Pattye Benson

Community Matters

Tredyffrin: Open for Business . . . and Closed

The economy is taking its toll on businesses across America and unfortunately, locally we are not immune. There is such joy when we see signs of growth and development in the area retail and restaurant market but a sense of sadness when we see the closed signs. It is particularly tough if you know the owner and developed a relationship with one of these entrepreneurs who dared take the journey in spite of the economic warning signs.

Such is the case for me with Jake’s Frozen Custard in the Paoli Village Shoppes and owner Missy Shaw. With enthusiasm and Midwestern charm, Missy opened Jake’s 10 months ago and this week a ‘closed’ sign hangs on the door. Missy’s smile and good humor was contagious . . . her spirit (and her frozen custard) will be missed!

If Jake’s closing has you looking for respite from the summer sun, remember other local favorites Whirled Peace and Rita’s Water Ice in Paoli and Handel’s Ice Cream in Berwyn.

Another Paoli business that opened with fanfare last year but recently closed it doors — Doggie Style, a boutique-type pet supply shop in the Paoli Shopping Center . . . don’t know if it saw it’s first anniversary.

However, there are some openings in Paoli to report – Shoppe Flare, specializing in gifts and monogrammed items, opened on Lancaster Avenue across from the Paoli Village Shoppes. Re-Max Realty on Lancaster Avenue is now sharing space with a new Dunkin’ Donuts store. The newly opened store with a drive-through window is only a couple of blocks from the existing Dunking Donuts. According to the manager of the new store, the same person owns the two locations. Until the lease runs out on the old store across from the train station next year, both locations will be open.

If you have driven down Rt. 252 in Devon lately, you will notice much activity in the Valley Fair shopping center. The construction on the new McKenzie’s microbrewery is well underway. Retrofitting the old Charlie Brown’s restaurant, McKenzie’s is planning a September opening — we’ll have to wait and see if they meet their planned timeline. In the same shopping center, the new Mealey’s furniture store is also moving forward in their construction.

The long empty box store that housed Linens & Things in Devon may have a new tenant. The interior of the store has recently been gutted and new checkout counters installed . . . no more specifics, although a hopeful reader suggested maybe a Bottom Dollar grocery store. Speaking of the Bottom Dollar grocery store chain, remember for a while the Chesterbrook residents thought that Bottom Dollar was headed for the empty Genuardi’s space. Although the Bottom Dollar deal fell through other rumored tenants have surfaced, including a farmer’s market and recently a Movie Tavern. A fun concept with a full bar and food menu (plus movies) this idea for the Genuardi’s space is also ‘dead on arrival’. Apparently, the prospective Movie Tavern developer did not think that Chesterbrook shopping center provided sufficient visibility. (If you are interested, a Movie Tavern recently opened to rave reviews in Collegeville).

There are new rumors swirling for the old Duffy’s catering property in Daylesford. If you recall, a controversial high-density mixed use development plan by developer ARC Wheeler failed to win public support in 2007 and the property has remained vacant and undeveloped. Apparently, there is new discussion for the 13-acre site – nothing firm yet but I have heard assisted living or retirement center development plans.

As of last month, the Whole Foods in Devon is now selling beer for take-out and in their new Mile Post Pub. Looks like a new Starbucks location for Devon . . . Township planning commissioners reviewed a sketch plan for the construction of a Starbucks and drive-thru in the Devon Village Shopping Center at last week’s planning commission meeting.

A different kind of ‘closing’ occurred in Mt. Pleasant on July 21. Ruled accidental by Tredyffrin police, a fire totally destroyed the playground equipment at Mazie Hall Park. An early estimate of $60,000 in damage, the township playground is insured. Looking ahead to a timeline for repairs and a new ‘opening’ for the local residents, a meeting was held last night with township staff, supervisors and Mt. Pleasant representatives. Sean Moir, chair of Parks and Recreation attended the meeting and provided the following update from the meeting:

There was a meeting tonight between township officials and Mt. Pleasant community leaders to discuss the Mazie B. Hall tot lot fire. Paul Olson, Michelle Kichline, Mimi Gleason, Dean Wilkins, and myself were representing the township.

The township has filed an insurance claim . . . The Park Board has been asked to come up with replacement options for the community. Once the options have been compiled, they will be presented to the community and we will try to provide the best affordable solution.

It’s hard to predict the timing since we don’t know when the insurance company will get back to us.

Here’s hoping that the insurance company can move quickly to settle the case and get the playground at Mazie Hall Park ‘open for business’.

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  1. Another note from the P.C. mtg Thursday was that Paoli’s Boston Market would become a PNC bank branch. Wonder if this PNC would replace the PNC in Westlakes Corporate Ctr? Guess we’ll find out shortly. Just what we need is another bank along Rt 30.

    Another rumor I heard is that the Paddock is in trouble & may be closing. I’m not a patron as it’s too noisy. Anyone have an update on this?

  2. Great, another bank…the amount of banks on the main line is staggering. I prefer the Boston market.

    Paddock has ok food and is way over priced, that is a losing strategy.

  3. Boston Market closing? That place always seems to be doing a brisk business. Of course, I remember some years ago when Boston Market (I think they were called Boston Chicken back then) over saturated this area with their restaurants. They were like the Starbucks of the mid 90’s because there seemed to be about one every 1/4 mile along the Main Line.

    Speaking about establishments that might be closing: I understand that the St. Davids Post Office in Wayne was on last week’s list of the 203 Pennsylvania Post Offices that are on the chopping block.

    I also read in the Philadelphia Inquirer that The Reader’s Forum Bookstore in Wayne might also be closing.

    I remember Gene Books in the King of Prussia Mall very fondly, and was disappointed when it closed. If The Reader’s Forum also closes there will not be any independent bookstores remaining in the area.

  4. I have been curious about all these banks too. Is banking that profitable that they are springing up like lilies on a spring day? Thought banks were in trouble. Maybe the smaller banks are popping up to fill a void created by the big banks becoming immobile and fraught with regulations(overregulations?)

    Maybe they are positioning themselves for the big economic revival? Or maybe PNC is indeed moving to a better location.
    Whatever the case, there are alot of banks out there.

  5. Paoli has more banks and pharmacies per capita than any place i have ever seen. buncha sick wealthy folks must live there . . . . The hospital may account for the pharmacies, but I dont understand why any bank has retail branches anymore . . . . There must be 20 banks in Paoli by now.

  6. In Wayne too restaurants & stores have come & gone. A couple of months ago, drove east on Lancaster & my oh my how things have changed.

    Remember Paoli Diner used to be Lanky’s, a Pizzaria Uno sometime after the demise of Twadells Diner. For us oldtimers, Twadells was the place to meet & greet (1950s, 1960s, 1970s). Still miss the place. Paoli Diner can’t & will never hold a candle to it. (Don’t ask me to write a review.)

    As an aside, Boston Market used to be a Roy Rogers (originally founded by Marriott, sold off to Hardees in 1990, then sold off to Boston Market in mid 90s). I used to get my diet busting fix there. Quick & easy to grab something after school sports practices.

    A couple of weeks ago, I had an urge for KFC (more calories & bad cholesterol) & stopped by the KFC/Taco Bell in Frazer. Alas no more; closest location now is Exton. Wonder if the one in West Chester is still open.

    Let’s see what happens to those vacant Paoli storefronts on Rt 30 (Lancaster Pike) opporsite the train station.

    Any readers out there who work for businesses in our local corporate centers? What are you seeing in your office buildings?

    Wonder what else we’ll see leave the area to go somewhere else or close. I see troubled times ahead..

    1. I wasn’t around when Twaddels became something else, I was living over in Horsham or Ambler, then a few blocks below Front and South, in South Philly. After marrying and moving to Collegeville, I drove by and saw it as the Paoli Diner.

      The last time I ate there was at a Little League Banquet in the early 60s, while my brother was in the same class as Howard Twaddell, at Paoli Elementary, now Delaware Valley Friends School. I doubt I’ll return, after reading the reviews on Yelp!

      Before becoming a Roy Rogers, the Boston Market was a Marriott Hot Shoppe, and it was THE teen hangout in the late 60s.

      Does anyone else remember the WigWam drive-in restaurant, across from the old Post Office on Lancaster Av. (now a Radio Shack, I think), where they brought your meals to you on trays, something like the Sonic Drive-Ins at Limerick and Norristown.

      1. Yes,I lived on Circular Ave across the highway from the WigWam. We used to hang out over there when they built the Bi Pixie Restaurant before it became the WigWam. It wqas like Arnolds on Happy Days with the drive up and the young waitress’ would come out to deliver your food. The actual building is still there today. Before the Big Pixie there was a old diner there which is now up the road and it’s called the Frazer Diner. Across the railroad bridge on North Valley was a hang out called the Paoli Slop Shop. It was just over the bridge to the left on Bracken Avenue. I think Eddie Dorcheck owned it. Our favorite hangout was Doc Iretes Pharmacy on the corner of Paoli Pike and Circular Ave. It had a ice cream/soda fountain and a pinball machine. One of my favorite places to eat outside of Twadells was the Paoli News Angency. Best Burgers and Mugs of Hires Root Beer in Penna. First place I went when I got home from the service in 66. Actually stopped there first on my way to my home on Circular Ave.

    1. That location appears to be a hard place to make money with a restuarant.

      Back in the 1990’s there was a restaurant there called Rib-Its which went belly-up. Then about 7 years ago a John Harvards Brew House gave it a go, but it also went bust.

      Sounds like Paddock’s woes just shows that, in this instance, the third time is not the charm.

      1. for what its worth, (hearasay) I know someone who’s good friend is the owner and my contact said he heard no such thing, that business was good and no hint of closing.

        1. There were two original owners: one bought the other out late spring/early summer. Perhaps the solo owner’s style is different .. ? Don’t know with certainty.

  7. Can someone confirm the Paddock issues rather than all speculate (and contribute to) its demise?

  8. give, I posted here earlier but can’t find it.

    I don’t think the Paddock is closing. Heard from the grapevine. Sorry about reverse speculation.

    Facts would be good here. Agreed. Not good to spread rumors about someone’s business about it closing.

    1. Thanks. The Covered Wagon was there forever….my parents took us there every New Year’s Eve in the 50s and 60s. So the location is quite well known — just not a good economy for restaurants. If you like a place, eat there on week-nights…..only way to retain staff and stay ready for busy weekends is to have business during the week. I went to Jake’s custard ….just not good access to it. No easy way to get to it spontaneously (right turn access was even tough). Nice people. Good ideas are not usually enough. I went in there for a custard pie and was told it would take a week to order….so it was a tough business model.

  9. I remember the covered wagon. Went there once to check out for a rehearsal dinner. Went some where else. But as a newcomer to the area we were told to check it out, as it had been there for a while.

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