Best of the Main Line & Western Suburbs 2009

Our readers and critics pick their favorites.

(page 9 of 21)

Shopping & Service (Critics)

Music Shop: Troubadour Music Shop
This pocket-size music store on the main drag in Wayne is a favorite with the after-school crowd, who lines up for lessons on everything from piano to violin (the only exceptions: no banjo or mandolin). There’s nothing fancy or intimidating about Troubadour. You’ll find free, friendly advice, a nice selection of basic acoustic and electric guitars, candy-colored ukuleles, and enough sheet music to inspire anyone to let their inner rock star shine. 125 N. Wayne Ave., Wayne, (610) 687-1721

Ed Heald of Wendell August Forge (Photo by Jared Castaldi)New Place to See Traditional Craftsmanship: Wendell August Forge
It’s a good bet that even if you somehow miss the clues—incessant hammering and traces of black smoke rising from the chimney—you’ll know how a metal forge operates after you visit the restored Ashbridge barn and see Wendell August’s skilled artisans working around a large hearth. Take a free tour, where you’ll learn how the company’s namesake pioneered the use of aluminum. Main Street at Exton, 103 Woodcutter St., Exton, (610) 363-2426,

New Women’s Boutique: Gramercy Boutique
Khaki Young knew what Main Line women wanted when she opened Gramercy Boutique last fall: fashion-forward clothes that are the perfect balance of reserved and trendy. Young fills the racks of her Spread Eagle Village shop with some of New York’s hottest names, including Dakota Martin, Kage Handbags and Tracy Reese. Just added: jewelry from acclaimed NYC designer Margo Morrison. 503 W. Lancaster Ave., Wayne, (610) 420-3074

Niche Photographer
: Celeste Giuliano
See story. Bala Cynwyd, (610) 220-7707,

Nightlife Attire: Blink
The clothes at Blink cover the three F’s: feminine, flirty and fun. Whether you’re looking for a fabulous dress or the perfect top to go with your best-fitting jeans, you’ll find it among top-selling lines like Holly Morgan, Jenny Han, Susana Monaco, Sky and Ella Moss. After all, why should hip moms have to dress older than they feel? 136 W. Gay St., West Chester, (610) 431-2212,

Person to Know When You’re Expecting: Shannon Choe of Premier Baby Concierge
Shannon Choe, mother of three and founder of Premier Baby Concierge, has made it her mission to make the journey into parenthood easier. She’ll help you create your baby registry, shop for maternity clothes, plan your baby shower, arrange for meals to be delivered, take care of pets while you’re in the hospital, and send birth announcements and thank-you cards. And she just launched Premier Sitter Services, which introduces parents to babysitters. (484) 716-4795,

Place for Kids’ Birthday Parties: Young Sports
Let them run wild at the Main Line’s hippest indoor athletic center devoted to the under-13 crowd. Experienced professional coaches teach children sports basics and team-building skills during a one-hour clinic designed with age groups in mind. After class, kids dine on cake and ice cream in one of their classrooms. And parents can watch the fun from the overhead viewing balcony. 133 Sugartown Road, Wayne, (610) 687-2737,

Tango 411 Studio/Gallery in Media (Photo by Shane McCauley)Place to Add Global Flair to Your Home: Material Culture
For funky, one-of-a-kind, globally inspired finds you won’t see anywhere else, this is your resource. You’ll find beautifully crafted Mamluk, Khotan, Tibetan and Turkish carpets; antique Chinese furniture and Asian chests; hanging lanterns; garden accessories; copper dining and coffee tables; marble columns; and other architectural relics. Odds are slim to none that you’ll walk out empty handed. 4700 Wissahickon Ave., Philadelphia, (215) 849-8030,

Place to Beautify Like the Pros:
Beans Beauty

Arrive feeling like a crumpled dollar bill and leave feeling like a million bucks. That’s what we love about this one-stop beauty outlet. Stocked with a wide variety of hair, skin and beauty products from big and lesser-known names, Beans knows how to help you put your best face forward. There’s no hard sell, and with so many price points, you’ll never leave feeling like you had to settle for second best. Various locations,

Place to Dance Like a Star: Tango 411 Studio/Gallery
If all you want to do is dance, get yourself to this combination dance studio, social hall and art gallery in the heart of Media. It offers a fun, friendly atmosphere where the music is hot and the action is fast. Don’t fret if you have two left feet—Tango 411 offers lessons for beginners. If you’re up to speed, drop in on El Ocho Loco Thursday nights from 9 to midnight. 119 Gayley St., Media, (610) 565-0300,

Place to Dress up Your Windows: The Curtain Exchange
Go ahead, keep telling yourself how much you like the light streaming into the house and the open, airy feeling of naked windows. Then turn to the Curtain Exchange, and revel in its gorgeous fabrics, fashionable designs, more than 100 styles of ready-to-hang draperies in stock (and access to 500 other fabrics), online assistance, and a 48-hour “live with them” policy. You’ll soon realize that you’ve been living a lie. Spread Eagle Village, 503 W. Lancaster Ave., Suite 520, Wayne, (610) 765-1142,

Inside the Wayne Art Center with Marybeth Hurley (Photo by Jared Castaldi)Place to Dress Your Kid Like a Main Liner: Peanut Butter & Jane
With adorable vintage skirts from Matilda & Company, poofy party dresses from Zuccini, and girly smocked dresses from Avavini, it’s no wonder that Main Line moms make Peanut Butter & Jane their first stop when they need just the right outfit for their little ones. And there’s plenty for the little guys, too—like colored khakis from City College and preppy polos from Wes & Willy. Spread Eagle Village, 503 W. Lancaster Ave., Suite 320, Wayne, (610) 254-9300,

Place to Dress Your Son for the Prom: Iacobucci Formal Wear

Few teenage boys relish the thought of putting on a monkey suit and a pair of dress shoes, but give them five minutes with the younger generation at this Main Line mainstay, and they’ll be proud to show off their new threads. Now that you’ve turned your son into a clotheshorse, you’ll no doubt have to up his allowance. In the meantime, you can save a few bucks on a rental with the generous discount Iacobucci’s has worked out with your school. 107 W. Eagle Road, Havertown, (610) 449-1212,

Place to Find the Perfect Seat: Just Chairs & Tables
Finding the perfect throne for you kitchen counter or dining room table can be a tricky endeavor. Luckily, there’s Just Chairs & Tables. For the past 33 years, this store has been dressing up Main Line’s kitchens and dining rooms with the latest looks for far less than its competitors. With more than 150 stools on display, plus casual and formal dining room sets, hutches and buffets, you’ll find everything you need. 333 W. Lancaster Ave., Ardmore, (610) 896-5155,

Place to Indulge Your Inner Monet: Wayne Art Center
Established in 1930, the oldest art center on the Main Line is midway through a four-phase expansion. Classes in pottery, painting, jewelry making and more are taught by professional artists and held in large, light-filled classrooms. Exhibit and performance spaces round out the facilities. You have to join to take classes—but in return, you’ll enjoy excellent instructors, diverse subject matter, discounts on trips, and lectures. 413 Maplewood Ave., Wayne, (610) 688-3553,

All-Star Baseball Academy (Photo by Carlos Alejandro)Place to Pamper Your Pooch: Dogma Premier Dog Spa
If Dogma Premier Dog Spa sounds like a place where you might like to spend the day (instead of your pooch), it’s no surprise. The former ice cream store offers and array of creature comforts, including an underwater treadmill, fluffy towels, nifty bejeweled collars and doggy facials. Pampered pooches are spruced up by Dogma’s skilled groomers, and the injured or elderly benefit from Dogma’s resident rehab veterinarian. There’s even daycare. 105 N. Aberdeen Ave., Wayne, (610) 341-3647,

Place to Train Your Kid to Be the Next Chase Utley: All-Star Baseball Academy
Since its inception back in 1998, All-Star Baseball Academy has helped 300 high school players reach the college level, with a number of those winding up in the majors. Last year alone, 24 seniors went on to play Division I college baseball. With group or private instruction, kids hone their skills in pitching, hitting, catching and fielding. Various locations,

Wagsworth Manor in Malvern (Photo by Shane McCauley)Pool for Pets: Wagsworth Manor
They can’t guarantee Fido will learn the backstroke, but the good folks at this luxury pet resort will make sure he gets to dog-paddle to his heart’s content in their specially designed indoor pool. Wide steps run the width of the pool, so even the smallest canine can enjoy a dip. No word yet on the kitty hot tub. 27 Spring Mill Drive, Malvern, (610) 251-9247,

Printer: Professional Duplicating
No matter the printing, copying or graphic design task—everything from invitations and designer napkins to promotional letterhead and yo-yos—ProDupe’s saavy staff draws from 30-plus years of industry know-how to create clean, noticeably superior products. 33 E. State St., Media, (610) 891-7979, 866 W. Lancaster Ave., Bryn Mawr, (610) 520-1234;

Shop for Lovers of the Great Outdoors: Out There Outfitters
Outdoor enthusiasts make regular stops at Out There Outfitters to shop for the latest clothing, footwear and accessories for adults and kids. The knowledgeable salespeople—all outdoorsy types—are more than willing to educate customers on the ins and outs of brands such as Patagonia, Horny Toad, Arc’teryx, Mountain Hardware, Maui Jim, Barbour and many more. 123 N. Wayne Ave., Wayne, (610) 688-6383,

Pants in Bryn Mawr (Photo by Luigi Ciuffetelli)Shop for the Well-dressed Man: Pants
Owner Jon Segal is extremely selective in the lines and styles he features, focusing on what he defines as “Friday-Monday and casual workday wear.” You’ll find tailored dress shirts from Philly-based Commonwealth Proper and slacks from Theory, along with designer jeans from Citizens of Humanity and AG, polo shirts from Splendid Mills, surf shorts from Relwen, and button-downs from Just a Cheap Shirt. 931 Lancaster Ave., Bryn Mawr, (610) 527-6900,

Shopping Perk
: Wardrobe Revamping at Malena’s Unique Boutique
If you love vintage (and vintage-inspired) clothing and you’ve never been to Malena’s, you’re missing out. Gucci, Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Steady, Sourpuss, Bang Bang Baby and Nicole Rae Styer are just some of the names you’ll find at this very au courant shop. Of course, not all of us can work our closets the way Malena Martinez can, which is why her wardrobe consulting business (a deal at $50/hour) is taking off. Her mission: update, coordinate and eliminate—all to fit your budget and lifestyle. 145 W. Gay St., West Chester, (610) 738-9952,

Sporting Goods: City Sports
Whatever the activity, City Sports has the gear—everything from running shoes and tennis racquets to the latest styles from Billabong, Quicksilver, Nike, Northface and other top brands. And lest you feel overwhelmed by the inventory on its two expansive floors, the friendly, knowledgeable staff will help narrow the many options to best fit your needs and budget. Suburban Square, 51 St. Georges Road, Ardmore, (610) 649-7497,

Sunglasses: Starry Eyed Optical
Just because a pair of shades look hot on your favorite Hollywood star doesn’t mean they’re going to look great on you. That’s why you need Starry Eyed Optical’s Amy Bullock. She’ll pick the styles, sizes and colors that best match your face, choosing from among the latest frames by Dior, Oliver Peoples, Francois Pinton and others. 5 E. State St., Media, (484) 443-8396,

Sweet Wedding Favors: JustWrapz
JustWrapz starts with one of its homemade chocolate bars, wrapping it in sophisticated, personalized packaging complete with a satin or grosgrain ribbon color-coordinated to your event. Customize your favor with initials or a birthday or anniversary message. JustWrapz also offers smaller-sized bars that as an alternative to place cards. And did we mention that they not only look delicious but taste delicious, too? (610) 986-3802,

Unique Lighting: Simply Cottage
Lighting is the hot commodity at this shabby chic-meets-Pottery Barn home boutique. Along with fine linens, whimsical art and other furnishings, it carries an eclectic selection of new and vintage lighting. Whether it’s petite chandeliers for the dressing room, larger fixtures for the front hall, or table lamps and funky globes for the den, you’ll find it here. 367 W. Lancaster Ave., Haverford, (610) 642-2905,

: MedPark
Forget the unexplained dents and jerky attendants. MedPark’s first rule of business is service, service, service. Detail-oriented, punctual and eager to please, the 14-year-old company has earned its loyal following. It even provides driver and emergency assistance like dead-battery jumps and windshield and headlight cleaning. 1380 Bartlett Road, Wayne, (610) 647-3130,

Wedding Florist
: Petah Bashano at Alvins Flowers
Petah Bashano is in high demand among brides-to-be—and his talents don’t end with floral design. With a background in fashion, he has impeccable taste and an eye for what looks simply fabulous. He’s an expert at orchestrating every detail, ensuring a cohesive look—from invitations to place cards. Lawrence Park Shopping Center, 1991 Sproul Road, Broomall, (610) 356-7300,

Women’s Accessories
: Knit Wit
Finish off that new outfit with a Sissi Rossi Italian leather handbag, Il Bisonte leather clutch, or maybe a beaded purse from Moyna. Knit Wit also stocks plenty of chunky bangles, funky belts and hip scarves. We couldn’t take our eyes off the display cases filled with estate jewelry from Narberth’s A. Brandt & Son—including fabulous cocktail rings and antique 18-karat-gold bracelets. 905 W. Lancaster Ave., Bryn Mawr, (484) 592-0576,

Women’s Shoes
: Vivi G. Shoes
No need to run to a major department store to find designer names like Claudia Ciuti, Beverly Feldman, French Sole New York and Michael Kors. Vivi G. is the go-to place for high-end footwear for all occasions, from Juicy Couture flip-flops to Bagley Mischka’s Platinum Collection for brides. Accessories include Lauren Merkin clutches, Rebecca Minkoff handbags and Alexis Bittar jewelry. 587 Wilmington-West Chester Pike, Glen Mills, (610) 459-5848,

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