To celebrate the holiday season, Manayunk business owners and managers told us about preparing for the busiest time of year, how they make each ustomer experience special, and what shopping local means to them.

By Megan Douress and Leksey Maltzman
Photography By Melissa Kelly (melissakellyphotography.com)

 

“Holidays are a really special time for people. They get to spend time with their dearest loved ones — their friends, their family, their significant others. We just really want to be a part of that moment for our customers. We want to help them feel as confident, happy, sexy, and beautiful as they possibly can, and a lot of the clothing we bring into the store really does represent being your best self. Every girl likes a little bit of sparkle, so we have a lot of sparkly pieces too.”
— Lisa & Laura Anne Lamprou, Owners of LILA Fashion International


“The holiday season in Manayunk is heart-warming and a fun way to connect with new customers, as well as reconnect with old customers. We love to chat, learn about each other, and catch up while gift wrapping, knowing that the recipient will be beyond excited to receive their jewelry, which is always the perfect gift! Shopping small is personal — it creates relationships. There is no substitute for the genuine care and attention that you can get at Gary Mann Jewelers and all the boutiques and shops in Manayunk.”
— Gary and Norma Mann, Owners of Gary Mann Jewelers


“My customers like to support small businesses and don’t want us to disappear. Small businesses are sort of a hub for the community to get to know each other, hang out, and experience their neighbors in a way that you can’t get a big box store. Time and time again, people come in here and say, ‘I could have bought this at Barnes & Noble or Amazon, but I keep coming here to have a more personalized experience. I get to hang out with somebody and talk to somebody who likes the things I like and answers the questions I have.’”
— JD Korejko, Owner of Johnny Destructo’s Hero Complex


“People have so many options to shop, and the fact that people take the time to come down to Main Street shows how much they appreciate the hard work we put in as small business owners. It really means alot to me. They understand all of the thought, time, and money that goes into running a small business. I start placing my holiday orders in July. It’s very weird picking out ornaments then, but by the time they get here, it’s really exciting to open everything and to start planning what the look of the store is going to be that holiday season.”
— Brandy Deieso, Owner of The Little Apple


“We love helping people host family gatherings because it allows us to be a special part of their holiday. If you come into our store and say, ‘I have four people or 34 people coming over,’ we are going to help you with the essentials to set that table — dishware, linens, and decorative accessories to make your table welcoming. We don’t see it as our dishware on your table — we see it as you enjoying a family dinner, and we gave you the tools to get there to be the best host or hostess. It’s more about the memories and experience that we’re providing people because of the product we sell here.”
— Kathy Piccari and Taryn Rager, Owners of Pineapple on Main


“Growing up, my dad always gifted me with one special book for the season. I still remember those books and I have kept all of them throughout the years. They connected me specifically with my father — knowing that we could share something together and discuss it together. I think the wonderful thing about books is that you’re not just purchasing an item. You’re purchasing the time — either giving time for someone to be able to read the book, or if it’s a children’s book, you’re giving that child your time to spend together to read it with them.”
— Ann Tetreault, Owner of The Spiral Bookcase


“Manayunk has the walking charms of any classic European village. During the holidays, nothing can be more personal than connecting with someone who owns their own boutique and understands the value of a great customer service experience. A find of that unique piece of vintage jewelry, a piece fashioned locally with a rare and exotic gem, or a micro-manufactured wristwatch can be the perfect piece de resistance to make each holiday memorable.”
— Martin Pulli, Owner of Martin Pulli-Timepieces and Fine Jewelry


“We dress a lot of women for their holiday parties this time of year. Whether they’re hosting the event or going to a holiday event, we do everything from day to night, cocktail dresses, dressy and non-dressy pieces. It’s definitely about getting their vibe — to see what they are comfortable with and as well as understanding the needs of that client and where they’re going. We want to them look nice and feel good this time of year.”
— Nicole Munoz, Manager at Nicole Miller


“We feel very connected with the small businesses on Main Street. It’s great that we all know each other and root for each other — that’s what we’re about. We like to consider ourselves the hub of the running, walking, and fitness community, so to have people come in and get to know us — building that relationship with people — ties into the community. We do the Rudolph Run, which is a fun 5K fundraiser every year. Runners brings canned goods to donate to the North Light Community Center and everyone gets really into it.”
— Neil Townsend, Manager at Philadelphia Runner


“We have been doing this for a long time and we think that one of the things that is nice about the gallery is that when you give a piece of art, it’s for life — it has meaning. We have people that have pieces of ours that come in and say, ‘We got this at Christmas in the 80s. We still have it and enjoy it!’ We think art has lasting meaning because it was created by somebody. Manayunk has a long tradition of being a great holiday destination between the historically charming architecture and the great small stores here. We think there’s a much better spirit to shopping in a small district.”
— David Decca & Sandy Zanetto, Owners of Orbit Gallery


“People come to my store for the personal one-on-one experience. They know I’m here — I always remember what each customer bought for their significant other the year before. Customers come to me to help them because they know I can find the right gift they are looking for. Shopping local is so different from going to the big box shops. Small businesses know their customers and they know they’re getting a great product.”
— Meredith Podob, Owner of Latitudes and Longitudes


“We really try to make the store festive and pretty for our customers during the holiday season. For customers who don’t know what to get their significant other, we work with them to select a gift that is really personal, beautiful and timeless, like jewelry and cashmere scarves. We also get customers who need a holiday outfit for special occasions. This year, the trend is velvet or a trouser for the holiday, so you’ll be seeing a lot of that on our customers.”
— Anna Purcell, Owner Threads On Main


“Cigars are the perfect gift for the holidays because they offer a chance for a coming together moment between others. You can have a round-table experience where you can connect with someone on a different level that basically gives you a ‘cigar’s worth’ of time — an hour to an hour and a half — to connect with someone beyond a face value interaction.”
— Eli Swett, Manager at SMoKE Manayunk: Cigar and Hookah Lounge


“We always play holiday music in the store this time of year. We bring in the most recent holiday albums, plus the classics. “A Charlie Brown Christmas” vinyl, “She and Him Christmas” vinyl, and Motown Christmas albums are a few of the big ones. We usually have a store party sometime in December for our regular
customers to let them know how much we appreciate them coming in all year round. Manayunk is such a nice, close neighborhood to be in.”
— Jamie Blood, Manager at Main Street Music


“I like to say glasses are jewelry for your face. To me, eyeglasses are a great gift, but they’re a personal thing. If you give someone a gift certificate for glasses, they can come in a choose something and we can fit them for the perfect eyeglasses or even sunglasses. It’s always a good idea — very functional.”
— Jack Goldberg, Owner of The Eyeglass Works


“The holidays can be this really commercial moment where you’re going out and grabbing all of these commodities. Not only are our items really pretty, but we aren’t exploiting anyone in the process of building that product for you. It’s going to last forever, and it was made ethically by someone who was paid and compensated fairly, which I think is a great thing to support, especially during the holidays. Year-round, we carry a really refined edited mix of vintage items that have a really classic, romantic nostalgia feeling but really fit into contemporary fashion landscape very well. We make sure everything is 100% ethically constructed.”
— Mary Spears, Owner of Millay


“Our customers are all about DIY gifts. Because of that, our holidays start a little earlier and continue right up until the end with some fevered knitting and crocheting. We also offer our customers a wish list to fill out. We’ll keep them on file so people can refer to them and give their loved ones exactly what they want. Big box stores don’t offer the community that we do. My customers like the experience of having help readily available at the store because at the big box craft stores, if you mess up on your project, there isn’t anyone there who can straighten you out.”
— Lisa Johnson, Owner of Hidden River Yarns


“A science gift from here is not just another toy you’re gifting — it actually has value from a learning perspective. We get a lot of kids who will be holding a few items and the parent says, ‘Put that on your list and maybe Santa will get it for you.’ I’ve also had plenty of times where the parents were shopping and they were slipping me those items behind their kids’ back to get for them
from Santa.”
— Matt Kriebel, Owner of Spectrum Scientifics

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