Pop some corn: seems the western Main Line is going to the movies.
One of the nation’s largest movie chains is THISCLOSE to inking a deal with Uptown Worthington, the long-time-coming lifestyle center near the Malvern Wegmans.
The center’s owner, developer Brian O’Neill, tells SAVVY that a dine-in theater with full bar plans to take 43,000 sq. ft. and should open in a year or so.
Two prior deals with movie chains cratered a few years back, but we’re told this one should be a wrap by early January.
O’Neill also tells us he’s nearing a deal with Main Line restaurateur Marty Grims. The White Dog Café/Autograph Brasserie/Moshulu owner wants to open a “super hip” spot at Worthington, something along the lines of the buzzy Wm. Mulherin’s Sons in Fishtown, O’Neill says.
Grims may be eyeing Malvern but he’s been focused on Philly of late. He just finished a huge expansion of White Dog’s flagship in University City, adding 80 seats in two new rooms. And he’s introducing a new European bistro concept, Louie-Louie, at the nearby Inn at Penn next spring.
Meanwhile, plans to put a deluxe theater at the long vacant Pathmark site in Tredyffrin have gone dark.
The owner of the Swedesford Plaza Shopping Center tells SAVVY the chances of closing a theater deal are now “extremely remote.”
“We’re going in a different direction; we can’t wait forever,” says ECHO Realty Senior VP Drew Gorman.
Also not coming to Tredyffrin – sorry, folks – a replacement supermarket. ECHO has had no luck attracting a grocer.
Gorman says the big anchor holes at either end of the Swedesford center (HH Gregg and Pathmark) have been “incredibly challenging” to fill. There’s been a “seismic shift” in retail since his company bought the shopping center, he says, with retailers increasingly choosing to invest in e-commerce over bricks and mortar.
Still, ECHO’s been evaluating “any and all possibilities,” including converting HH Gregg to office space. Gorman says he’ll run new proposals by township officials in early January.
Heading our way: a “superfood café”
The King of Prussia Town Center is getting another healthy, fast-casual joint. Vitality Bowls Superfood Café just leased space near LA Fitness. It will be the California-based chain’s first PA outpost.
If you thought nearby Honeygrow and B. Good were good for you, wait ’til you dig into Vitality Bowls.
The house specialty: “superfruit” açaí berry bowls topped with organic granola and assorted superfoods and anti-oxidants.
Also on the menu: superfood smoothies, fresh juices, soups, salads and panini.
Unlike some smoothie chains, these guys are purists. Not only do they make everything in “non-cross contamination kitchens” (a huge plus for allergy sufferers), but they use zilcho fillers – no ice, no frozen yogurt, no added sugar, no artificial preservatives, nada.
Making new waves in Wayne
Ahoy there to Anchored in the Main Line, which just dropped anchor in the old Deconstructed Living space at 201 E. Lancaster Ave. in Wayne.
If the name rings a bell, it’s because proprietor Cindy Walsh also owns Anchored in Sea Isle.
Both stores carry affordable all-American gifts, home notions and casual apparel. If you’re partial to wine humor, inspirational sayings, puns and preppy emblems like bows, elephants and pineapples, Anchored’s your store.
“We curate products no one else has. And our prices points are medium to low so there’s something for everyone,” Cindy tells SAVVY. Retail’s just a side gig for the Wayne mother of three, who works full time as a national sales rep in the health care industry.
Among those already setting sail for Anchored: teens and young moms doing the “drop and shop” – killing time in downtown Wayne between nursery school drop-off and pickup. (Doesn’t hurt that the store manager is a teacher at nearby Wayne Presbyterian.)
Coming soon: lots of special shopping events and the opening of “Below Deck,” a lower-level gathering space.
Two more Wayne newcomers
Add a new name to the list of fine jewelry stores in Wayne. Peter Thomas Jewelers opened last week next to Painting with a Twist.
Its eponymous owner tells SAVVY he’s been in the bauble biz for 30 years, including a long stint in Texas. His new store at 105 E. Lancaster specializes in loose stones, direct diamond importing and custom design work. His team will also sell and repair watches and can broker your next Rolex in 24 hours.
With Farnan’s and Wayne Jewelers around the corner and Brian M. Smaul, Bernie Robbins and Amirian just a few minutes away, how does Thomas feel about the competition? “There’s plenty of business for everyone,” Thomas says.
Sure hope so.
Remodeling alert: Upscale kitchen and bath designer Bluebell Kitchens is moving to the shopping center near White Dog Café in Wayne. They make custom cabinets too.
Last call in Haverford Square
The women’s fashion boutique Ella’s Grove is outta here Dec. 23. Until then, everything is at least half off. But size and selection are dwindling so don’t dawdle.
Owner Fran D’Ambrosio tells SAVVY she’s calling it quits after 20 years in retail fashion so she can “relax and enjoy my life a little more … I love my customers; I love my store; but I didn’t love the day-to-day stress.”
Ella’s Grove was open for four years: two in Bryn Mawr; two in Haverford Square, a move that D’Ambrosio says doubled her business even though the space was much smaller.
Whole Foods not giving us the whole story?
Like you, we’ve long wondered what was up with the Whole Foods Market, freshly built but forlorn and seemingly forgotten in Newtown Square’s new Ellis Preserve shopping center.
So we reached out to corporate spokesgal Rachael Dean Wilson.
We didn’t get too far, but at least one rumor was put to rest. The Amazon takeover has NOT stalled “the timeline” of the new store, she said.
But when we asked (repeatedly) what was causing the looooong delay and when the store might open, she, uh, ignored us.
Meanwhile, the lights are on at last at the new Whole Foods in Exton. The store – built but idle for months at the site of the old K-Mart – will open January 18.
Among its highlights:
* A seasonal rooftop fire pit for noshing and drinking draft beer.
* Pike’s, an in-store eatery serving tortas, tacos and tequilas with a retro diner feel.
*Some 75 local suppliers of produce, grains, cheese, pork and poultry.
What sells in Tredyffrin these days
So Tredyffrin isn’t getting a new supermarket or cinema, apparently, but it sure is doing a bang-up business in …. wait for it … senior living.
Thrilling, we know.
(How prescient was the township’s slogan choice, “Your Bridge to the Future”?)
Tredyffrin currently has two senior complexes under construction and another biggie on the drawing board.
That hard-hat site across from Nudy’s in Wayne? 171 Brightview Senior Living apartments (96 independent, 50 assisted, and 25 memory-care units). Target opening date: March 2019.
And the construction site off Rte. 29 near the Atwater quarry in Malvern? Sage Senior Living’s Echo Lake at Atwater. 250 units, five stories, due to debut in late 2018.
And in between the two, Nolen Properties wants to build “Berwyn Senior Village” on the former Aquilante property off Cassatt Rd.
Nolen’s Rick Sudall tells SAVVY he’s been meeting with neighbors about his company’s plans to put a three-story apartment complex on 10 acres owned by the late Tony Aquilante, Sr., caterer and father of 16. (His widow, Betty Anne, 74, just passed last week.) Nolen proposes to build 250 units: 130 independent, 90 assisted living and 30 memory care.
Sketch plans have continued to evolve after neighbors voiced concerns about traffic and sightlines, Sudall says. (All things being equal, neighbors, per usual, would prefer single family homes.)
Nolen’s in no hurry. The company hasn’t even settled on a senior-living operator yet and doesn’t expect Berwyn Senior Village to open until 2021.
So what’s the going rate for all these sparkling new senior apartments? One-person units at Berwyn Senior Village will rent for around $3,000 a month – same ballpark as Brightview Devon, Sudall says. Sounds pricey but you do get three squares a day.
The owners of Berwyn’s Nectar hope you’ll make the trek to the new Danlu, their spectacular second location in West Philly. (Danlu translates to “nectar.”)
No gigantic Buddha but we hear the soaring ceilings and city views make the two-level space at 3601 Market St. just as stunning.
Owners Patrick Feury, Michael Wei, Henry Chu – and new partner Kevin Huang – continue to take their food seriously, too. Inspired by trips to the night markets in Taiwan, the menu of small and large plates, Chinese sandwiches and noodle, rice and raw dishes is well-priced and reportedly killer good. “The food was sensational in every way,” reports SAVVY Street Teamer Barbara Bigford, who scored an invite to the soft opening.
Longtime mom-and-pop shop pulls the plug
Open nearly 60 years, family-owned Main Line Lighting and Design is going dark. Owners Mike and Michelle Harbold tell SAVVY they’re retiring from the decorative retail lighting biz but will continue selling LED lighting out of their Exton location.
The two took the reins from Michelle’s father, who bought the store at 1538 E. Lancaster Ave. – then known as Main Line Electric – in 1966.
A retirement sale – 30 to 50 percent off and some seriously swell prizes – runs through January 20. The Harbolds tell us they’ll sell the building.
This and that
After two losing seasons, Conestoga has fired head football coach Marquis Weeks. The Pioneers went 2-8 in 2016 and 1-9 in 2017. Ouch. Weeks replaced longtime coach John Vogan, who was ousted in the school’s hazing imbroglio. A legendary Stoga running back who played briefly in the NFL, Weeks, 37, will keep his day jobs: social studies teacher at T/E Middle School and track coach at Valley Forge Military Academy.
And while we’re talking pigskin, a SAVVY shoutout to a proud product of Conestoga’s program: New York Giants linebacker Mark Herzlich. The Wayne native is the Giants’ nominee for the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year Award for outstanding community service. How cool is that?
Herzlich’s off-the-field heroics are legion. A bone-cancer survivor, he regularly visits kids with cancer in hospitals, makes surprise appearances to schools, hosts Make-a-Wish families and helps raise funds and awareness for cancer research. He and wife Danielle are also committed to ending domestic violence through their extensive work with the Joyful Heart Foundation. And especially timely in these #metoo times, the couple are hands-on board members of A Call to Men, a non-profit that teaches healthy, respectful manhood to prevent the sexual abuse of women.
We could go on and on about the onetime Stoga star, 30, who’s on injured reserve this season with a neck stinger. The Eagles nominated Malcolm Jenkins but hometown hero Herzlich has our vote.
Tacos ’til you drop. El Limon just opened its ninth taqueria near the Paoli train station. Cue the free, supersweet Margaritas. (Not kidding. They’re on the house.) Other area locations are in Ardmore, Bryn Mawr, Conshy and Malvern.
Stuck late at the office? You can still squeeze in some shopping in Wayne on Thursday nights. Wayne Open Late has been a weekly thing since August, with merchants welcoming shoppers until 8 p.m. The Wayne Business Association will host a holiday happening this Thursday, Dec. 14 at 108 E. Lancaster next to bellaDonna Gifts. Families get hot chocolate and free pics with Santa and his giant elf (not kidding) and can shop for “Wayne 19087” hats, t-shirts and onesies. Can’t make the party but want some Wayne swag? Email [email protected]
The day spa in the Van Cleve Pavilion in Paoli just had a mini-makeover. Lovely as it was, Sanctuary Spa never really took off under restaurateur Jim Creed, who unloaded it a few months ago. New owner Phyllis Gambone has a much longer track record in the beauty biz.
She warmed up the decor then tinkered with the concept, adding Body Contouring (a new fat-busting treatment), affordable mani/pedis, makeup and updo services, lash extensions/tinting, better-than-Zoom teeth whitening, organic spray tans and facial micro-needling.
Legally, you no longer have to rent a room to gamble at Valley Forge Casino Resort but you might want to. The resort just finished a splashy $6 million overhaul of 154 rooms and suites. That’s on top of a slew of recent upgrades including the “Valley Beach” Poolside Club and the revival of the Valley Forge Music Fair with bigger-name acts.
And finally, our annual roundup of nifty gifts with local ties
In no particular order, may we suggest…
Holiday cheer – without the hangover. Lose the booze but still feel like part of the party with Berwyn mom Laura Taylor’s new line of fizzy and festive drinks. Handcrafted Mingle Sparkling Mocktails are made from organic cane sugar and natural botanicals. Plus, it’s easy to swig a second; an 8-ounce pour is just 40 calories.
A non-drinker, Laura, self-appointed CMO (Chief Mingle Officer), launched her company to give abstainers a tasty alternative to clumsy bottled water and ho-hum seltzer at parties. We’ll drink to that.
Wine-sized bottles are $8.99 and are sold online and at Carlino’s in Ardmore and West Chester, Ithan Market in Villanova, bellaDonna Gifts and Tredici Italian Market in Wayne, Aneu Market in Berwyn and Talula’s Table in Kennett Square. Or ask for it by name at Merion Golf Club, Chester Valley Golf Club, Wayesborough CC and Talula’s Table. Current flavors: Melon Mojito, Moscow Mule, Cranberry Cosmo and Black Hisbiscus. Yum.
Up his gin game with a bottle of Revivalist Spirits, proudly crafted – from grain to glass – at Brandywine Branch Distillers in Elverson. Owned by Malvern’s Don Avellino, Revivalist gins come in five tasty “expressions” and are sold online and in 14 state stores including Wayne, Devon and Gateway, with scores more on the way. Or ask for them by name at Savona, White Dog, Christopher’s, Autograph, Nectar, Harvest and other fine establishments.
Know someone who’s gotta have a Wawa? Gotta get ‘em, The Five People You Meet in Wawa, a 47-page ‘shorti’ book ($12 on Amazon and Barnes and Noble). Author is onetime Ardmore mailman, now full-time local comedian Nick Kupsey.
Kupsey tells SAVVY his book has sold so well, he’s written a sequel about a different Philadelphia “institution,” due to drop in mid-January.
For the chick-lit lover: mysteries set on the Main Line. Former Philly Mag writer Amy Korman just penned her fourth “Killer WASPs” novel, Killer Holiday. Amy grew up in Wayne and graduated from Episcopal so her WASPy Bryn Mawr characters/caricatures ring true. And sting. But only a little. She’s signing copies at Wayne’s Main Point Books this Saturday, Dec. 16 at 4.
For Downton Abbey fans: the lush new coffee-table tome, Ardrossan: The Last Great Estate on the Philadelphia Main Line ($46). Because Ardrossan’s our Downton – just swap out the Granthams for the Montgomerys. Author David Nelson Wren explores every inch of the iconic Villanova mansion and the old-money family that still owns it and once entertained there in grand style. (Think fox hunts and dinner dances.) Wren had the inside track – he first became acquainted with the Montgomerys as a guest at one of Hope Montgomery Scott’s cocktail parties. His book includes never-before-published interior shots and drawings by architect Horace Trumbauer. Fun family pics, too. Splendid.
Or, for the mystery maven on your list: the new thriller by Newtown Square author William Claypool. A real Renaissance guy, Bill’s worn a few hats over the years, including physician, scientist, biotech entrepreneur and professor. His latest gig? Writing novels. And we hear his fourth, The Rice Thieves, just published this fall, is his smartest yet. The plot centers around stolen bio-engineered “super rice.” Geopolitical thrills and chills ensue. $5 on Kindle; $15 on Amazon.
Smile! Polaroid-style pics are baaaaack. Tweens and teens will flip for this FujiFilm Instax Mini 9 camera.
With a “selfie mirror” on the lens, automatic light adjustment, Instax makes instant-print pics, well, a snap. Millennials, meanwhile, will appreciate the retro-styling and whiz-bang features of this Lomo’Instant Wide Camera. Lomo combines the creative control of Instagram with the instant gratification of a photo in your hand. Cool.
The Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 is $59.99 at The Camera Shop in Bryn Mawr. (Fifty percent off a case if you say you saw it in SAVVY.) The Lomo’Instant Wide Camera combo package comes with a close-up and ultra-wide angle lens and four color filters (as shown above), $259 at The Camera Shop.
For intrepid animal lovers: a heart-pumping visit to Treetop Adventures, the ziplines, ropes courses and games at the Elmwood Park Zoo. The Norristown zoo is the only place in PA where you can zip over animal exhibits, up to 50 ft. off the ground. Young’uns can tackle the Cub Climb; anyone over 54” can try the Treetop Zoofari, a Night Adventure or the new Expedition Elk with free-fall platform jump.
Help him get his Game of Thrones on with a gift card to Urban Axes – a 8,000 sq. ft. warehouse in Kensington where you throw sharp blades at bullseyes instead of darts. Yup, competitive ax throwing is a thing and millennials ADORE it. Sessions are 2.5 hours and you can bring in food and booze. Not to worry – everybody gets a lesson and is supervised. Age 21 and up.
Another one for your adult kids in Philly: a trip to SPiN, the new subterranean ping pong social club at 15th and Walnut that puts your basement rec room to shame. SPiN has 17 Olympic-sized tables, a full bar, DJ booth, a kitchen, a Red Room, seriously hip street art by King Saladeen, scratch-and-sniff wallpaper and more. Anyone with the, er, balls to play in public – newbie or experienced – is welcome.
For gamers in the burbs: tickets to match wits with the creators of 5 Wits at the Plymouth Meeting Mall. Like the escape-the-room games in Philly but way more elaborate and with splashier special effects.
Current adventures at 5 Wits: Espionage, Pharaoh’s Tomb and Drago’s Castle. Treat ’em to one ($20), two ($26) or all three ($30).
For your heartbroken pal: a handcrafted “badge of courage” ring or pendant from Stacey Fay Designs.
The Narberth bauble maker, who’s had her share of hard times, believes jewelry should mark life’s ups AND downs and can be a powerful source of remembrance, strength and hope.
Hence, her vintage-style “memoir” line (below): a glass enamel remembrance/grief ring inscribed with “there is a light that never goes out” and a double-sided divorce pendant or ring engraved with a North Star and a horse, symbolizing hope, direction and strength. Customize with your preferred stone, metal and enamel. Rings are $375; pendants begin at $210. Order online. Also sold at Sweet Mabel in Narberth.
For the working gal with aching or hard-to-fit feet: a pair of handmade Margaux flats. Co-founded by Wayne whippersnapper Alexa Buckley (EA ’10, Harvard ’14) just two years ago, Margaux is already redefining how footwear is sized and sold.
Handmade in Spain at surprisingly affordable prices ($125-$245), Margaux signature flats and new chunky-heeled pumps are crafted for morning-til-night comfort. They come in three widths and sizes 2.5 to 14. Order them online and they’ll arrive in a few days. Got weird feet? Ask them to send a fitting kit; Margaux will custom make you a pair in six weeks.
For anyone who wants to speed healing, lose weight, improve mood, sleep, skin or anything that ails them: a package of cryosauna sessions at Restore Cryosauna in Wayne or Haverford.
Everyone from Kobe Bryant to the cast of Dancing with the Stars swears by cryotherapy, the hottest – scratch that – coolest inflammation fighter since turmeric.
Treatments are brisk, too – just 2 to 3 minutes in a tank set at subzero (-260-degree) temps. Among Restore’s many happy clients: student athletes, arthritis sufferers, folks looking to shed pounds or tighten skin, and smart peeps who want to ward off diseases caused by chronic inflammation. Sessions begin at $20.
Add some oomph to his or her workout with Training Laces. Invented by Wayne entrepreneur Jay Ciccarone and Malvern Prep-based Rising Sons Lacrosse coach Tad Doyle, training laces are flexible weights that wrap around a baseball bat, a lacrosse stick, an arm or ankle. Unlike the clumsy strap-on or velcro weights of yore, Training Laces stay put, don’t chafe and are non-toxic. $24- $40 online or on Amazon.
Until next time, happy (and savvy) shopping, Merry Christmas/Happy Hanukkah and all the best in 2018!
– Caroline and Team SAVVY