In 2016, jerky production was projected to generate $1.4 billion in revenue, an increase of almost five percent over 2015, according to research firm IBISWorld as cited in Emily Canal’s article from December 4, 2018. Perhaps surprisingly, its explosive popularity is the result of current dietary

trends. “I always talk about health these days as being somewhat tribal,” Canal quotes Darren Seifer, a food and beverage analyst for market research firm NPD Group, referring to popular diets and the communities that form around them. “But the overarching trends are about protein and low sugar, and jerky transcends those tribes.” David Walsh, vice president of communications and membership for SNAC, an international trade association for the snack industry, “attributes the growth to the trend of consumers eating more snacks and fewer sit down meals, ‘leading them to look for ‘snacks that pack a nutritional punch,’” writes Maura Judkis in The Washington Post from April 10, 2017. She also points to the dietary trend “away from carbohydrates and toward protein, which may lead some consumers to eat fewer chips and more meats, particularly meat snacks.” “This five to six year tear of growth in the industry is aligned with dietary trends,” Brendan concurs. “Jerky is on-the-go protein snacking.” He adds

Righteous Felon’s brand has become synonymous with adventure that keto and other protein-centric diets have also made jerky more appealing to women over the last seven years. “It tastes indulgent, but still has 10 grams of protein with only five grams of sugar.” Jerky is fuel for sport, too. “One of our biggest social media influencers lives in Glacier Park [Montana],” says Brendan. “She eats a ton of jerky, carrying it up the mountains while training for 50-mile trail runs.” Righteous Felon products show up in locations other than people’s personal snack stashes, too. Restaurants have been finding creative ways to incorporate them into signature dishes, examples of which Brendan rattles off. “Station Taproom uses it for a stuffed shells dish. Roots Café makes a Bloody Mary with it. Victory does a charcuterie plate.” Even the Philadelphia Eagles are fans, with the products being available at the NovaCare Complex as well as in the sta-





dium suites. Flavor pairings are another hallmark of Righteous Felon’s ethos: The Baby Blues BBQ flavor is a pairing with Baby Blues BBQ in Philly, while the Victorious. B.I.G. variety is made with a stout from Downingtown’s Victory Brewing Company. There have been bumps in the road, including an issue in 2015 that almost put the felons out of business. The plastic zipper on the pouches they were using had a defect that resulted in about one out of 10 bags developing mold. “We caught most of them, but we had to write off a ton of inventory,” laments Brendan. “It was a big [financial] hit.” And big hits can impact small businesses, so unity is key. “We have a super small team, just six of us here at the warehouse,” he continues. “So there’s not a ton of separation of duties. It’s all hands on deck for whatever the day’s fire drill is. We’re growing very quickly, so we’re trying to change that.” The company believes in investing in its employees. Monica Fredericksdorf has been an intern here for the last two years,

ever since Brendan saw the “Tips at WCU” jar on the counter at her family’s ice cream shop down the shore where she was working and he was vacationing. “He asked me what I was studying at West Chester,” she remembers. “I told him finance and accounting, and he said, ‘well, I need finance and accounting help. My name’s Brendan and you can email me at Righteous Felon.’” She did email him, and she’s been part of the team ever since. “He’s a great teacher,” she says. “General accounting or finance advice, he’s always helping. Everyone here is dialed into every detail of the business. And they keep it super transparent.” “Typically when an intern starts, their responsibility is narrow and deep,” Brendan furthers. “They learn every idiosyncrasy of accounts payable, but not about fighting with a carrier for chargeback, or coming up with a marketing brand. Because it’s such a small business, everyone here evolves and learns so quickly. We’ve been lucky to get the right people, but that approach is also out of necessity.” On the expansive live-edge wood table

that dominates their front office sits a stack of empty brown jerky pouches awaiting their labels, a design that harkens back to Righteous Felon’s roots in the house on Lacey Street. Rather than the trademark jerky character that adorns specific flavors, these bags have a blank space that will be filled with custom rubber-stamped labels for one-off experimental flavors, the company’s newest endeavor. “New flavors require so much effort to regulate,” explains Brendan. “The larger the distribution has gotten, the harder it has been to launch new flavors. It’s tough to keep up with inventory, and it stifles our creativity.” Enter the R & D Experimental Jerky Project, where one-off, thousand-bag runs of flavors will be offered only through the web. “When they’re done, they’re done.” Brendan likens it to the craft beer world, which does small batch releases. “So we’re going to try to do that in the jerky space.” The unfettered joy of experimentation has been in direct conflict with their growth, which has required not one but two moves in the last year. “We wore out





our welcome at the house, so we outsourced a lot,” he recalls. Until nine months ago, they didn’t have a warehouse of their own. They decided to test out a partial-year lease to see if it was the right choice, and it was. When that temporary lease ended on August 1, they landed at their locale on Old Fern Hill Road.

Righteous Felon’s offerings are ever expanding

Having their own warehouse has allowed them to capitalize on their business model, and expand even further. “Most of the orders we do here have 25 different items, which is a nightmare for artisan businesses,” says Brendan. “So we launched a separate business called ‘Artisan Brands.’” The Felons grew their distribution in a somewhat unorthodox way, selling directly to vendors, such as Carlino’s and DiBruno Bros., rather than to distributors. “Usually you wan to sell a pallet or a truckload to a distributor, who then parses it out,” he notes. “But we just distributed it ourselves. After four or five years doing it that way, we realized we could help other smaller brands like us.” They were already shipping jerky products around the country, and they realized they could partner with large hotels to solve a common problem: stocking mini bars with a compelling assortment of products. “It helps us sell more jerky, but they’re also buying a solution to their problem. We consolidate it all here, with a single bill, providing a one-stop shopping experience.” Those smaller brands include companies selling chips, chocolates, and anything that would make a worthy addition to a hotel chain that is looking to make a unique, local statement with its mini bar offering. “We’ve stocked entire mini bar sets for Kimpton Hotels,” says Brendan. “The Ritz Carlton just picked up five local brands. Some of these brands are only three months old, and they’re ecstatic.” While other companies are out there doing this already, there isn’t competition in the artisan space. “The trend is toward sourcing local, so we can include items that are local to different cities. They order everything through us, and the local items arrive the same day as the rest of their order because it is drop-shipped to them.” Their bespoke in-house software facilitates the entire process.

Righteous Felons never sleep. “I don’t really stop,” says Brendan. “It’s pretty constant, with cell phones and laptops. I’m always thinking about how we’re growing. My mind is constantly figuring out how the hell we’re going to do what’s next.” Short-term incentives are key. “Every person who works here receives a weekly bonus based on how we did that week,” he shares. “We’re a really small company, and in the competitive employment pool, if everyone knows their success is proportionate to the success of business, it’s

going to be reflected in their weekly and monthly compensation.” It's a domino effect. “You can focus on having a good week, and then that week will turn into a good couple of weeks. You have a good month, and next thing you know, you have a good year. You have a couple of good years, and then maybe one day, you’ll have a great company.” It is a bold truth. In the words of Victorious B.I.G. (that peppery sweet Victory stout-infused gastro-lovechild): “Flavor always favors the bold.”






of the Month PHOTO Erik Weber INTERVIEW Courtney Potts

Miranda Hill took a roundabout route to holding down the bar at Ram’s Head How long have you been working at Ram’s Head? Seven years. It’s been a really long time. That’s impressive. How did that come about? I grew up in West Chester, and went to high school right down the road — I actually started here back in high school. I attended college in North Carolina at Eastern Carolina University and started working in the food industry down there, too. There’s a statistic that some really high percentage of students who start at ECU don’t end up graduating from there, and I’m one of them. Moving into Sophomore year, I thought it was best to take a gap year and come

home. That’s when I started working at Ram’s Head again as a host. My parents eventually convinced me to stay in-state for school, and it made sense with me having a job already here, so I decided to finish my degree at West Chester. What are you going to school for? I’m a marketing major, and I’m graduating this December. What’s your plan from there? I think it would be nice to go into the restaurant industry. I’ve been working in this field for a while now, and I think it could be a good idea to stick with it. So, you started as a host, and worked your way up? Yes. After hosting, I was a server, shift manager, and then bartender. You really have to put in the time. Was it worth the wait? I definitely like bartending the best out of all the positions I’ve had so far. Why do you think that is? I like the fast pace, running around, the bar crawls and everything. It’s a lot of fun. Not to mention the atmosphere is different; you’re able to meet new people and have conversations.

What’s your favorite night to work? I like Friday’s. We just started having live music downstairs. A lot of local solo artists perform and smaller bands. It gets pretty busy, which makes it a lot of fun. Do you think there’s a difference between working upstairs and downstairs? There seems to be two different atmospheres. The upstairs tends to be the older crowd that enjoys the craft beer and whisky. Whereas downstairs, there’s more of the younger scene. We are hoping to bring the two together more, which is why we started the new live music nights downstairs. One final question: what’s your food and drink of choice? For a drink, I would say our Peach Basil Mule. We just got a whole new mule drink menu, and they are great to enjoy on a hot summer day. For food, it’s tough. Maybe the Don’t Judge Me Burger? It’s kind of intimidating; it’s six inches high. It has smoked paprika aioli, BBQ pork, onion rings, fried egg, avocado and cheddar cheese on a burger patty. If you’re really hungry, it’s to die for. Wait, no. My favorite is the nachos — they’re bomb.






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


Buying locally is an ethic I take seriously (as do the farmers and buyers that attend our West Chester Grower’s market each Saturday). Lucky for us all, it’s a venture in which the returns are much greater than the effort. September presents an abundance of homegrown treasure, the best of summer’s bounty and the beginning of autumn’s delicious harvest. Whether it’s sweet or savory you’re after, you’ll love these options. – Broccoli Apple Salad - Serves 6-8 2 heads broccoli, (florets only, 1/3 c. light mayonnaise torn into bite-sized pieces) 1/2 heaping c. plain Greek yogurt 1 c. shredded carrots Juice of 1 lemon 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced 1 tbsp. sugar 2 firm apples, cored and diced 3/4 tsp. kosher salt 1/2 c. sunflower seeds 1/2 tsp. black pepper 1/2 c. dried cranberries 1.Combine broccoli, carrots, scallions, apples, sunflower seeds and cranberries in a large mixing bowl. 2. In a smaller bowl, whisk mayonnaise, yogurt, lemon juice, sugar, salt and pepper until smoothly combined. 3. Add to broccoli mixture and stir to evenly coat. 4. Transfer to serving bowl and cover with plastic. Refrigerate at least 1-6hrs hour before serving. Blueberry Buckle - Makes 8x8 1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened 3/4 c. sugar 1 egg 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract 2 c. flour 1/2 tsp. salt 2 1/2 tsp. baking powder 1/2 c. milk 2 c. fresh blueberries

Topping 1/2 c. sugar 1/2 c. flour 1/2 tsp. cinnamon pinch kosher salt 4 tbsp. softened unsalted butter

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. 2. Grease and flour 8 x 8 baking dish. The “flour and butter” baking nonstick spray works excellently and takes way less time. 3. Cream shortening/ butter and sugar in a large bowl (with electric mixer). 4. Add egg and vanilla and beat till combined. 5. Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Add alternately with the milk, starting and ending with the flour mixture. 6. Mix in the blueberries by hand, carefully, as to not burst the berries. 7. Transfer mixture to prepared pan and spread evenly. 8. To make topping, combine sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt in a small bowl. Whisk. Using hands or a pastry blender, cut in softened butter until mixture forms small clumps. 9. Sprinkle topping over batter. Bake for 45 minutes. 10. Let cool until easy to slice, and cut into squares. SEPTEMBER 2019 THEWCPRESS.COM


Tailgate-Ready VODKA






Denny Tag Co., 30 W. Barnard St., ca. 1918. ©Chester County Historical Society, West Chester, PA.

Captains of Industry (West Chester Edition)

A look at the key players in WC’s history as a manufacturing hub by Kate Chadwick.



Hoopes Bros. & Thomas office, 1900. ©Chester County Historical Society, West Chester, PA.


ou may think of West Chester as your favorite place to eat, drink, and shop, but you probably don't think much about it as an industrial center. There was a time, though, when the borough was a regional manufacturing leader.

all founded here in town, as well as some of the companies who grew the movement further by moving their operations here.

In his (printed in West Chester) 2003 book, Made in West Chester: The History of Industry in West Chester, Pennsylvania 1867 to 1945, historian and WCU Professor Jim Jones explores the history of the industrialization of West Chester, documenting both the timeline for its entry into manufacturing and its secondary expansion. Jones provides an in-depth look at the early companies that formed the foundation for West Chester’s growth into a hub of manufacturing. We recommend reading Jim Jones’ book in its entirety for a more complete picture of West Chester’s early industrialization history. (Note: It’s short, and available for free through West Chester University’s Digital Commons).

A present-day visit to any of the plethora of local farms and farm markets makes it easy to see why West Chester served as the region’s agricultural base in the early 19th century. As such, early industries here aimed squarely at addressing the needs of those plying the agricultural trade, and, according to Jones, the first enterprises to "industrialize" in West Chester were plant nurseries.

In this article, we highlight the stories of West Chester’s original three companies,

Hoopes Brothers & Thomas Nursery

The most successful and pivotal of these was Hoopes Brothers & Thomas Nursery, founded by two local brothers. Just north of the borough on his father’s farm, Josiah Hoopes started a nursery in 1853, using plants imported from England. He started with vegetable plants, and after a few years, added fruit trees. He brought younger brother Abner on board

to his Cherry Hill Nursery in 1857, and they opened a stall in the borough market. The nursery expanded in a big way when the brothers acquired 44 acres along the railroad northeast of town and had really exploded by the Civil War’s end. The brothers brought an accountant neighbor, George B. Thomas, into the fold as a partner, and by 1870, Cherry Hill Nursery employed 100 people at the height of their shipping season. The men had devised a way to mail small plants by placing them in damp moss and then wrapping them in paper. Through a combination of the postal system, the railroad, and steamship, they shipped plants across the U.S., and their first shipment crossed the pond to Europe in 1874. They advertised via displays at the Pennsylvania State Fair in 1875, and sent “carloads of plants” to Philadelphia’s 1876 Centennial Exposition. The growth continued; by 1881 they were up to 300 acres of land, and their greenhouses alone covered more than half an acre. According to their 1882 catalog,





Hoopes Bros. and Darlington, ca. 1910. ©Chester County Historical Society, West Chester, PA. they made daily shipments to the Pacific coast and regular sales to Europe, Australia, and the West Indies. The company was renamed Maple Avenue Nursery in 1885, and in 1886 even received an order from the White House via then-President Grover Cleveland. By 1898, the trio’s acreage had reached 600, and the firm was now the largest producer of peach trees in the country. A decade later, HB&T purchased an 800acre farm in West Goshen, and by the turn of the century, the company had sales offices in West Chester, Nashville, and Philadelphia, and nearly 1000 acres in cultivation. The company apparently remained prosperous through World War I, but struggled after the stock market collapsed in October 1929. In 1934 the firm sold 78 acres to the borough of West Chester for a reservoir. It stayed afloat during World War II, but was formally dissolved in July 1948. Through both the distribution of plants and production of seedlings, these nursery owners of West Chester laid the groundwork (pun intended) for plant distribution throughout the nation. “Although it used little machinery and produced no smoke, HB&T was a product of the industrial age just as surely as railroads and steel companies,” wrote Jones. “From its origins in a preindustrial agricultural market town,

HB&T became an integrated firm that produced and marketed goods all over the world. In the process, it helped spread the name of West Chester as well, and provided an example for other local entrepreneurs to follow.”

Hoopes Brothers & Darlington Wheel Works The second company to make a mark here in West Chester was Hoopes Brothers & Darlington Wheel Works, which manufactured wooden spokes and wagon wheels, and was founded by brothers William and Thomas Hoopes. Their parents, Thomas and Eliza, had a farm just north of town near the modern junction of N. New Street and the Route 322 bypass equipped with a saw mill and grinding equipment. As a way to reduce their shipping costs, New Englanders contracted with the brothers to "rough finish" wooden spokes using a steam-powered lathe. The pair cut their first spokes in 1866 and moved their operation into the borough in June of 1867, in a mill on E. Market Street on the east side of the railroad. The brothers brought their cousin Stephen P. Darlington into the business as a partner in September 1868. In the beginning, the trio manufactured only spokes, but in 1869 started producing complete sets of wheels, as well as other products

like hatchet handles. By the summer of 1872 the company employed nearly 100 men, who cut, hauled, and turned wood using steam-powered circular saws, lathes, a large belt sander and planes. The company had invested heavily in new equipment and building in the months leading up to the financial crash of September 1873. The 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia was the only bright spot in the decade's otherwise bleak economy. Company morale got a boost when the firm's Keystone Brand and Dorman Patent wheels won a medal at the Exposition, and the company sent wheels to subsequent international expositions at Paris in 1878 and Melbourne (Australia) in 1880. In 1908, Ford introduced the“Model T," and the automotive market boost was felt in Chester County; by 1910 there were four automobile dealers in the borough, so the HB&D's directors decided to add automobile wheels to their output. In August 1912 they began advertising their new product, and only a month later the directors voted to buy two more "automobile wheel machines." For the rest of the decade, the company introduced other up-to-date devices, and the company entered the 1920s as the manufacturer of a full range of wheels with both rubber and iron tires. By 1958, HB&D was one of only two or three wheel makers remaining in the coun-






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Paint room, Sharples Separator Works, ca 1915 ŠChester County Historical Society, West Chester, PA.

try, of the roughly 700 that had once operated. The company reverted to the Hoopes family after a failed attempt to purchase Wheel Works in 1969. Family members selected Edward Lawrence, a relative by marriage, as president in 1972, and he presided over the company's liquidation. Ray Carr and David Knauer of Pickering Creek Industrial Park sold the plant's contents and patents to Vern Barnett of Jonesboro, Arkansas in April 1973.

The Sharples Separator Works Sharples Separator Works, the final major industry player in West Chester, sprang up to meet the needs of area farmers whose cows thrived on the county's verdant fields. It evolved into one of the world's largest dairy equipment companies, spawned a host of subsidiaries, and subsidized a lavish lifestyle for its founder,

Philip M. Sharples. In the traditional butter-making process, farmers extracted the cream from milk by allowing it to rise, a time-consuming process. But then Dr. Carl Gustaf Patrik De Laval of Sweden changed everything when he invented the centrifugal cream separator in 1877. De Laval's device reduced milk handling and lowered risks of spoilage. The use of the hand-operated separators gave the farmer the ability to process their own milk and ship only the cream, thus increasing profits. The De Laval separators reached the U.S. United States in the early 1880s, but the owner of the first franchise, Joseph Peale of New York City, fell into debt and sold the rights to manufacture it to Sharples, a successful West Chester machine shop operator on N. Walnut Street. It was, as it turned out, a profitable deci-

sion that allowed him to expand his factory and upgrade his equipment. By 1888 he had branches in Elgin, Illinois and San Francisco, and employed 35 men in West Chester alone. He laid the foundation for the workshop on Maple Avenue that became home to the Sharples Separator Works the following year, and it became the hub of a factory that eventually employed 600 workers, covered more than five acres, and manufactured as many as 3,700 cream separators per year. The company expanded internationally, with customers in Europe, Argentina, Australia and Japan, and a factory near Hamburg, Germany by 1906. "In brief, the Sharples Separator Works became the largest industrial company in West Chester's history," writes Jones. There were speed bumps along the road from small-town machinist to world-





class manufacturer, as Sharples continued to manufacture De Laval separators, and also selling machines of his own design. Lawsuits for patent infringement were filed by De Laval in 1891, but Sharples won in US federal court by claiming that his improvements were significant. He applied for and got his own cream separator patent in 1897, in all, 23 more lawsuits were filed against him between 1890 and 1919.

founded Chester County Mushroom Laboratories in 1928. They built a small plant on East Rosedale Avenue to produce spawn and provide testing services to area mushroom growers. One of their early successes was collaborating with frozen foods pioneer Clarence Birdseye (yes, the same Birdseye on the label of the peas and corn in your freezer) on a process used for freezing mushrooms.

Nonetheless, Sharples expanded, introducing automatic fire alarms, electric lighting, color print advertising, and a steam whistle that could be heard all over the Borough. In the decade before World War I, Sharples built the Farmers & Mechanics Building at the corner of Market and High Streets, as well as Greystone Hall, a mansion on a 1000-acre estate along Phoenixville Pike northeast of town.

Growing better mushrooms, however, was arguably not Rettew’s most significant contribution to the scientific community.

By 1900 West Chester was a major manufacturing town, and the Sharples Separator Works was the premier industrial operation in the borough. The HB&T nursery and the HB&D wheel works were based on the industrial organization of farm crafts—growing plants and shaping wood—but the Sharples Separator Company was a "high-tech" operation that combined foundries, machine shops, and metal fabrication with engineering and speculative investment. Oddly enough, it was this powerhouse firm that became the first to declare bankruptcy in the 20th century.

Chester County Mushroom Laboratories Chester County has been a hub of mushroom production since the late 19th century, which Jones traces back to Kennett Square florist William Swayne, who started growing mushrooms in the unused space under the shelves he used to support the carnations in his greenhouses. “The business took off,” writes Jones, “and by the 1920s mushrooms were grown in specialized buildings like those owned by the Edward H. Jacobs Company, the dominant firm in West Chester.” Chemist G. Raymond Rettew found himself inspired to solve the problems facing mushroom production often lamented by his father-in-law, who worked in the industry. Accordingly, Rettew and an investment partner, Joseph Strode,

In 1942, Rettew and his laboratory assistant devised a process for growing penicillin that made mass production possible... “Penicillin production today would not be possible without this method.” When English scientist Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin in 1928, the early production method of growing mold on the surface of liquid in jars was simply too slow to match demand. In 1942, Rettew and his laboratory assistant devised a process for growing penicillin that made mass production possible, and created a subsidiary company named "Fungus Products” for that purpose. “Rettew discovered that adding banana oil to the tanks would separate penicillin from the culture in which it grew,” writes Mark E. Dixon in his article “The Mushroom Man” in the March 2011 issue of Main Line Today. “It was the solution of this problem that finally made possible our winning the race for mass production of penicillin,” reflected Rettew in 1973, as cited in Dixon’s article. “Penicillin production today would not be possible without this method.” Rettew’s game-changing invention incorporated technology from another West Chester company: The centrifuge he used to separate the oil from the penicillin was a cream separator manufactured by Sharples Separator Works. Rettew sold the idea to Reichel Laboratories, which manufactured penicillin used by the military in World War II, where it

was credited with saving tens of thousands of lives. Wyeth Pharmaceuticals acquired Reichel in late 1943 and continued to manufacture vaccines in the West Chester plant until it closed in 2004.

Denney Tag Company Denney Tag Company was the first outside company to move into West Chester, kicking off the borough’s second wave of industrialization, as identified by Jim Jones. Founded in Philadelphia in 1884 by Samuel L. Denney and his brother, they manufactured paper tags used for everything from inventory control to pricing. By the time the company moved from Philadelphia into an old school building on West Barnard Street in the spring of 1888, business was booming, and Denney was the second largest tag manufacturing company in the country. “The firm received a number of enormous contracts, like one for eight million tags in 1890 for the American Express Company, two million in 1894 for a firm in Charleston, South Carolina, and four million in 1900 for a firm in Cincinnati, Ohio,” according to Jones’ research. Business was so good, in fact, that plant superintendent Samuel O. Barber decided to start a company of his own, also located in West Chester, which he named the Keystone Tag Company. World War II government contracts drove Denney’s stock prices through the roof. “In 1948, company treasurer Casper H. Padmore estimated that a single share that cost $20 in 1888 was now worth between $1,850-2,000,” writes Jones, noting that Padmore himself “did well enough to own a silver Rolls Royce.” As Denney continued to expand, they bought up other firms, including Keystone, the Central Tag Company of Chicago, and Reyburn Manufacturing Company, makers of tag-printing machinery, changing their name to Denney-Reyburn in January 1961 to reflect the acquisition. Higher energy costs and tighter OSHA safety regulations chipped away at the company’s profitability starting in the 1970s, leading to a buyout in 1988. The new owners struggled, however, and sold the company two years later to Menasha Company of Wisconsin, who then closed the company down for good a short time later, thus ending West Chester’s tag manufacturing dynasty.





Aerial view, Schramm, Inc., 5/29/1957 ©Chester County Historical Society, West Chester, PA.

Schramm In 1900, Christian Schramm and Emil Maerky, immigrants from Germany and Switzerland respectively, gathered their savings and founded a company in Philadelphia to sell and repair small gasoline engines. Schramm bought out his partner three years later, expanding the engine business, but also designing air compressors, which would eventually become the main focus of the company. “Compressed air was already widely used in railroad brakes and coming into use for power tools when George W. Davidson, a stonecutter in Wilmington, asked Schramm to build him a portable compressor so he could add names to gravestones in situe instead of bringing them back to his shop,” Jones writes. “Schramm accomplished this by mounting

two engines on something that resembled a steel wheelbarrow, modified one to act as an air compressor, and connected them together with a flat drive belt.” The burgeoning compressor business, combined with a contract to make winches for World War I observation balloons, caused the company to outgrow its Philadelphia plant and spurred Schramm to look beyond the city for a suitable location. In 1917, Schramm and his son Henry bought the failing West Chester Engine Company's building for $70,000 and moved their operations here. Modern-day Schramm characterizes itself as “a manufacturer and global supplier to the hydraulic drilling industry, progressively improving the function and quality of our products to provide worldclass performance and reliability,” according to the company’s web site.

In July 2013, we profiled Schramm for our “Made in WC” issue and discovered a company that prides itself on durability and innovation, qualities exemplified by powerful hydraulic drilling rigs such as the T130XD responsible for the October 2010 rescue of 33 miners who were trapped in a collapsed mine in Chile. We also found a firm filled with passionate employees, many with other family members employed by Schramm, including some third and fourth generation workers. West Chester’s legacy of manufacturing is preserved in these stories and more, and even these stories continue to evolve. In June of this year, Schramm filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, citing a downturn in the oil and gas drilling industry that has impacted demand for its products. As of publication time, Schramm plans to sell the company at auction.





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

Most of life’s transactions are fairly straightforward: you go into a store, you see something you want, it’s got a price, and that’s what you pay for it. In the real estate world, however, transactions can be — and usually are — a little more complex, and are often the result of a series of negotiations. Most buyers (and sellers) already know that the list price on a sale property is not always set in stone. The seller, working in conjunction with the listing broker, assesses the property, the current market, and comparable properties in the area, and together they come up with a list price for the home. But there is a series of other factors and contingencies that can determine what the property ultimately sells for. While price may be the most common thing people think of when they hear the term “negotiations” applied to real estate transactions, our experienced team has seen many other factors contribute to the buying and selling process. Among the most common negotiable items are things like the date of settlement, the deposit amount, any inclusions or exclusions, built-in appliances, light fixtures, washer and dryer, and refrigerator. But we’ve also seen negotiations extend beyond the commonplace, and into things like furniture pieces, specific types of financing, the amount of down payment money, inspections and inspection time frames; a buyer can even negotiate with his or her mortgage company. There are also instances where the buyer may want to negotiate a “seller assist” during the negotiations. This is where the buyer has an approved mortgage, but where he or she may not have enough cash on hand for the closing costs, which is the money they have to bring to the settlement table. Seller assists are a more common negotiation tactic during the inspection process, if, for instance, there are material defects that come up that the buyer asks the seller to fix, and in lieu of repairing the items, the seller and buyer agree to credits. These credits go towards closing costs for the buyer, which are associated with the loan, fees, and escrow amounts. At the end of the day, the seller wants the highest price and the “cleanest” offer with the least contingencies, and the buyer wants the best price he or she can get in obtaining the property. Typically, negotiations don’t last more than a couple of days, but they can go dormant and resurface weeks or even months later if something has changed on the buyers’ or sellers’ end, or if a property is significantly overpriced and has a major price reduction. We have specialists on our team who are skilled at negotiating and strategizing for both the buyer’s and the seller’s side of the equation, and with the experience to navigate the simplest or most complex of transactions in this sellers’ market. And with an average list to sale price ratio in Chester County for the month of July of 96.82%, now is a great time to buy or list your West Chester property with us. –





a collection of borough businesses that are keeping it close to home




sold a story Michael Lynch with photos by Erik Weber



Jacque Maldonado opened the Prana House in 2015 for the purpose of providing her clients with intentionally made apothecary items


hese days, a stroll through downtown West Chester reveals a borough bustling with bars, banks, bistros and boutiques—a far cry from the time when our town was a major industrial hub. Although we are now very much steeped in a post-industrial economy with the continued expansion of the global marketplace, there are still businesses in West Chester that sell items made or manufactured locally. It is no secret that buying locally sourced or manufactured goods has multiple direct and indirect benefits for the community. For example, when purchasing items made locally, the products have less travel time from the manufacturer to your hands, which cuts down on the use of fossil fuels and packaging plastics considerably. When enough people buy locally, this can stave off the arrival of big box stores—which usually devour open space and require new roads to be built— and keep them from eclipsing smaller neighborhood businesses. And staying engaged with your local businesses also means a greater sense of community, which can produce a sense of satisfaction

when area residents know they’ve helped the local economy. We tracked down some of the West Chester retailers who are committed to “keeping it local,” by offering products that are made right here in Chester County and the surrounding area.

Prana House The Prana House, located at 109 N. Church Street, is an organic new age apothecary; their second location at 225 E. Market Street serves as a spiritual and holistic wellness center. Founder and owner Jacque Maldonado opened the Prana House in 2015 for the purpose of providing her clients with intentionally made apothecary items like signature herbal blends, elixirs, oils, tinctures, and organic body care products. Jacque also presents various workshops, hosts events, and offers private services such as herbalism, reiki, moon cycles, and teaching local community yoga classes in West Chester. As a master herbalist, Jacque’s particular set of skills can provide organic remedies to many maladies.

Inside the Church Street location of the Prana House, the natural atmosphere is enchanting, and Jacque and lead associate, Brady Waller, are warm and welcoming. Among its multitude of herbs, crystals, and other spiritual and earth-based products, the shop carries a line of items by local skin care company Pure Kindness, based in Downingtown. Pure Kindness is a local, organic, and sustainable personal care company on a mission to give back to the communities of Chester County. Their handcrafted products are made with sustainable organic ingredients, and packaged in glass and tin, never ever plastic. Pure Kindness also donates 1% of profits from their skin care and body care products to help fund local community-based projects. The Prana House also offers organic herbal tinctures made by Coatesville resident Nancy Elias. Tinctures are liquid extracts that are prepared with potable alcohol as all or a portion of the combined extraction solvent, and are convenient and easily dispensed. In addition to personal care products and herbal infusions, the Prana House also





Curtin described his chocolates as “affordable luxuries,” and Éclat Chocolate’s web page is peppered with accolades from notable food critics from around the world.

carries handcrafted jewelry by local artisan Ashlee Smith, and reiki-infused crystal healing jewelry by Hawk Couture of West Chester. You’ll also find the unique artwork of Allan Fausnaught of Woodland Woodworx based in Jennersville — the same artist who designed the Prana House’s outdoor sign. Allan’s art incorporates meticulously handcrafted pieces of natural elements such as wood, stone, and metals in the form of mythological symbols, Fibonacci-influenced patterns, and mystical emblems. From tea and tarot, to herbs, crystals, and locally-sourced art, there’s so much to see — and learn — at the Prana House.

Éclat Chocolate The French word éclat means a brilliant display or effect, and Master Chocolatier Christopher Curtin could not have chosen a more perfect name for his gourmet chocolate shop, located at 24 South High Street.

The first breath one takes upon stepping into Éclat Chocolate is undeniably effective, as the brilliant aroma of chocolate envelopes you. The dazzling selection of chocolates and confections are displayed beautifully, with plenty of samples to try and a friendly sales team ready to assist. Since its opening in December of 2004, Curtin and his production assistants at Éclat Chocolate proudly make all of their chocolates on the premises. When we caught up with him at his factory shop, Curtin discussed their daily operations, as well as partnering with other local businesses. “Production is six to seven days a week, depending on the season, and is normally done between 8:00am and 6:00pm,” he said. Curtin also explained that the filled chocolates take around 24 hours from start to finish, and that chocolate manufacturing alone can be up to 72 hours, depending on the machine and the flavor profile of the particular beans. Although

Éclat Chocolate is produced exclusively here in the borough, Curtin’s products are sold at numerous locations around the country, and they've recently expanded into the Japanese market. Besides cocoa beans and other tropical ingredients such as vanilla, Curtin and his team reported that they are fortunate to be able to find everything they need locally. “Luckily, we have so many incredibly talented suppliers and craftspeople, so we normally don’t have to travel far,” Curtin said. “Working with local artisans is also very inspiring,” he added, and mentioned that Éclat Chocolate has paired up with other area favorites such as Longwood Gardens, Victory Brew Co., Doe Run, La Colombe Coffee, and numerous local chefs, as well as internationally known figures such as Eric Ripert and the late Anthony Bourdain. Curtin described his chocolates as “affordable luxuries,” and Éclat Chocolate’s web page is peppered with accolades from





Next time you find yourself on Market Street, pop into 5 Senses, where ‘Think, Shop, and Buy Local’ continues to be their mission.

notable food critics from around the world. Curtin is the recipient of multiple awards, and continues to enjoy a strong following in and around Philadelphia and the East Coast. Fortunately for all of us in West Chester, we can stay right here to indulge in this local luxury.

The 5 Senses The owner of The 5 Senses, Karen Cavin, opened her shop in 2005 and hosts a collection of functional art objects chosen to satisfy one or more of your... you guessed it, five senses. The charming little shop hones in on North American, handcrafted, functional items such as pottery, jewelry, glass, textiles, metal art, candles, wind chimes, and cards for all occasions. Karen mentioned that every piece has a story behind it, and that her employees pride themselves on providing insight into each artist’s work. Karen believes that knowing the history behind your purchase enhances the shopping experience. When we caught up with her at the shop located at 133 Market Street, she discussed with

us the process involved in choosing the artists with whom she works. “Some local artists find us, or we go to local art craft shows to find new local artists," she said. "Beyond that, the other 100 artists and vendors we represent are found at buyer shows in New York and Philadelphia.” Karen also discussed her customers’ growing preference for local items. “Our regular customers prefer items made locally in West Chester, Chester County, and in the US. We have always preferred finding up-cycled or recycled items, and are bringing in new items weekly." Karen and her team also gift wrap every item sold at 5 Senses, and she explained the evolution of their packaging. “We will wrap everything, and since our beginning, our packaging has been plain brown Kraft bags and boxes, which we can then dress up with colorful tissue and raffia ribbon. In the early years, some customers didn't like that so much. Now we hear how our gift bags look so great, and best of all, that [customers] don’t have to wrap anything themselves,” she said.

Next time you find yourself on Market Street, pop into 5 Senses, where “Think, Shop, and Buy Local” continues to be their mission.

All the Dogs Becky Hoffman opened the chic dog boutique All the Dogs on Church Street in the Spring of 2018 with the goal of offering a hip line of eco-friendly and locally-sourced products for your canine companions. [Fun fact/editor's note: the space is the original HQ of The WC Press.] This super cute shop is bright and cheery, with a smart selection of supplies that Becky and Cori Hoffman — Becky’s cousin and primary sales associate — described as inspired by "community and nature." Becky and Cori choose gear, treats, toys, and skin-care products that they believe not only make a positive impact on the lives of our four-legged friends, but also the planet. All the Dogs offers dog supplies made with an earth-first approach, such as eye-catching food bowls made of plant material and recycled chopsticks, to





handcrafted pillows that are partially constructed from recycled water bottles. In addition to their quality crafted merchandise with the health of your pup and Mother Nature in mind, many of the items at All the Dogs are also locally made. Among their vast selection of treats, Becky and Cori carry Bruno Bits, which are gourmet dog treats made by chef/owner Donna Wetterlund of Chadds Ford with no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives using, human-quality ingredients. Another big seller is Luna Blu Biscuits from Aston in Delaware County, which are peanut butter treats hand-stamped with “I Woof U." The shop offers Hemp Martingale Collars by Anne Marie Unger of Hand and Paw Studio, as well as Mika and Sammy Pet Treats and Bones, businesses whose products are sourced and made in Berks County and Philadelphia, respectively.

[All the Dogs] carry a line of handcrafted bandannas made by ... Judi Cummings of West Chester

Becky and Cori also carry a line of handcrafted bandannas made by Cori’s mom, Judi Cummings of West Chester. Judi purchases all materials from local fabric shops, and her styles vary from fun prints like llamas and flamingos to Philadelphia sports teams — she’s currently sewing a batch of Gritty and Eagles’ bandannas. The walls of All the Dogs are consistently adorned with doggy-inspired, framed artwork by local artists Lou Lou Clayton, Kris Berlin, and Michelle Hart Kania. The shop also carries printed note cards designed and painted by West Chester resident Heather Carey. Of course, your dog is always welcome inside, and free sample treats are available to all of your bewhiskered buddies, so stop in and peruse with your pooch.

KALY Since 1988, KALY women's boutique has specialized in unique clothing, artisan handmade jewelry, eclectic gifts and accessories, all centrally located at 37 West Gay Street. For over 30 years, KALY has offered local, handmade, organic, and American-made products, as well as fair trade lines from around the world. We chatted with the owner of KALY, Polly Zobel, about the handcrafted and locally-sourced items available at her boutique, where she has found that the town of West Chester — as a brand — has become somewhat of a hot commodity itself.

... handmade by Jeannie Nelson and Jen Saller, two of Kaly’s employees ... [Kaly] carries West Chester Charlie coasters



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Double Diamond Tattoo of West Chester drew the image of Atticus for the shop’s Atticus University sweatshirt

“There's more of a sense of pride toward West Chester these days, and people like to buy gifts that represent the quirky, fun, artsy nature of the town,” she said. Polly explained that the demand for handcrafted jewelry and other items made by West Chester artisans has grown considerably. “People love it as a selling point.” Locally manufactured items at KALY include Clay Born Pottery by Nancy Soloman, which is handmade, functional, and sculptural stoneware. No two pieces of Nancy's pottery are painted alike, and all are ovenproof, dishwasher-safe, and microwaveable. KALY also carries ceramics by West Chester's Louise Vance, who combines her joy of gardening, painting, and pottery by creating one-of-a-kind pieces with a unique floral pattern. Polly pointed out the shop’s selection of silk screen-printed marble coasters by West Chester Charlie. Their products are handmade by Jeannie Nelson and Jen Saller, two of Kaly’s employees. Jeannie and Jen started West Chester Charlie a year ago when they saw a need from people who wanted to promote their pride in the town. The shop carries West Chester

Charlie coasters and tee shirts that make great gifts, excellent for WC people who've moved away and still want to represent the town. Jeanie and Jen print hilarious, relatable sayings and quotes on the coasters that cover every mood and are perfect for any office or living room.

May 23 Johnny Dynamite — a/k/a Steve Riek — opened May 23 in 2008 as an online tee-shirt store. Five years later, he expanded to his first brick and mortar shop located at 117 West Gay Street, which is now a hip, funky boutique offering fashionable clothing and accessories for both men and women. The shop exudes an old-school-meets-modern sensibility with an Atari gaming system, vintage lunch boxes, and other fun décor items and accessories. Along with the countless ways in which May 23 can broaden your wardrobe, the shop doubles as a mini record store with rare and limited-edition vinyl records for sale. And as a borough-based retailer, May 23 also carries many locally made products.

Steve’s background is in graphic design, and he creates and prints many of May 23’s shirts himself — but he also gets by with a little help from his friends. “We do all of the printing locally, and we also have some local artists who assist in the design process,” he said. Steve further explained how West Chester street artist Cassius King designed their Rock-Paper-Scissors tee, and that Double Diamond Tattoo of West Chester drew the image of Atticus for the shop’s Atticus University sweatshirt (Atticus is Steve’s adorable Yorkshire terrier who is also the shop’s live-in mascot). Like many other local businesses, May 23 has felt the stiff competition of larger retail operations over the years. “There are so many options out there now. It can be tough to compete in the world of Amazon and discount stores,” Steve said. Although big box stores and online giants are inevitable, where else can you pick up a tee shirt that confesses Aunt Becky Got Me Into West Chester, or a cheeky West Chester tribute tee that reads Gay and High since 1788? Only at May 23. And only in WC.





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

School is back in session! As if transitioning from vacation to study mode isn’t hard enough, finding the perfect place in your home for your children’s studies can be even more of a challenge. Small bedrooms make for cramped and confined desk areas, but opening your house to other work zones can solve your space dilemmas while keeping it a productive and quiet place to call their own if you follow these simple tips. The most important thing to consider for productivity is the space. What kind of environment does your child thrive in? There are some who are efficient when working alone and others who are better suited for a shared learning space. The best quieter areas are bedrooms, offices, or, sometimes, living rooms. Co-working environments are spots such as kitchen tables, islands or family rooms. It is important in the more social areas to keep the surrounding distractions to a minimum. (So maybe make sure the TV’s off!) There are many surface options to consider. Make sure that the top is hard and flat. Tables that you can sit or stand at are preferable. Surfaces such as uneven reclaimed wood or textural tables are not the best for resting a computer or writing on. A clean working area is necessary for limiting distractions, so keep the study zone organized and free from clutter. Unlike your traditional desk, a communal dining table doesn’t come with built-in organization. In these shared spaces it’s best to keep study materials and documents easily accessible. You can hide study tools in a buffet table or filing storage under an open console, or in a bin on a kitchen counter... options abound. Keeping everything organized in a single area will help to limit distractions when searching for something! Once you’ve identified the perfect study spot, it’s time to shed some light on your work environment. Task lighting is key to staying concentrated. Whether it be a sconce, desk lamp, or overhead lighting, there needs to be a light source that is focused and pointed directly on the work at hand. This is also the best lighting for your eyes while working. Finding the right study spot for your kiddos is essential for a productive year. Work together with your children to find that sweet spot for their school year. Bringing together the right design tools will help to transform unexpected places into an efficient environment for learning. Good luck in the upcoming school year! – PSST! Shopping for your back to school workspace? You will find one of a kind statement pieces at these local joints: Thrifty Vintage, 14 North Church Street Old Soul Decor, 119 West Market Street Giunta’s Furniture, 513 East Gay Street



Uptown! Speaker Series: Ray Didinger Tuesday, September 17

Jazz Cocktail Hour: Sherry Wilson Butler & The Aaron Graves Quartet Thursday, September 19

Beginnings Celebration of the Music of Chicago Saturday, September 21

West Chester Studio at Uptown! Fall Classes Begin



s t n e v E r e b m e t p e S Can’t-Miss

9/8 September 8

Y.L.S. Bridal Expo

September 7

Annual Secret Gardens of West Chester Tour & Plant Sale

For the 15th year in a row, you’ll have the opportunity to visit exclusive private gardens in the Everhart Park area. Enjoy local musicians and artists throughout the day in many of the gardens. This year, the plant sale and “day of” ticket sales will be held at The Chester County Art Association. The event will go from 10am-3pm. Everhart Park West Chester | 610.436.9010

Rams Head 10th Anniversary

Rams Head is celebrating their 10th in West Chester! Join them for a night full of food, drink specials, anniversary T-shirts, raffles and giveaways. Keep an eye on their events page on Facebook for more details. Rams Head Bar & Grill 40 E Market St | 484.631.0241

Looking to plan a wedding in the near future? Come out to the Quality Inn & Suites Conference Center for a bridal expo in West Chester, from 10am-2pm. Get ahead and find the best businesses to work with, to help plan your big day! This event is free to attend, after registering online. Get great discounts, free samples, trials and have a chance to win prizes or gift card giveaways. Y.L.S. Bridal 943 S High St | 484.392.5272

Faunbrook Open House

Beyond an incredible venue for private parties, weddings and events, Faunbrook B&B is a property rich in West Chester history— it was built in 1860 and purchased in 1867 by the Darlington family (whose name everyone in West Chester will recognize. So, if you’re interested in hosting your next big event there, now’s your chance to get the tour! They will provide light bites from The Original Spence Cafe to enjoy. The event is from 1-3pm. This is free to attend, but an RSVP on their Facebook event page is encouraged. Faunbrook Bed & Breakfast 699 W Rosedale Ave | 610.436.5788

September 12

Opening Art Reception

Chester County Art Association is hosting an opening reception from 5-7pm. Exhibits included are Oxford Art Alliance Exchange, When in Doubt, Add Yellow, and their Barclay Friends Plein Air pop-up. This event is free to the public to attend. Chester County Art Association 100 N Bradford Ave | 610.696.5600

Sept. 13

10th Annual STOMPS Cancer 5K and 1K Walk

This event proudly supports the Bringing Hope Home organization with their annual 5K and Family 1-mile walk. This family-friendly event brings the community together to stomp cancer through raising funds to help with household bills for local families struggling with cancer. Both the walk and the run are $25 to register and go from 6:30-9pm. Bringing Home Hope Downtown West Chester






September 15

Chester County Restaurant Festival

It’s this festival’s 40th anniversary, and you won’t want to miss it. The entire family can come enjoy more than 65 restaurants, caterers, food vendors, and arts and craft vendors. There will also be live music at three different stage areas, and a beer and wine garden. The event will run 12-5:30pm and is free to attend. The beer and wine garden will have an entry fee of $3.00, with all proceeds going towards WC Parks and Recreation’s Send A Kid to Camp Fund. Parking will be $5 all day at the garages. West Chester Parks and Recreation Downtown West Chester 610.436.9010 |

September 16

DIY Terrarium Night

Levante Brewing is teaming up with Topo Environments for a night full of terrarium making. The event is from 6-10pm, and tickets are $50 available through Levante’s website. Your ticket includes everything you’ll need to make the succulent terrarium, and also a 12 oz pour of anything on their draft list. Levante Brewing Company 208 Carter Dr Suite 2 | 484.999.8761

September 17

Uptown! Speaker Series: Ray Didinger

Famous writer Ray Didinger is coming to Uptown! this month. Ray Didinger won six Emmy Awards as a producer and writer with NFL Films. He is the author of 12 books on sports, including three recent bestsellers: The Eagles Encyclopedia: Champions Edition, One Last Read, and The Ultimate Book of Sports Movies. Don’t miss your chance to see him starting at 6:30pm. Tickets can be purchased online. Uptown! Knauer Performing Arts Center 226 N High St | 610.356.2787

September 21

Unite for HER 5K Run, 2K Walk & Kids Dash

Join in on this year’s run, presented by Swayne Realty. Come out and unite with the community to run by HER side in support of those affected by breast cancer. Last year’s turn out was a record of 1500 people, and they hope to have

even more this year. A cash prize will be awarded to the top male and female finishers. If you’re not into running, attend their Family Tailgate featuring a “Cheers To You” Champagne Bar, complementary bites, and local food trucks. Additionally there will be a DJ, games, a bounce house, a photo booth, and local vendors. Unite for Her Downtown West Chester | 610.883.1177

September 29

Westtown Day 2019

The historic Oakbourne Mansion and grounds is holding a special day full of fun for everyone. They are featuring live bands, carnival games, Looney Balloons petting zoo animals, food trucks, pony rides, pumpkin decorating, face painting, and much more! The event is from 11am-3pm and is free to attend. Local businesses, artists, breweries, and vendors will be there to enjoy as well. Oakbourne Mansion and Park 1014 S Concord Rd | 610.692.1930





Near and Far

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

West Chester has some of the most amazing food, as was wonderfully shared in last month’s new Taste magazine. I can’t tell you the last time I have left the borough for a meal. Every month there seems to be a new place opening and there is no shortage of being able to relax and have a meal served to you. Yet, while I enjoy going out to eat more than most, one of my favorite activities is cooking. Growing up I was sort of thrown into getting dinner started while my mom was late at the office. I perfected the art of throwing every spice in the cabinet on chicken. I thought I was being creative and chef like. The reality was that I created a Frankenstein of flavors that my parents graciously ate with plenty of water to wash it down so they wouldn’t hurt my feelings. As an adult, I enjoy cooking shows, finding new and adventurous recipes to test on my kids (and sometimes the dog), and attending cooking classes. Recently, on a board retreat in the Cayman Islands I had the chance to attend a Caribbean cooking and mixology class at the Kimpton Seafire Resort and Spa. One of Grand Cayman’s newest resorts, the Seafire had really big shoes to fill in the food and beverage segment. Grand Cayman has built a reputation for being one of the top foodie destinations in the Caribbean. The island boasts more than 200 restaurants and celebrity-level food events every year. During our cooking class we learned how to filet a whole fish and turn it into ceviche. I watched, but since the fish was looking at me with a frown on his face, the chef was kind enough to teach me how to make vegan ceviche that was just as impressive. Our mixology lesson didn’t just give us the ingredients to make an amazing cocktail; our bartender shared the history of each cocktail, the importance of plenty of ice to keep the drink from getting watered down, and the intricate technique to get the drink just right. I have a new appreciation for James Bond’s famous words: shaken not stirred. Back in Pennsylvania the Kitchen Workshop in Paoli is a fun and interactive place to develop new skills, learn how to hold a knife without cutting off a finger and how to effortlessly create a meal from scratch in under two hours. Our team took over the Kitchen Workshop for a work event and we left with full bellies, leftovers and stories to share for years to come about the laughs, lessons, and memories of Art and his class. A great place for a girls night out, date night, family event, kids camp, or just a break from the norm, the Kitchen Workshop offers classes on spices, international cuisine, sauces and even 10-week boot camps for those that need a serious crash course on the art of cooking. Whether you are learning to cook a new cuisine in a foreign locale or need a fun way to brush up your skills and learn how to actually spice chicken correctly, sign up for a class and get in the kitchen. Learning to cook new things, or maybe just learning to cook in general, is a wonderful way to tantalize taste buds and create memories that will last much longer than the food on your plate. —



2019 Mazda3 Sedan

2018 Mazda6 Sedan

2019 Mazda CX-5

Piazza Mazda

(610) 399-5330

of West Chester



If you can spot the five differences in this photo of the locally made dog bandanas available at All the Dogs, email your answers to, and you’ve got a chance to win a Barnaby’s gift certificate. Congrats to our August winner, Keenan A. Bowers from Fulton Bank’s West Chester office.





September Playlist DJ Romeo curates a list of the tracks you’ll be singing all month 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

Macklemore ft. IRO - “Shadow” Normani - “Motivation” Taylor Swift - “Lover” Miley Cyrus - “Slide Away” Diplo ft. Morgan Wallen - “Heartless” Ariana Grande & Social House - “Boyfriend” Lil Nas X ft. Cardi B - “Rodeo” Bazzi - “Soul Searching” Old Dominion - “My Heart Is a Bar” Luav ft. Anne-Marie - “I’m Lonely” Pop Smoke ft. Nicki Minaj - “Welcome To The Party” (Remix) Pink ft. Cash Cash - “Can We Pretend” NF - “Time” Goo Goo Dolls - “Miracle Pill” Snoop Dogg - “I Wanna Thank Me” OneRepublic - “Rescue Me” Judah & The Lion - “Why Did You Run?” Niko Moon - “GOOD TIME” Lonely God - “Marlboro Nights” Loud Luxury ft. Bryce Vine - “I’m Not Alright” Lil Tecca - “Ransom” A$ton Wyld - “Next Level” Luke Bryan - “Knockin’ Boots” Haiti Babii - “Change Ya Life” Post Malone ft. Young Thug - “Goodbyes” The Chainsmokers - “Takeaway” ASCEND ft. Jon Bellion - “Good Things Fall Apart” The Lumineers - “Junior Sparks” The Highwomen - “Redesigning Women” Regard - “Ride It”







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