JP Weber clearly remembers the day he died.
“I can’t go back there,” he thought on June 3, 2016. “I’m never going in there again.”
An elite loan originator for PNC Bank, Weber quit his job that late spring morning and walked, blindly, off a cliff. The old JP – people-pleasing, Percocet-popping, life-of-the-party JP – long crumbling, collapsed completely. And ever-so-slowly, canvas by canvas, rose up and pieced himself back together.
Pinstripe-suited Joseph Paul Weber was buried that Friday morning. Ponytailed, self-actualized artist @JohnHamster was born.
What some call a complete mental breakdown, JP calls The Undoing.
“I have a feeling that I’m at the beginning of a wave of people who are going to be going through this,” he says, calling out a world where there’s “too much distance from the soul.”
There will come a reckoning, he warns.
JP Weber’s undoing had been building for years.
- The social binge drinking. “I would drink a case of beer. It was how I survived,” Weber recalls. “Everyone … thought I was awesome and fun. But people I had to live with thought I was an asshole.”
- The impinged vertebrae in his neck, triggered by work stress and an exacting boss.
- The addiction to opiates, prescribed for neck pain in increasing dosages for five years. “I numbed my way through the pain.”
- The growing distance from his wife, Lindsey Meyer, his Conestoga High School Class of ’94 sweetheart, and daughters, Emma, now 14, Lucy, 11, and Jane, 8. “I was repeating the same hurts to my children that I had,” Weber says. His own father, a partner at a Big Eight accounting firm, was “never home.” Lindsey recalls “trying to stay afloat with three kids and a husband who wasn’t home …It felt stressful around here but I wasn’t fully aware.”
- The dawning realization that his job was a colossal mismatch. “JP’s in banking? Really?” friends would ask. But the couple didn’t blink. He was GREAT at loan origination, after all, in the President’s Club, tops in his group. “I never made a cold call,” JP recalls. “I just would help others and it would come back.” And his parents approved. “It was the first time I was getting nods from my dad that I was doing something right.”
The common thread? “I found myself through others. I didn’t find myself through me.”
In the years before he cratered, JP had begun to make changes.
He quit drinking.
He took up hot yoga, turning “225 pounds of muscle into 170 pounds of lean,” a 48 Regular into a 42 Long. (Although now he finds himself in “a mushy place in the middle.”) What started as a way to avoid neck surgery became a way of life. Until it closed, Lindsey and JP would take shifts at Bikram Yoga in Berwyn. “Yoga changed our home. It bonded us.”
But Percocet remained a problem. In May of 2015 he turned down a job offer with a $200,000 signing bonus because he knew he’d have to get off painkillers to function in a more demanding role. “I would have just fallen down the same spiral. At PNC, things were easy because of who I was and what I did.”
Six months later, after repeated attempts to quit the pills (“I couldn’t take that first damn step”), an addiction specialist at Bryn Mawr Rehab wrote “scrips for the most Valium I could shove in my face” to get him through withdrawal. In five days, he was off Percocet forever. “I went cold turkey and haven’t had one since.”
But his job at PNC remained unrelenting. A boss forced him to go on business trips when he was unwell and to sign a confession for something he says he didn’t do, i.e. failing to protect his customers’ data. To escape mounting unease, the Starbucks in Gateway became his other home.
On June 3, engulfed by angst, he cratered.
In the dark days that followed, JP would sit in front of a mirror for hours, obsessively picking at his face. Who am I? And what the f#&@ is going on?
He went on disability for mental illness. “Not that I was suicidal, but I could see how this invalidation leads to suicide. I could see how easy it is to stay on Oxy.”
On his fourth try, JP clicked with therapist Ushi Tandon, who helped him deconstruct, then reassemble his unexamined life.
Glimmers of daylight dawned.
Dormant creativity, squelched by his family in childhood, rose again, insistent.
He began flushing out his feelings on canvas. Toys, rulers, tools, whatever was handy, became his brushes. Shaky at first, his hands turned sure.
His creations were florescent, riotous, intricate explosions. What was stuck became unplugged. A life put on hold gushed forth.
Paintings piled up in his garage and basement.
“At first, I was embarrassed,” his wife admits. “I wasn’t sure what this was all about. Why wasn’t JP in a suit? What’s going on around here?”
But then, she started sharing his artwork with friends. The response was overwhelming. Even JP’s father, although he professed not to understand it, acknowledged “there was something there.”
JP’s disability ran out and he was officially fired from PNC Bank on his 44th birthday in August of 2019. His art would have to pay the bills.
Word of his talent started percolating through the Main Line and beyond.
His paintings hung at La Cabra Brewing, then at StudioFlora in Berwyn and are now on display at Christopher’s in Wayne and Malvern and at Aneu in Rosemont.
A collector of “outsider art,” StudioFlora owner Chrissy Piombino, in particular, was blown away by the paintings she saw in JP’s garage. At Piombino’s urging and with help from Ardmore fiber artist Holly Guertin (Ernie and Irene), his patterned pieces now appear on textiles, zip pouches, linens, some of which are carried at StudioFlora.
The Chicago nonprofit, You Are Beautiful, named JP its January artist of the month. People around the country have until Jan. 23 to buy his uplifting YAB stickers.
His burgeoning @JohnHamster Instagram shows a parade of commercial and residential spaces enlivened by his stunning canvases.
Next on his vision board? Taking his talents on the road to outsider art shows around the country. He also hopes to speak publicly about overcoming mental-health challenges.
“The old me died in an instant,” he says.
In a blaze of glorious color, JP has returned, triumphant.
***Take a quick trip inside the head of JP Weber in this short clip from our fab video partner, OnUp Media.***
Game over for Wayne Sporting Goods
Wayne Sporting Goods, a family-owned landmark for more than 60 years, sold off its team sports business to a national player and is closing its retail store.
“BSN Sports came to us and made us a fair offer,” owner Roger Galczenski tells SAVVY. “They’re really nice people.”
Although Wayne Sporting Goods has been upgrading operations since the late 90s, sales have been sliding. “No one wants to buy anything unless it’s on sale,” Galczenski laments. “We had three consecutive years of profits going down. We had no reason to think 2020 would be any better.”
Unlike most Wayne businesses, Galczenski owns the three-story, 12,000 sq. ft. building that has housed WSG for 60 years. He tells us he doesn’t want to be a landlord and hopes to sell the building.
His father, Alvin, started WSG in the former Floyd’s Bowling Alley in Rosemont in 1955, then moved to the Farnan’s Jewelry building on N. Wayne Ave. for a few years.
Now 73, Roger Galczenski says he’s ready to retire.
“I’ve been coming in every day for 50-some years. The other morning when I woke up it was raining and dark and I thought I’d like to lay in bed. I think I’ll get used to retirement. We’ll see.”
Galczenski’s son, Steve, and his support team will join BSN, servicing current WSG teams from Malvern Prep, Shipley and Eastern University and beyond.
Meanwhile, a 30-percent-off clearance sale began last week. Glaczenski says discounts will deepen until he shuts off the lights for good, likely by the end of February.
Dodo Hamilton’s Wayne estate slated for development
Plans are afoot to build multiple homes on the former estate of the late heiress/philanthropist Dodo Hamilton behind Eagle Village Shops in Strafford.
There was some early talk – wishful thinking, perhaps – that the land, which includes a manor home, greenhouses and multiple specimen plantings, would become an offshoot of the PA Horticultural Society. An avid gardener, Hamilton’s entries were perennial winners at the Philadelphia Flower Show, staged by the society.
But sources tell us valuable specimen plantings have been removed and the land, roughly eight acres of primo real estate, is now in the hands of Haverford Properties, where Dodo’s grandson, Sam Hamilton, is a principal.
Seeking neighbors input, the developer shared preliminary ideas with Radnor Commissioner Jack Larkin.
According to Larkin, one plan would put 40 single-family homes on two lots. An alternative plan calls for 41 townhomes on the main property and nine singles on a narrow stretch of land to the east. (Townhomes are not a permitted use under current zoning and would require special approval from the township.)
Concerned about potential traffic and flooding, neighbors crafted a wish list for the property this week, shared with SAVVY. Among its requests:
- A detailed stormwater management plan and a commitment from the developer and/or township to put aside money to address any resulting stormwater issues.
- A commitment to maintain the same number of mature trees on the property.
- Seven single homes instead of nine on the east lot.
- Sidewalks from the development to the train station and traffic-calming measures.
“I get the sense that the developer is invested and wants to work with people and not put a blight on the neighborhood,” Larkin tells SAVVY.
Larkin will host a town hall about the proposed development Thursday, Jan. 30 at 7 p.m. at the Radnor Township Municipal Building.
After nine years in Paoli, Philly Bloke just moved to a new home in Wayne.
And may we say, his new digs are smashing. With a clubby lounge, TVs and a central bar with complimentary cold brew on draft and cold IPAs in the fridge, you might just hang out awhile after your haircut.
And that would be A-OK with owner Eric DeBella, who chose Wayne for its walkable, community feel and more central location.
“We’re all about building relationships,” DeBella says. “We hope clients will stop by whether they’re getting a haircut or not.”
Philly Bloke offers men’s and boy’s cuts (discounts for father-son tandems), beard grooming, and color blending and just launched its own haircare line.
What’s hot in men’s hair? Longer hair and, yes, beards. About 90 percent of his clients have them, DeBella says.
Double the size of Paoli, the new Bloke is a stylish redo of the former Renewal Studio on West Ave. next to Cornerstone Bistro and across from the Great American Pub. (Because he likes to “feed the people who feed me,” DeBella asked longtime customer Brad Giresi to design the buildout and the wife of another Paoli client, Gina Whalen, to help with interiors.)
So what’s a Philly Bloke anyway? A gent who strives to better himself and make a difference in the lives of others, DeBella says. Someone who “feels good about his identity.” In other words, a bloke who’s woke.
Philly Bloke, 15 West Avenue, Wayne, 610-644-3984, is open Tues. – Sat. Appointments strongly recommended. Men’s cuts from $33.
A ‘Wild Life’ – on the Main Line and far beyond
When renowned Penn psychologist Robert Seyfarth enrolled his daughters at Shipley, he warned the school that his girls would be part-timers. They’d spend some of the year in Bryn Mawr, but most of it with their parents in a remote camp in Botswana studying the social life of baboons – nature’s classroom, as it were.
No problem, Shipley said. Just make sure they “keep up with math and make them write every day,” Seyfarth recalls.
Terrific advice, it turns out.
Because Seyfarth’s older daughter, Keena, Shipley Class of 2002, just published her first book, Wild Life: Dispatches from a Childhood of Baboons and Button-Downs, a memoir that the author says came from “piles of journals in a closet.”
No daily journal writing from age 8 to 18, no Wild Life.
And what a shame that would be.
We’d never hear about Keena’s extraordinary youth, wherein struggling to survive as “the weird kid” in a Main Line prep school could be tougher than fending off hungry hippos in the bush.
We’d never meet fearless, swashbuckling Keena, who felt at home among circling lions but like an alien on the Shipley field-hockey team.
A first-time author whose day job is health-policy research, it took Keena seven years and four rewrites to get the story right, she says.
She’s already working on book two: a fantasy novel. “It’s Watership Down but with baboons,” the Harvard/Hopkins grad tells SAVVY.
Count on another wild ride.
You only get one face, after all.
You want skilled hands, a cutting-edge mind and a caring heart.
Tall order, right?
Not for Dr. Brannon Claytor, Chief of Plastic Surgery for Main Line Health.
Precise and patient, he explains every step on the “Aesthetic Ladder” and helps you choose which is best for you: from the first rung of non-invasive treatments, to higher rungs involving more aggressive procedures with minimal-to-some downtime, through the top rung, surgery.
“The first thing I tell patients is that this needs to be customized,” Claytor tells SAVVY. “This isn’t Ford Motor Co. pumping out the same product for each person.”
To look simply refreshed and rejuvenated, Claytor says microneedling, injections, lasers and/or peels – all offered in his office – might be all you need.
If you want to take it up a notch without scars, you might be a candidate for a Silhouette InstaLift or an Ellevate neck lift.
But if your aim is to look ten years younger, you’re probably headed for a full facelift, Claytor says.
Most surgical patients come in complaining about their lower eyelids, jowls or neck, he says. “No one comes in and says their cheek has fallen.”
But that’s just what’s happening. Osteoporosis shrinks facial bones, he explains, and “skin is falling off its scaffolding … If the neck is bad, the cheeks usually need to be addressed. Everything fell as a unit.” A facelift rebalances everything.
Claytor performs short-scar facelifts with minimal downtime for the middle and lower face, traditional SMAS facelifts, and more advanced deep-plane facelifts. Some surgeons shy away from deep-plane lifts for fear they’ll inadvertently injure tiny facial nerves. But Claytor completed a nerve fellowship during his plastic surgery training and has “a deep comfort level with nerves.”
Indeed, Claytor has long pioneered the latest and greatest.
He recently appeared on “The Innovators,” a web-based docuseries about plastic surgery, discussing advances in breast reconstruction.
He was the first local surgeon to perform the Ellevate non-surgical neck lift.
He’s completed (or soon will complete) clinical trials of microneedling for facial rejuvenation; the topical collagen Excellagen to shorten downtime after deep chemical peels or laser treatments; and Alastin to improve skin after liposuction.
“When I can, I like to be part of the evidence side of medicine,” Claytor says.
For good or ill, the internet and social media, he says, are “massive equalizers” in which everyone gets a platform. “People in our own community who are not plastic surgeons are performing these procedures in their offices.” They took weekend courses and don’t have nine years of specialized training and board certification, he says. “Today, if you’re not telling people what you do, they’ll find someone who will.”
Also setting Claytor apart: his in-office surgical suite, fully inspected and nationally accredited and where about 75 percent of patients choose to have facelifts and other procedures under local anesthesia. Not only do they save on operating room and anesthesia fees but, God forbid, if something were to happen, Bryn Mawr Hospital’s ER is right across the street. “I think I’m the only plastic surgeon I know who has a full-blown operating room in his office.”
And then there’s Claytor’s refreshing personal touch. He gives patients his cell phone number and calls everyone the night before surgery. “Inevitably, they have a question, which they were too shy to call and ask me about.”
The night of surgery, he calls the patient to check on recovery. “If there is a concern, I will have them come right to the office. I’ve seen patients at 11 o’clock at night!”
Claytor’s easygoing personality puts people at ease, crucial in a field as personal as plastics. He’s confident and self-assured, yes. But arrogant? Never.
“I go out of my way to create a peer relationship with the patient,” he says. “I want people to be as comfortable as they can be. It makes the whole experience so much more productive and positive.”
Twenty years in practice and his endgame hasn’t changed: a natural look. You, but better.
“I want people to say to my patients: ‘You look fabulous. Did you get a new haircut?’”
Everyone will notice, but no one will know.
Gingy’s moving out of Malvern
After 12 years in Malvern, the last five on a sunny King Street corner, Gingy’s Boutique is moving to Wayne. 2 East King changed hands last summer and her landlord raised the rent “significantly,” Gingy’s proprietor Jean Tremblay tells SAVVY.
After searching up and down the Pike, she settled on another sunlit corner, 168 E. Lancaster Ave., the former home of Argus Printing in downtown Wayne.
The spot reminds her of 2 East King, Tremblay says. Plus, it had room for a design studio for Gingy’s clothing line.
Doors should open by mid-March. In the meantime, there’s a huge moving sale in progress at Gingy’s Malvern store, which closes for good Jan. 25. (***Mention this article in SAVVY for an extra 10-percent off!***)
“At first, the circumstances that caused me to move devastated me.” Tremblay says. “But I am thinking things happen for a reason and I’m looking to the future.”
Flipping from doctor to patient can be a pivotal experience as Dr. Seema Bonney discovered after she was diagnosed with pulmonary thrombosis in her early 30s.
Looking back, it’s quite possible that her switch from Emergency Medicine physician to founder of the Anti-Aging and Longevity Center of Philadelphia and a long list of certifications and achievements might not have occurred if she’d received better care.
Being on the other side of diagnosis and treatment not only altered the way Bonney engaged with patients, it enabled her to test out knowledge gained through emergency room interactions. In many cases, Bonney was able to attribute panicked patients’ medical flare-ups to underlying chronic conditions, nutrition deficits, sleeping patterns, lifestyle and more.
“So many people come into the ER presenting with symptoms that reveal an undiagnosed chronic condition,” Bonney says. “These trips could have been avoided if the patient had insights into his or her personal health profile.”
In Bonney’s case, doctors showed little interest in identifying possible causes.
“I was repeatedly told, ‘You’re lucky to be alive’ and ‘There’s no clear cause,’” Bonney explains. “It was important to ‘fix’ me, but they also needed to help me understand the sudden onset and how to predict future occurrences or escalations. My philosophy has always been: Life is meant to be enjoyed to its fullest … hard to accomplish when burdened by physical or medical issues. Prevention is crucial, and its absence during my treatment completely altered my perspective and my career path.”
Today, Bonney is one of the region’s leading advocates for holistic and functional medical therapies with a thriving practice in Rosemont. Working in partnership with patients, she creates opportunities for self-advocacy and helps patients strategize ways to live as health-fully as possible for as long as possible.
“I went into Emergency Medicine because I wanted to save lives. Now, I am doing it in a different way. And, the good news is: It’s never too late, or too early, to develop healthy habits.”
Dr. Seema Bonney, M.D., Anti-Aging and Longevity Center, 484-222-0369, specializes in functional, integrative and aesthetic medicine and services, including medical weight loss, hormone and IV therapies, treatments for adrenal fatigue/thyroid/autoimmune issues and skin rejuvenation. Named #1 for Integrative Medicine in Main Line Today in 2019.
A teacher’s aide at Valley Forge Middle School just spent a month in Thailand – not lollygagging on a beach but sweating through 98-degree heat and 100-percent humidity.
“I loved every moment of it,” says Julie Zatuchni of her stay at Boon Lott’s Elephant Sanctuary. Even when she hoisted dung, walked through spider webs, and slept with chirping geckos in her room.
Zatuchni cared for and befriended the elephants but hardly touched them.
“If touching is allowed at an elephant sanctuary, you don’t want to go there,” Zatuchni says. Sanctuary tourism is huge in Thailand and Myanmar, where posters of women in bikinis on every tuktuk and taxi lure folks to swim and bathe with elephants.
But sitting on elephants pushes on their organs and hurts their spines, she says. Plus, elephants used in tourism are kept on short chains. “They can’t move. They can’t scratch themselves or cool themselves off with mud or water.” Trainers hit them with bull hooks. Females are often force-bred and their babies are sold off.
“A lot of places say they’re ethically treating animals, but they’re not,” Zatuchni says. “It’s a horrible, sad existence.”
BLES was founded by a British woman, Katherine Connor, who fell in love with a baby elephant, “Boon Lott,” while backpacking through Thailand at age 21 and discovered her life’s calling. Connor rescues and nurses back to health elephants abused in the logging and tourist trades.
Now in its 13th year, BLES is a safe, forever home for 11 elephants who wander freely on 750 acres where they happily chomp on, literally, tons of fruits, grasses, leaves and seeds.
Ask Zatuchni, who’s volunteered with Main Line Animal Rescue, Global March for Elephants and Rhinos, Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, and co-created a No Extinction Facebook page, why she loves elephants, then take a seat. She’ll be a while.
They have amazing memories, she’ll tell you. They’re devoted caretakers of their young, zealously protect the herd, and even mourn their dead. “They have personalities just like we do … You look into their eyes and see their souls,” Zatuchni says.
By Ryan Richards
On the lobby wall of Crimson Review’s spacious and sunlit tutoring center in Wayne is a large crimson owl, symbol of wisdom.
Because Crimson Review’s instructors are the sages of Main Line test prep – for SATs and ACTs, National Merit Scholarship qualifying exams (PSATs) and private-school admissions tests (SSATs, ISEEs and HSPTs).
Founded in 1986 by Harvard grad and Wayne resident William H. Wood, Crimson Review offers year-round one-on-one instruction, small-group classes, as well as an intensive SAT Summer Bootcamp, which guarantees to raise qualified students’ scores 250 points or to the 98th+ percentile.
Rates for all options are affordable and tutors are top-notch.
Each has deep understanding of each test and prepares students through comprehensive instruction and practice testing, according to Crimson Review Director Craig Miller.
Crimson instructors graduated from top-tier colleges and are required to have scored in the top of the range on their own standardized tests. They work patiently with students of all academic abilities. “We really want to be a positive environment,” says Miller. Instructors also share proven strategies to ease test anxiety.
With two convenient locations – in Wayne and Malvern – Crimson Review’s small class sizes allow tutors to “get to know every student who comes through our doors,” says Miller. Being independently owned (vs. a corporate franchise), “We have the advantage of customizing and being much more personal.”
Crimson Review also continuously refines its curriculum based on current best practices. As a result, scores improve enough to open up an entirely different set of options, turning dream schools into realistic options.
“My son, Luke, was well prepared and had no fears about his ability to tackle the test, based on his experience with his [Crimson Review] tutor,” reports Exton mom Alicia Snyder.
It’s all about practice, adds veteran instructor Jason Cohen. “We have our students systemically go through each question type, learning both content knowledge and test-taking strategies … The more students can practice with actual practice tests from real exams, the better.”
Crimson Review, 347 E. Conestoga Rd. Wayne and 967 E. Swedesford Rd., Malvern, 610-688-6441, [email protected], offers tutoring and classes in test prep and essay writing. Group & referral discounts available. Register for SAT Summer Bootcamp by 2/8 for $300 off. Visit crimsonreview.com. Follow on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
The western Main Line has a new experiential retailer, Magnolia Cottage, now open in the former Sprouts consignment shop on W. Lancaster Ave.
Owner is Malvern’s Kathy Snow, a nurse who couldn’t find part-time work after raising her kids. “I took my hobby – painting furniture – and thought, ‘Let’s give it a shot.’”
Magnolia Cottage sells cute but not kitschy gifts, many from local women artisans, and vintage furniture painted by Snow. (Or pick a wooden piece off the floor and have her paint it to your liking). A craft room will house classes in stenciling, furniture painting and more.
Magnolia Cottage, 288 Lancaster Ave., Malvern, 484-320-8022, is open Tuesday – Saturday, noon to 5, Sundays, noon to 3. Pottery demo with Caitlyn Davis, Saturday, Jan. 18. Young Rembrandt art class for preschoolers to age 12, Sunday, Jan. 19.
New homes heading to Radnor as two colleges sell land
Eastern University and Valley Forge Military are shrinking their footprints in Radnor.
The Concordia Group is under agreement to buy 19. 5 acres at Eastern University, SAVVY has learned. The DC-based developer hopes to put “no more than 20-21 homes” on the parcel but won’t submit plans until it gets feedback from neighbors, according to Concordia’s Devin Tuohey.
Concordia would bulldoze a parking lot and 14 circa-1970 homes that Valley Forge Military Academy currently leases for faculty, Tuohey tells us. The tract is along Radnor St. Rd. between Eagle Rd. and Walnut Ave.
Eager to be a good neighbor, Tuohey says he’ll share architectural drawings with the North Wayne Protective Association before he asks Radnor Township for zoning relief and begins the long approval process.
And Tom Bentley is back building on the Main Line. He paid Valley Forge Military Academy and College $1.65 million for a five-acre parcel along Radnor Rd. and Upper Gulph Rd., according to the Philadelphia Business Journal. He plans to build scaled-down (by Bentley standards), single-family homes on the lot. Infrastructure improvements are already underway.
Two boutiques bow out of Bryn Mawr
Louella Boutique has left Bryn Mawr. Owner Maria Delany tells SAVVY that she’s decided to focus on her stores in Wayne, Malvern and especially Avalon, which has been “such a hit” since it opened last May.
A retail recruiter helped bring Louella to Bryn Mawr in the spring of 2017, Delany says. In retrospect, “Bryn Mawr was too close to our Wayne store, which is bigger and has a broader selection.” A smoke shop has taken over the lease.
Meanwhile, Knit Wit, down to one seasonal store in Margate, plans to pop up again on the Main Line. The Bryn Mawr Knit Wit closed in December. Owner Ann Gitter, 72, told the Inquirer that “rents are bad everywhere … that’s why independents are closing.” Retail is “a brutal business,” she said, and she’s ready for a breather but plans popups on the Main Line and in Philly.
Reality TV hottie Craig Conover wasn’t due to show until 1 p.m. or so, but some Main Line ladies weren’t taking any chances. They started lining up – some on lawn chairs –outside ELLIE in Eagle Village Shops at 10:30 that sunny Sunday morning, three days before Christmas. Gift wrapping and baking could wait.
The draw, of course, was a close encounter with Conover. A quick chat, a hug and a pic. The lure? His “Sewing Down South” pillows – along with lite bites, bubbly, discounts on ELLIE fashions and assorted swag.
So yeah, there was pillow talk.
This and That
Here’s a timely tale: After its sign was stolen, its Iranian tiles vandalized and multiple ugly phone threats – “Go back to where you came from” and similar, Tehrani Bros. decided enough was enough. The oriental rug merchant, in business for 43 years, has changed its name to Bryn Mawr Oriental Rugs, reports Main Line Media News’ Linda Stein. In its heyday, the three brothers had four stores, including one in Wayne, and sold to celebs like Julius Irving, M. Night Shyamalan and Patti LaBelle.
Should Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health be in the business of sheltering unaccompanied minor children in Devon? That’s the thorny question swirling in Easttown. Backed by some Latino groups, a group of highly-organized neighbors says no way. Others, including some local church leaders, say yes. Will the township’s zoning hearing board approve the shelter as a “non-conforming use” on Devereux land that’s zoned residential? Devereux has granted the Zoning Hearing Board an extension as it explores all legal options, Easttown Zoning Officer Eugene Briggs tells SAVVY, and the zoning hearing scheduled for Jan. 23 has been cancelled. (This story was UPDATED on Jan. 21)
That was quick. Less than a year and half after it opened, Café Lift has closed in Narberth. Sales were strong but the “bruncherie” concept wasn’t doing enough business to support the pricey liquor license, owner Michael Pasquarello told the Inky.
After a much longer run (19 years), Tango pulled out of the Bryn Mawr train station for good on Dec. 26.
Seeing red – and wearing it in a show of solidarity, elementary school parents jammed a Lower Merion School Board Meeting Monday night. At issue: a proposal to juggle school start times. Parents are signing petitions and on Monday carried signs reading “All kids need sleep.” Lower Merion is talking about moving elementary school start times from 9 a.m. to 7:45.
Picketers plan to march on Lancaster Ave. Monday, Martin Luther King Day, to protest plans to put billboards in Bryn Mawr, the day before the dispute returns to a Media courtoom. Basically, it’s Catalyst Outdoor Advertising vs. every town on the Main Line. Catalyst has proven relentless – scaling back the size of its proposed billboards after zoning boards and courts have ruled against them.
One of the eight most expensive streets in golf is on the Main Line. Shocking, we know. GOLF.com listed Cambridge Road in Ardmore Number 7. Average home price on Cambridge is $2.25 million. But being able to simply walk onto one of Merion Golf’s stellar courses? Priceless.
Helmets off to Wayne native and St. Joe’s Prep/Penn standout Kevin Stefanski, 37, who just became the NFL’s third youngest head coach. Stefanski signed a five-year deal to lead the Cleveland Browns. Proud papa Ed Stefanski played for the 76ers and served as GM from 2007 to 2011.
Rosemont College announced its new president Tuesday. And, guess what, it’s a guy – a first for the nearly 100-year-old Catholic college. Cleary University President Jayson Boyers, 48, a Catholic, will take the reins in July, when current President Sharon Latchaw Hirsh retires.
When the good Lord closes a taco door, he opens a taco window. Owner illness sadly ended Pipeline Taco’s run in Wayne. But right up the street, no-frills taqueria El Limon is set to open in the old Avenue Eatz space at 128 W. Lancaster.
Malvern businesswoman Marian Moskowitz was elected chair and Josh Maxwell will be co-chair of the Chester County Board of Commissioners. The two newbies were sworn in along with veteran commissioner Michelle Kichline of Berwyn on Jan. 2. And may we say, we appreciate the bi-partisanship that Chesco Commissioners have been showing the last few years. Refreshing.
So what if New Year’s Eve has come and gone. Break out the bubbly anyway. Then, break in that new bike. Because the Chester Valley Trail will soon connect to the Schuylkill River Trail. Yup, 34 miles of glorious asphalt stretching from Exton to Philly. Montco Commissioners voted to allocate $10 million of its 2020 budget to trail work in and around Philly. Federal, state and local grants are kicking in another $8 million. Yipppeeeeee.
Glad New Year’s tidings from the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair, which says it’s celebrating its “four top accomplishments of 2019”:
- It paid off its $2 million mortgage and enters 2020 debt-free.
- It added a few successful events: a Kentucky Oaks Party for Young Friends, Devon After Hours for select patrons on its busiest night, and the return of the Fall Classic, which sported a record number of entries.
- It renewed its $2 million pledge to Bryn Mawr Hospital and presented the hospital with a $375,000 check to support expansion of its behavioral health unit.
- It spent $385K on infrastructure improvements and increased prize money by $40K.
Unlike other Main Line townships where leadership is nearly 100% blue, Easttown is edging toward … purple. The Easttown Democratic Committee just put out a detailed statement, reporting that 53% of Easttown voters are either Democrats or Indies but membership on the township’s boards and commissions skews Republican (79%). The report also notes that the township’s civic servants are a tad in the tooth (average age 61) and mostly male (67%) and therefore don’t “reflect the township’s diversity.” Notable exceptions: The Planning Commission is split 50/50. And two Dems were just sworn in as supervisors so the split there is 60 red/40 blue.
Got stressed-out teens? (Who doesn’t?) Learn how to help them survive and thrive at a free, non-denominational talk by Penn psychiatrist Anthony Rostain and therapist B. Janet Hibbs, local authors of The Stressed Years of Their Lives on Sunday, Jan. 26 at Wayne Presbyterian Church at 6 p.m. RSVP here.
Another January thaw this weekend? In temperature, no. In spirit, yes. Three Berwyn Village spots are staging a Tiki Crawl Saturday, Jan. 18 to benefit Berwyn Fire Co. (And if you’ve been reading SAVVY, you know our first responders really need the help.) The fun starts at 5 p.m. at the Berwyn Tavern, moves to La Cabra Brewing at 7 and 30 Main at 9. Park once, indulge thrice. La Cabra tells us it’s smoking a suckling pig and giving away half-pints of liquid courage to karaoke participants. Aloha.
Want to publicize your special event? Your SAVVY Calendar is here! Choose a free basic listing or an enhanced listing with image and extra info for a small service fee. No charge for current SAVVY advertisers 🙂 Contact [email protected] for deets.
Hope you’ll show some love to our early-winter advertisers, all high-quality LOCAL businesses. We couldn’t keep you savvy without: Vaughan Building Company, Valley Forge Flowers in Wayne, Wayne Art Center, Carlino’s Market of Ardmore and West Chester, Claytor Noone Plastic Surgery in Bryn Mawr, Crimson Review Test Prep in Wayne and Malvern, Anti-Aging and Longevity Center of Phidelphia in Rosemont, Wayne Early Learning Center, ELLIE Main Line, Strafford Chiropractic & Healing Center, ECA Travel Consulting, HomeCooked in Paoli, Stonehaven Homes in Berwyn, Your Organizing Consultants, Day Spa by Zsuzsanna in Wayne, Restore Chiropractic and Restore Cryosauna in Wayne and Haverford, Kramer Drive Paper & Design of Berwyn, Realtor Sue McNamara, Austin Hepburn Installs Windows & Doors, Mulholland-Peracchia Team of Real Estate Professionals, Village Wellness in Berwyn, Fashion Xchange Paoli, Clover Market in Bryn Mawr, Rustic Brush in Berwyn, Main Line Camp Fair, Photo Coach Marianna Curran, Mojo Fitness in Wayne and Berwyn, J. Hilburn Custom Men’s Clothing.
And finally, we got such a kick out of playing Santa Claus in December. Congrats to the winners and heartfelt thanks to the 12 elves who donated prizes to SAVVY’s 12 Days of Giving: BSWANKY handbags, Kramer Drive, HomeCooked, Peachtree Catering, Rebecca Adler Art, Restore Cryosauna, Rose-colored Glasses Photography, SamSara Gear, Strafford Chiropractic & Healing Center, Philly Bloke, Argyle Floral & Gifts and Village Wellness.