Hillary White Jean wafted into Wayne on a cloud of luxury perfume, designer heels, extravagant cars and personal charm.
Sixteen months later, her splashy store, JWH Boutique, departed in the December darkness, leaving a string of angry landlords, fashion vendors and small business owners in her wake.
Court and police records show that Jean:
- has declared bankruptcy five times in three states since 2011, most recently on Jan. 30 of this year.
- has been repeatedly sued for alleged nonpayment of bills and has had at least four court judgments entered against her since 2021.
- has been arrested three times since arriving in Wayne: twice last summer for passing fraudulent checks and once three weeks ago for witness intimidation, harassment and other charges at her preliminary criminal hearing before Radnor District Judge Leon Hunter. The Delaware County DA and Radnor and Newtown police have all confirmed ongoing investigations of Jean.
To the public, she was a smart businesswoman, a former hairdresser from Haiti with a sharp eye for style and a winning personality who worked hard for the designer clothes she wore and the Range Rover she drove.
Jean marketed herself as both “the first black business owner in Wayne” and a fashion pioneer who was upping the Main Line’s style game. “We’re bringing Rodeo Drive to the Main Line,” she once told SAVVY with a 100-watt smile.
Everyone and everything in Jean’s orbit looked the part. Her clothes were chic, her stores were sleek, her website polished.
And the media lapped it up.
She ran prominent ads for a year in Philadelphia Style, including a pricey full-page spotlight as a “Dynamic Woman” of 2022.
She made the rounds of TV news shows and newsmagazines.
And she threw showy shindigs, most notably last fall’s “Cocktails and Fabulosity” party to celebrate the opening of her second Wayne location. The e-vite asked guests to “dress to impress;” she hired a “Real Housewife of NYC” to up the glam factor.
Guests walked a red carpet and mugged for the camera in front of a screen adorned with luxury fashion names.
But court and police records and our interviews with multiple sources reveal a woman who repeatedly changed names, addresses and businesses and stiffed people and companies whose fashions she sold, whose space she rented, and whose services she engaged.
In the last two years, Hillary White Jean has opened and closed three stores: Lady M Boutique (M was for millionaire) in Glen Mills, HJ Boutique at 106 E. Lancaster Ave. in Wayne (now the home of Wheelhouse Cards) and JWH Boutique at 209 E. Lancaster Ave. at the former Mattress Factory/Tehrani Rug Co. building, also in Wayne.
At 3,700 sq. ft., JWH Boutique was her largest and most exalted emporium yet. Like the others, it lasted mere months until, faced with a court-ordered repossession by her landlords, Reuben, Benjamin and Youdi Tehrani, she quietly moved out on New Year’s Eve.
In an early January email to customers dotted with all-caps exclamations, Jean called her time in Wayne “phenomenal … We MADE HISTORY. ASK SIRI … We were named the New Beverly Hills Fashion Boutique in Wayne.” She blamed “unfortunate unexpected circumstances” for her store’s closure and invited customers to shop online.
“Perhaps it’s just temporary,” she wrote. “We are in the middle of a renegotiation. We’re NOT sure how it will work out.”
But according to her Chapter 7 personal bankruptcy filing on January 30, 2023, she owes nearly $476,280.42 to her first Wayne landlord, School Lane Holdings Co., with whom she signed a five-year lease with a personal guarantee, and $67,103.42 to her second Wayne landlords, Reuben, Benjamin and Youda Tehrani.
School Lane Holdings’ owner declined comment but Reuben Tehrani had plenty to say.
“In eight-and-a-half months, she didn’t pay us a penny in rent. Every check she gave us bounced,” said Reuben Tehrani, who, along with his brothers, operated a rug store at 209 E. Lancaster for 21 years before leasing to Mattress Giant in 2011 and to Hillary Jean in June of 2022 for $9,000/month. (The brothers currently operate their rug business in Bryn Mawr.)
“I feel very hurt,” Tehrani added. “We were ripped off. I’ve been on the Main Line a long time and thought I was smart enough to see the crook that she was. But I wasn’t. She got everybody.”
He’s going public with his story because he wants to make sure “other innocent people aren’t taken advantage of.”
According to her own handwritten bankruptcy filing, Jean owes nearly $1.4 million to 27 different entities. While the bankruptcy claim is pending, creditors must stop collection efforts. If the bankruptcy goes through, Jean’s debts will be wiped out.
Among her listed creditors in addition to her two Wayne landlords: $44,189.85 to the fashion label Camilla Australia (a top vendor), $46,000 for a Land Rover car loan, $40,000 to Modern Luxury (owner of Philadelphia Style), $7,210.96 to PR agent Sarah Doheny of YUB PR, and a total of roughly $10,000 to the party planner, florist, and photo/video team she hired for “Cocktails and Fabulosity.”
In her bankruptcy filing, Jean claimed these were all personal – not business – debts. She filed under the last name “Jean Joseph.” On every other court and police record we reviewed, she is named “Hillary White Jean.”
Her former PR agent, YUB PR’s Sarah Doheny, tells us she chased Jean for payment for months. The two had met at a polo match. Jean was operating Lady M Boutique in Glen Mills at the time but told Doheny she wanted to open on the Main Line.
“She felt the vibe was right for an upscale boutique for well-heeled women – Rodeo Drive meets the Main Line,” Doheny tells SAVVY.
She helped Jean find her first Wayne store and used her contacts to secure a booth for Jean at the Devon Horse Show. Both thought the Devon stall would introduce her not-yet-open business to future customers.
The horse show waited several months for Jean’s rental payment, according to Doheny.
When Jean stopped paying Doheny’s monthly retainer and Doheny balked, Jean called out Doheny publicly on social media and in profane private text exchanges, Doheny said. In screenshots and texts shared with SAVVY, Jean called Doheny “very very racist,” “bully,” “a bitch” and worse.
At least a few creditors don’t show up on Jean’s bankruptcy list: Piqued PR’s Patricia Mae Olson tells us she wrote off the $1,500 Jean owes her for handling Lady M’s grand opening as a loss after repeated requests for payment.
And website and graphic designer Eliza Alys Young says she didn’t bother chasing Jean for the $2,300 she’s owed because she lives in Florida and a lawsuit would have been too pricey to pursue.
Perhaps Jean’s most high-profile alleged victim is the Philadelphia-based fashion designer, Nancy Volpe Beringer, a 2022 Fashion Group International “Rising Star” who made history as a finalist on Bravo TV’s “Project Runway” at age 64.
In 2021, Volpe Beringer was looking to raise cash for her fledgling design business – adaptive clothing for the disabled. The COVID shutdown and a series of personal setbacks had stalled the launch.
Eager to “get some capital to jumpstart” her label, she reluctantly decided to sell off her personal collection of vintage designer clothes and accessories. She posted items online and gave them to Jean to sell in her first Wayne store.
“She took a huge amount of inventory. That’s when the nightmare started,” Volpe Beringer tells SAVVY.
Her vintage items were selling but, according to the designer, Jean’s first check to her for $5,000 for sold merchandise bounced.
Then a second one bounced.
Then a third.
“There were a lot of text messages and promises,” recalled Volpe Beringer. “She’s a con artist. She’d make fun of me when I told her I was losing sleep over this. She was always very nonchalant. ‘You’re going to get paid,’” she’d say.”
Eventually, Jean told her she had no money. “You’re just going to have to wait,” the designer said she was told.
Making matters worse, photos of Jean wearing items from Volpe Beringer’s vintage collection without the designer’s permission were popping up on Jean’s social media accounts, the designer tells SAVVY.
Volpe Beringer shared a handful of social media posts that she alleges show Jean wearing other items from her vintage collection, items Jean was supposed to be selling at her store.
In March of 2022, Volpe Beringer had had enough.
She showed up unannounced at HJ Boutique in Wayne with trash bags in hand to retrieve her unsold merchandise, including the white Chanel bag and the Blahnik boots. The bag’s clasp was broken and the boots had a broken heel, the designer says.
“I was heartsick; These things had a lot of sentimental value to me. Either my husband had given them to me or I bought them myself. I never thought someone could be so deceitful and prey on designers in the most vulnerable time in their careers. I was still an emerging designer. You’re looking for your break. It’s a tough industry.”
Volpe Beringer filed suit and won two judgments against Jean, the first for $11,889, the second for $8,000.
When Jean paid neither judgment, Volpe Beringer went to Radnor Police.
On June 10, 2022, Jean was arrested, charged with four counts of passing bad checks and one count of deceptive business practices. According to court records, she was confined to Delaware County Prison briefly on July 18 until she was able to post $10,000 bail.
On August 15, Radnor Police arrested Jean a second time and charged her with passing bad checks and “theft by unlawful taking” after the Tehrani brothers filed a criminal complaint. Like Volpe-Beringer, the Tehranis contacted police after winning civil judgments against Jean that went unpaid.
The Fabulosity party’s videographer, Phil Kramer Photography, also sued and won a court judgment against Jean for more than $3,000 which remains unsatisfied, according to court dockets and our interview with Evan Kramer.
Court records show Jean routinely skipped court dates.
She did, however, attend her Feb. 9 preliminary hearing on criminal misdemeanor charges in Delaware County District Court. The hearing never happened because witnesses saw Jean moving closer to and pointing her iPad at alleged victim Volpe Beringer in the waiting area, presumably to take photos in violation of posted PA law, according to Reuben Tehrani, Volpe Beringer and a third alleged victim who wishes to remain anonymous.
Jean was also overheard repeatedly saying “bitch” as she spoke to a companion “in a foreign language,” according to the Newtown Township police report.
At Judge Leon Hunter’s direction, Jean was arrested. Police charged her with witness intimidation (a felony), harassment, disorderly conduct and unlawful use of a recording device in court, the report states.
If convicted, she could be fined, put on house arrest or jailed. The maximum sentence for witness intimidation – if that felony charge sticks – is five years, according to criminal law experts we consulted.
On March 22, Jean must attend a “Meeting of Creditors” before a bankruptcy judge. The Tehranis, Volpe Beringer, Evan Kramer, Sarah Doheny and others tell us they will be there.
“I don’t know how someone can be so malicious and make such a mockery of the law,” says Volpe Beringer. “For me, it’s more than money. You’re a victim and it hits your core. I don’t expect to get the money she owes me. I just want her stopped and held accountable.”
Adds Reuben Tehrani: “She really hurt us. I want to see her locked up so she can’t do this to anyone else.”
Main Line gun owners have a sophisticated new place to shop, train, shoot and socialize: the high-tech, superlux Main Line Armory in Malvern.
Created by service veterans Greg and Katie Butler after they watched the explosion in local firearms sales since the start of COVID and saw an opportunity.
In every way, the Armory aims to elevate the gun-owning experience.
No more dingy walls and crusty, unhelpful staffers of old-school shooting ranges.
No more shooting lanes with targets clunking along on noisy cables.
And not a mounted deer head in sight.
Instead, you’ll walk into a 30,000 sq. ft., state-of-the-art “destination” range designed to appeal to both men and women that includes:
- Three, 25-yard shooting bays with 21 lanes, five of them private for VIPs. Wall-mounted iPads precisely place and turn targets and change lighting to simulate day and night shooting. An advanced air system continuously filters out lead. Bluetooth technology ensures there are no worries about losing WiFi outages.
- A 4,000 sq. ft. retail area that includes the industry’s only dedicated women’s boutique. Think concealed-carry handbags in premium leather (shown below), trendy yoga pants with holsters and belt loops, sports bras with hidden handgun holsters, and dainty pistols in Tiffany blue, dusty rose and flowers.
- A huge selection of ammo, first aid, hunting knives, scopes, home safes, holsters, magazines and range bags. Rifles and hand guns are all secured with a cable locking system to prevent smash and grabs. All exterior and interior glass is bullet-proof.
- Two spacious classrooms. Regular classes include ladies skills and drills, self defense, home defense, concealed carry, emergency medical and First Aid and basic pistol. Among the Armory’s certified trainers: Girlz n Guns owner Erinn O’Donnell, a SWAT team tactical commander, a competitive shooter and law enforcement.
- A 2,000 sq. ft. “Valley Forge Lounge” with giant fireplace, reclaimed barn wood beams, leather seating, catering kitchen and humidor.
The Armory uses the clubroom for women’s Shoot and Sip events, Cigar Nights for Premium and VIP members, “Bullets & Brandywine” parties and more. The clubroom is reserved for members but anyone can rent it for special events. One couple has already booked it for their wedding.
Military, patriotic and Revolutionary War nods are everywhere.
A Hall of Heroes that displays service flags and every American flag that’s ever flown in battle.
A traditional “Fallen Comrade” POW/MIA table sits near a giant Liberty Bell wall decal.
And a “memorial chandelier” of 5,261 dog tags – one for every service member killed in action in Iraq and Afghanistan – hangs over the waiting area (below). Greg Butler and his son spent nearly five months hand-stringing each dog tag on fishing wire, calling it a “labor of love.”
What you won’t see at Main Line Armory: A Trump flag flying outside or anything overtly political.
“We’re for responsible gun owners – no matter what political party you’re affiliated with,” says Greg Butler.
The Butlers tell us the “demographics” of new gun owners has changed.
“It’s not just conservatives. Moderates, liberals and a lot of women are coming into this market,” Katie Butler says. “It’s becoming more mainstream.”
So who’s coming to shoot? Police officers who want to sharpen what the Butlers call a “perishable skill” (East Whiteland Police shoot for free), retired veterans, men and women who buy guns for self-defense, and social shooters who do it for fun and sport, according to the Butlers.
The couple toured gun clubs in Texas, Ohio, Maryland, Colorado and North Dakota and hired a consultant to help them create what they say is the only ultra-premium shooting range north of Virginia.
High-end gun clubs flourish in places “in the middle of nowhere, where’s it’s God, country and guns,” Greg says. But will it thrive in well-heeled suburbia? The Butlers have “bet the farm” that it will, Katie tells us.
“This is one of the most expensive startups you can get into but we did this to provide a service to the community,” she says. “We can’t stop gun violence but can certainly stop negligence and accidental shootings and we can help educate people.”
Adds Greg: “Guns are part of our society. People are buying them at an unbelievable rate right now and there’s no place that’s dedicated to training them. Really intelligent people like doctors, lawyers and CEOs are buying handguns for protection but they have no idea how to handle them.”
Main Line Armory, 60 Three Run Rd., Malvern, 484-559-8412, is open weekdays 10 a.m. – 8 p.m., Saturdays 10 – 7 and Sundays 10 – 6. $30/hour of shooting. Walk-ins welcome. Members can reserve via app. Tiered memberships $55-$150/month. VIP members $300/month. All memberships include children 10 and up. Grand opening festivities will be held April 29.
New walk-in wellness clinic for your furry friend in Wynnewood
Urgent care has gone to the dogs – and cats – at Wynnewood Shopping Center.
The area’s first PetWellClinic offers on-demand sick and wellness visits and vaccinations – no appointment needed.
“We understand how hard it is for people to find the right veterinarian, book a timely appointment and pay huge vet bills,” says Greg DeRise, owner of the Wynnewood franchise. “Basically, we’re like a walk-in clinic for humans. We refer out for x-rays and surgeries so we don’t need all the space of a full-service hospital.”
Another plus, according to DeRise: Owners are able to stay with their animals.
“There’s no taking the pet from you into the back and not knowing what’s happening. Everyone can see what’s going on and where the vet is all the time.”
The clinic also takes pride in the better work-life balance it offers veterinarians.
“With manageable work hours and streamlined services, our vets can focus more on their patients with the added benefit of leaving work ‘at work,” says Dr. Sam Meisler, DVM and founder of the first PetWellClinic in Tennessee.
More than 100 franchise locations are in development across the U.S.
PetWellClinic, Wynnewood Shopping Center, 610-580-0774, is open Tues. to Fri. 11 a.m. – 7 p.m., Saturdays, 11 to 7.
If the Devon Horse Show is the Main Line’s signature event, the Wayne Farmer’s Market is our signature shopping experience, surviving two moves, two world wars, a global pandemic and a splashy new DiBruno Bros. across the parking lot.
The Market hasn’t just survived.
Especially these last few years with two new sheriffs in town: forward-thinking market manager Mike Fisher, and his boss, William Roche, the savvy new CEO of S. Clyde Weaver, the smoked meat and cheese purveyor that owns the market.
Both are working hard to marry the market’s tried-and-true traditions to the tastes of today.
“People who haven’t been here in five or six years will stop me and say, ‘Hey, I really like what you’ve done with the market,’” says Fisher. “They heard good things and decided to come back.”
Some of the improvements are unseen: the “huge electrical service upgrade” of two years ago and the new HVAC system last year.
Other are visible: an updated website and eye-catching posts on Instagram and Facebook.
And on the near horizon, an upgrade that’s literally groundbreaking: new floors to replace the dated vinyl tiles underfoot.
There’s even serious talk of an exterior facelift of the onetime Penn Fruit supermarket building, a somewhat dowdy old gal compared to her snappy new neighbor, DiBruno Bros.
And then there’s the infusion of popular, on-trend vendors like V Empanadas, Monogram It! By BellaDonna Gifts, and as of February 1, Vino, curator of fine Italian wines, whose owner reports a “fantastic” reception at the market.
Under Fisher’s watch, the market has morphed into a vibrant, all-ages community hub: young moms treating their kids to grilled cheese at Angelo’s Café on weekdays, the retired “Odd Ducks” men’s group kibitzing over coffee and donuts, and families swarming the market after Saturday soccer.
Community groups are welcome, too, from Wayne Art Center’s Au Plein Air painters to Penn State’s cheerful THON collectors.
The Market hosts sports teams and stages book signings with local authors like mystery writer Holly Spofford and cookbook author Tina Verrelli.
COVID presented challenges but overall was a boon to the bottom line, Fisher says.
When supermarkets experienced shortages, the Market stayed stocked. Shoppers would wait outside at 5:30 a.m. for first dibs on the fresh chicken, beef and fresh produce they couldn’t get elsewhere.
Even today, as the drumbeat to shop and eat fresh and local grows ever louder, the Market is more popular than ever.
“Most of our vendors are family-owned and operated,” says Fisher. “You can talk to the owner, the grower or the baker about how their food was grown, what is it was made with, and where it came from. Shoppers appreciate that.”
While the Market’s produce is not technically organic (because there’s fertilizer in the water), it is chemical-free.
“Which is better?” Fisher offers. “Organic produce picked four days ago and shipped from California or something our produce vendor harvested yesterday and brings to the market the next morning?”
One big change: only nine of the market’s 25 vendors are from Lancaster County. The rest are local mom-and-pops, according to Fisher.
Due to nimble ownership and management, the Market’s “financial picture has improved dramatically in the last three years,” he says.
And despite early trepidation and growing pains over parking, the new DiBruno Bros. has been a blessing. The 300 block of W. Lancaster Ave. has turned into the foodie Mecca that DiBruno’s CEO predicted when he chose the location. The rising tide has indeed lifted both boats, Fisher says.
Born and bred in Lancaster County and a former restaurant owner, Fisher seems the man for this moment: upbeat, affable and forward-thinking. Business is brisk, vendors are happy, and stall turnover is minimal.
And while Fisher closely monitors the bottom line, he also attends to “the little things: keeping the tables clean, picking up trash, just smiling wherever I go. When I see a regular, I always say, ‘Hello, how are you today?’ I want to get people raving about their time here.”
When you launch a restaurant and the world closes down a few months later, it’s tough to get traction.
Such was the case with Stove & Tap in Malvern’s Lincoln Court Shopping Center, which opened in December 2019, three months before COVID.
“We were the new kids on the block and we never got our momentum going,” says co-owner Justin Weathers, who’s a silent partner in DePaul’s Table in Ardmore and the owner-operator of Al Pastor in Exton, Revival Pizza Pub in Chester Springs and Stove & Tap outposts in West Chester and Lansdale.
The Malvern area had plenty of casual dining spots. What it didn’t have was a destination steakhouse. So Weathers and business partner Joe Monnich decided on a do-over.
They walled off the kitchen, cozied up the bar, hung blackout curtains, added white tablecloths, installed fine-wine stations, and swapped out the seating and china – and Voilà! Two months after Stove & Tap closed, Joey Chops was born February 18.
Weathers calls his steakhouse “casual upscale” with “a rustic cabin feel” but not so fancy you can’t bring the kids. “We wanted to shake off a little of the traditional steakhouse stuffiness and just have fun with it.”
Lunch and dinner menus are heavy on steakhouse classics with a decent smattering of seafood and trendier fare.
On the dinner menu: Starters, soups and salads (e.g. Caesar, French Onion, Escargot, Wagyu Sliders) $15 – $21; Raw Bar $21 – $26; Premium Black Angus steaks from Creekstone Farms in Arkansas $36 – $82 ($190 for the Tomahawk Ribeye); Non-steak entrees $26 to $44; Sides $8 to $18. Additional salads and sandwiches are available at lunch.
Standouts for us: the Oysters Rockefeller ($18), the Bacon and Wedge salad adorned with house-made “bacon steak” ($18), and the Seared Tuna Steak with shaved brussels sprouts and soy glaze ($38).
The crowning touch: cheesecake garnished tableside with your choice of sea salt, caramel, nuts, berries and such.
Joey Chops, Lincoln Court Shopping Center, 245 Lancaster Ave., Malvern, 484-450-8890, is open for lunch weekdays and dinner seven nights a week.
Pickle paradise heading to Malvern. Is the shore next?
Sign-ups should start any day now for Bounce Pickleball, the mammoth indoor pickleball facility coming to Malvern in late spring.
Given pickle’s exploding popularity, better not dilly dally.
Bounce will include 14 full-time courts, clinics, drills sessions, group lessons, “facilitated play” with top U.S. players, open-play events, tournaments and leagues. Basic memberships start at $125/ year.
Entrepreneurs Talen Singer and Bill Davis are spending more than $4 million to convert the Great Valley Racquet Club on Morehall Road in Malvern, a tennis center owned by Michael and Catherine Capelletti for 30 years. (Great Valley tennis players will reportedly get first dibs on Bounce memberships.)
Singer operated a fitness program at Overbrook Golf club for 14 years and will be the operating partner. Davis is the lead investor. Naturally, both are avid players.
The two plan to open six Bounce Pickleball facilities in the next two years. The partners are also eyeing an expansion to the Jersey Shore, according to the Philadelphia Business Journal.
And they’re not alone.
Pickle Juice Pickleball Club – an indoor facility with juice bar – is slated to open in Ventnor Plaza in Ventnor Heights this summer.
And ProShot Pickleball, a deluxe, eight-court indoor club (below), debuted off-shore at Harbor Square off-shore in Egg Harbor Township in January.
Need to shed pounds and inches? A promising new weight-loss and body-contouring center just opened in Bryn Mawr. The physician-supervised, health-coach guided SlenderPro system combines all-natural supplements with a structured low-glycemic, anti-inflammatory diet to increase fat burning and detox as it revs metabolism. You’ll shed 20 to 40 pounds in just six weeks – no excess exercise, no drugs and no surgery. Accelerate results with optional on-site non-invasive laser lipo that immediately slims away 3.5 – 4.5 inches. One-hour private consults are $35 in SlenderPro’s zen-like offices. Call 484-380-2314, email [email protected] or visit myslenderpro.com.
Shake up your health – in a good way – with Happy Being Nourished, the most advanced meal replacement shake on the planet. One serving has the antioxidant equivalent of 14 crowns of broccoli, 21 apples and 1000 cups of blueberries, plus every essential vitamin and mineral you need to thrive! (No extra supplements needed.) Happy Being Nourished works at the cellular level to cut inflammation, detoxify and boost immunity, brain, gut and heart health. Each 110-calorie serving has just 2 carbs (zero-added sugars) and 15 grams of plant-based protein rich in omega-3s. Nutrients are in scientifically studied amounts so they’re fully absorbed. And both flavors – Dutch Chocolate and French Vanilla – taste great! Convenient 30-pack powder packets are sold online and at Solutions4Health in Gateway Shopping Center.
***SAVVY READERS GET 30% OFF THEIR FIRST ORDER Of HAPPY BEING NOURISHED. USE CODE SAVVY30***
Looking for an alternative to a nursing home for your elderly loved one? May we suggest Rosette, an intimate residential home in Gladwyne for seniors who need significant help with daily tasks like walking, dressing and eating. Capped at eight residents, Rosette is nothing short of revolutionary, offering complete care and therapies to disabled seniors who also enjoy nutritious, home-cooked meals and comforting activities like baking cookies and sitting by the fire with family. Fully licensed in a beautifully renovated home, Rosette is staffed by caring professionals who assist residents with gentle exercise, PT and OT, and cognitive stimulation. Join the local families who are seeing happy faces and marked progress in their loved ones after moving them from home care and nursing homes to Rosette. Visit livingatrosette.com, email [email protected] or call 610-632-ROSE.
Clark’s Manor – the exceptional residential program where adults with stable mental illness are living their best lives – is growing! Residents can now enjoy weekly music and art therapies and practice mindfulness, learn self-care skills and ways to reduce daily stressors in a new “Be Kind to Your Mind” program. Only three spots remain at this premier, private-pay, personal-care home on a lovely estate off Providence Road in Media. Named for its first resident, Clark Widger, who loves his new home, Clark’s Manor is the first “milieu” style therapeutic program between Boston and Baltimore for adults with chronic mental health conditions. Contact [email protected] or call 610-675-7669 to learn more.
Need practical advice on gender transition? Learn from a local mom who’s been there. Susanna Blake, MA, will present “Binary to Binary: A Gender Transition Roadmap,” the story of her 23-year-old lesbian transgender daughter’s transition, at noon on Saturday, March 25 at Main Line School Night in Radnor. People entering transition, allies, parents and professionals will learn about medical/surgical transition, therapy needs, insurance, legal name and gender change, coming out, voice lessons, transgender conferences and more. Questions? Email [email protected]. $49 “Smart Lunch” session includes lunch and Q-and-A. Register here.
***SAVVY Picks are newsy shoutouts & promos on behalf of our sponsors. To learn more about becoming a SAVVY Pick, email [email protected].
Thrills, chills and an opening week spill at Thrillz, King of Prussia’s new next-gen indoor adventure park
There’s a new cure of cabin fever just minutes from the Main Line: Thrillz High Flying Adventure Park, a mammoth all-ages entertainment palace.
The venue spans 37,000 square feet on S. Henderson Road (two miles from the mall) and features:
- Ninja-style moving obstacle courses a la ABC’s “Wipeout” for ages 6 and up. Think rolling logs, ropes, zip lines, twister, flying saucers and climbing walls.
- Twenty-ft. waterpark-style slides and trampolines.
- Virtual reality 360-degree spinning roller coaster. (Minimum height 56 inches.)
- A NASA-developed spinning gyro tumbler. (Minimum height 54 inches.)
- Jungle-themed black-light laser tag.
- 6,000 sq. ft. three-story playground for ages 4 to 10.
- Mini Thrillz Toddler Zone for ages 3 and under.
- Prize arcade with 30+ games including Skeeball and Kong VR.
- Six themed party rooms.
“We built Thrillz to be the engaging place we wish we’d had when we were raising our two kids,” say owners Lisa and Rob Cannon who left careers in finance to open a trampoline park in 2016 and the first Thrillz in Danbury Conn. in 2018. KOP is Thrillz’ second location.
“It’s the world’s most innovative harness-free indoor flying fun coupled with cutting edge attractions,” the Cannons say. “And it’s designed to appeal to all ages: from little tykes to teens to adults.”
Parents must sign wavers and are allowed to watch. Safety grip socks required. Wear your own or buy on-site. You can bring your own food and drink or use higher-quality vending machines.
A scary accident marred Thrillz’ busy opening week.
An 8-year-old boy was reportedly climbing headfirst down a rope ladder last Saturday afternoon when he became entangled in it, according to news reports. He was hanging by his neck and unconscious until he was freed. Two off-duty police officers administered CPR and he was transported to Paoli Hospital. Owner Lisa Cannon told Channel 10 that Upper Merion police assured her the “boy is OK and the injury is not serious.” Although the rope ladder meets safety standards, it will be replaced by “a softer and tighter rope ladder and the obstacle will be closed until our installation is complete,” Cannon said.
Thrillz High Flying Adventure Park, 555 S. Henderson Rd. (near Floors USA), King of Prussia. Walk-ins welcome but buy tickets online for faster entry. Tickets start at $15 or $20 for one hour of Jungle Gym or obstacle course and top out at $37 for a two-hour combo ticket. Coaster, laser tag, gyro ride and arcade extra. Toddler playground tickets $10 – $15. Parties, corporate team-building and camp packages available.
After the sawdust settled, the only thing left of the old Fritz Lumber Co. is its name, a hat tip to generations of Fritzes that operated the Berwyn landmark since the Civil War.
More ritzy than “Fritzy,” the just-built complex is as newfangled as its predecessor was old school.
Curious about what lurked within the imposing brick-and-wood facade, we asked the site manager, Cheryl Johnes of Sovereign Properties, for a guided tour of The Fritz.
Here’s what we learned:
- There are 67 apartments: 32 one-bedroom units (706 to 872 sq. ft.) and 44 two-bedroom units (860 to 1664 sq. ft.). There are 27 different floor plans. Most units don’t have balconies or patios. Penthouse units have wraparound balconies.
- One bedroom monthly rents are $1,900 to $2,600.
- Two-bedroom monthly rents are $2,375 to $4,050.
- Common spaces on the ground floor include a community room, pool tables, a library, and kitchen. There are “Zoom rooms” on each floor for the work-from-home folks.
- Other amenities: a pet wash station, a window-lined gym with Pelotons and treadmills, a cold-storage area (for food purchases) and bike storage.
- No pool but the rooftop is meant to evoke the good life: a patio with barbecue grill, giant planters, turfed and wooden-decked area and hammocks for lazing around.
So far, the building is attracting “business professionals, older couples and divorcées,” Johnes tells SAVVY. If the weather continues to hold, the first tenants should move in this April.
A pivotal but under-known piece of T/E history was front and center in Wayne a few weeks ago and may be in line for formal school district recognition one day.
Local historian Penny Washington shared “Right Here: The Main Line Fight for School Integration” at Wayne Presbyterian Church Feb. 12, part of its Black History Month speaker series.
Washington’s talk recounted the “Berwyn School Fight” – the two years during which parents of 212 Black children kept their kids home from school to protest the district’s decision to segregate their children into older, inferior school buildings: Mt. Pleasant School in Wayne and the Lincoln Highway School in Berwyn.
Petitions were signed, protests were organized, and dozens of Black parents were jailed and fined for their children’s truancy.
The Main Line NAACP and noted civil rights attorney Raymond Pace Alexander, who worked pro bono, fought the impasse, which ended only after the PA Attorney General intervened with the T/E school board in 1934.
A number of returning Black students suffered learning losses and were reassigned to earlier grades where classmates derided them as “retarded.” Some kids never returned to school. Others were sent to schools elsewhere. “Families were ripped apart,” Washington explained.
“The Berwyn School Fight provided the legal framework for the Brown vs. Bd. of Education decision [outlawing segregated schools],” she said. “Main Line African-American working parents fought for their children… [it was] a worthy fight that deserves remembering.”
Washington and audience members talked about current efforts to change curricula “to erase our history” and school funding inequities.
“Inequality still exists in the school system here on this Main Line. Now what are ya’ll gonna do about it?” she challenged.
TESD School Board President Roberta Hotinski, who attended the talk, said the district hopes to commemorate the Berwyn School Fight. “We’re gathering names of students and parents that were involved. We need to acknowledge this happened in our community.”
This and That
Blue Elephant finally opened in the former Matador building in Wayne this week. We’ll have a full report on this innovative Asian fusion restaurant and bar by the owners of Azie on Main in our next issue.
It’s Main Line Today Restaurant Week through March 11. A record 40+ dining spots are offering special fixed-price lunches for $25, $30 or $35 and dinners for $30, $45 or $55. (Beverage, tax and tip extra.) Now’s your chance to try all the new or newish spots SAVVY’s told you about including Bar Alimentari at DiBruno Bros. in Wayne, Buena Onda in Radnor, Dua Mediterranean Kitchen and The Pullman in Bryn Mawr, Twenty One Pips, Osushi and Rosa Mexicana in Ardmore, Santucci’s Pizza in Paoli, and Joey Chops in Malvern. Older favorites like The Refectory, White Dog Cafés and Autograph are on the list, too.
A new fast-casual combo is coming to Paoli. Quincy’s Original Lobster Rolls and Grumpy Guys Sliders & Fries will open in the old Nick Filet building this spring, owner Jeremy McCann tells us. Full scoop in a future SAVVY.
Fancy chatting up three stars from “The Real Housewives of New York?” Luann De Lesseps (aka The Countess), Dorinda “Make it Nice” Medley and Ramona Singer are appearing together live on stage next Thursday, March 9 at the Colonial Theatre in Phoenixville. And SAVVY is giving away TWO FREE VIP TICKETS to the intimate meet-and-greet and the show. Hop on over to @savvymainline on Instagram for details on how to enter this fun prize drawing we’re running exclusively on Instagram.
Classic women’s clothier Sara Campbell is now open next to Taste of Britain in Wayne’s Eagle Village Shops. The Boston-based company operates stores up and down the East Coast. Enjoy sips and bites and 20 percent off your purchase on March 1, noon to 5:30. The center’s first-ever Nail Salon, EV Nail Bar, should also open shortly in the former Vivi G. Shoes space.
Easttown Township has a new manager. Supervisors unanimously appointed Don Curley to the job last week. Gene Briggs left for the same job in Coventry Township at the end of December.
Plans for a grand beachfront hotel are being floated in Ocean City, NJ. Builder/developer Eustace Mita proposes to build a $150 – $175 million hotel in classic, turn-of-the-century style in the city-owned lot next to Wonderland Pier. An Icona Resorts property, the hotel would dwarf its neighbors and rise eight stories in the center and cascade downward from there. Mita told the Ocean City Council that the city desperately needs hotel rooms and his project would revitalize a part of town that sorely needs it. Mita has long owned a home in Ocean City’s southern end.
A local developer who summers in Cape May County is one step closer to building a $65 million resort on 30 acres four miles from Avalon. The local planning board just approved a use variance for “Clermont Lodge,” a Pocono-style “woodland escape for mind, body and spirit” proposed by John Connors Sr. of Philly-based Brickstone Cos. Connors’ plans include two “event barns,” indoor and outdoor pickleball courts, indoor pool, spa, a playhouse/chapel, croquet lawn, walking trails, a restaurant and tavern. Guests would stay in the rustic main lodge, bungalows or small cottages. If Connors secures various governmental approvals, he says he’ll break ground in the next two years.
Convicted murderer Brian T. Kennedy is awaiting sentencing in the 2019 shooting death of his ex-wife, Stephanie Miller, inside the Wawa on Sugartown Rd. in Wayne. It took a Delco jury only a half hour to find Kennedy guilty of 1st-degree murder on Jan.26. The judge ordered psychiatric and drug-and-alcohol tests on Kennedy a day before the sentencing hearing, according to the court docket. Kennedy shot Miller four times with an AR-15 rifle in a crowded Wawa in March of 2019. At the three-day trial, Wawa employees testified they were so stunned when Kennedy walked in wearing all black and toting a gun, they thought the gun was fake. Miller had obtained a protection-from-abuse order against Kennedy but it had lapsed six months prior. The couple’s son is being raised by Miller’s parents and is reportedly doing well.
The Malvern-based nonprofit, A Child’s Light, is starting a support group for Mothers of Sexually Abused Children. Parents looking for emotional support and strategies for healing should email Leslie Holt at [email protected] or call 610-405-2968.
The driver who fled the scene of the crash that killed a beloved Willistown bicyclist will spend at least a year in jail. Michael Larkin, 40, was sentenced to 11.5 to 23 months for failing to stop and help Michael Hackman, 64, after his car hit Hackman as he cycled on Providence Rd. in July of 2020. In poignant victim-impact statements, his family said Hackman had dedicated his life to public service and was looking forward to retirement and travel. Among the nonprofits Hackman shepherded: the Devon-based Uncommon Individual Foundation, Chesco’s Decades to Doorways program for the unhoused, the Prison Society, and Big Brother Big Sisters of Philadelphia.
A possible breakthrough in the pitched battle to save Oakwell, the historic, environmentally rich and ecologically sensitive estate next to Stoneleigh. Lower Merion School District has struck a tentative deal that would give Black Rock Middle School students priority use of baseball and softball fields at the Polo Field in Bryn Mawr. The district is also talking to Natural Lands, which owns Stoneleigh about a possible educational partnership using Oakwell’s greenhouses. Is the war won? Hardly. The Polo Field deal still needs the school board’s OK. And LMSD says it still might bulldoze part of Oakwell for other Black Rock Middle School sports teams. Notably, four of nine school board members are not seeking re-election this year.
T/E School District is seriously considering spending roughly $55 million on a sixth elementary school. Faced with projected enrollment increases, possible full-day kindergarten, and five elementary school buildings already maxed out – particularly Valley Forge Elementary, TESD is exploring two sites on land it already owns: near Valley Forge Middle School in Chesterbrook and near Easttown Library. Also on the table: redistricting to balance school populations and adding to existing schools. The public has three more chances to learn more and ask questions: March 6 at Valley Forge Elementary, March 8 at Devon Elementary and March 20 at Beaumont. All meetings start at 7 p.m.
Taste of the Main Line returns to the Radnor Financial Center March 16 and may we say, it’s looking especially tasty. Where else can you nosh on Fiore Rosso, The Choice, Savona, Rosalie/White Dog/Autograph, The Pullman, Cornerstone, At the Table BYOB, and the soon-to-open Amada (and many more) under one roof? We’re also salivating over the “Popup Craft Beer Garden” with brews from Will’s + Bill’s, Levante and Conshohocken Brewing Co. Tickets are $75 and support The Emergency Aid of PA Foundation’s work to improve lives of local children and families.
Grab your gal pals for a fun spring afternoon for a cause that’s near and dear to our, well, hearts: the Women’s Heart Initiative at Main Line Health. Enjoy chef’s selections and “Wine Walk” tastings with three sommeliers, a giant Wine Wall, local pop-up shopping and an informal fashion show of Gingy’s spring styles at “Heart of Life,” May 7 at Waynesborough Country Club. Your $125 ticket benefits Maternal Heart Health programs at Main Line Health.
NBC pulled the plug on “Friends” nearly 20 years ago but the iconic show lives on in syndication, on HBO Max streaming, and, until late May, at the King of Prussia Mall. “The Friends Experience” in the Pavilion (above Cheesecake Factory) faithfully recreates the show’s sets, props and costumes. Friendly staff will snap your pic on the orange couch, at Central Perk, in Monica and Rachel’s kitchen, on the guys’ Barcaloungers, etc. You can buy their pro pics later in the gift shop, or better yet, just hand them your cell phone. Timed tickets start at $32.