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Tredyffrin Easttown Food Fashion

Bailey Kreszswick

Clay’s Bakery

By Bailey Kreszswick, Staff Reporter

Making the main line sweeter day in and day out, Denise Bones turned a bakery into a small family-owned business.

Since opening Clay’s Creative Corner Bakery in 1990, the 1982 Conestoga alumna, her husband Bill Bones and her mother Barbara Clark have been running the bakery for 33 years. They serve a variety of sweets from cookies and cupcakes to personally decorated cakes.

“I really want everybody who walks in to walk out better than they came in, feeling better and having a smile,” Denise Bones said.

Denise Bones’ father Clayton Clark, passed away a year before the shop’s opening. She decided to name the bakery in his honor.

Bones had all five of her children involved in the business, decorating cakes, making pastries and serving customers since the age of 12. In the present, it is still family-run, with the children operating the website as well as continuing to decorate and serve customers.

“The best part of it is that I really do get to see my kids all the time, and we’ve been lucky,” Denise Bones said. “I can know them a lot better, and they know me a lot better as another person as opposed to their mom.”

Alongside making cupcakes and an assortment of pastries, customers know Clay’s Bakery for its personally decorated cakes. The bakery has a team of 20 employees, including three decorators and five bakers, who are trained to turn customers’ ideas into realities.

“We are so custom and so agreeable to change things out and add things in — getting to the point where we could do something for you that might look $1,500 in a picture, but we do it so that you’re just as happy when it’s affordable,” Denise Bones said.

The bakery’s employees enjoy connecting with the community through discussing cake designs and serving customers at the counter.

Clay’s Bakery is open on Wednesdays from 10 a.m–6 p.m., Fridays from 10 a.m.–6 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m.–4 p.m.

“We take it very seriously what we do here as far as just the connection we might make,” Denise Bones said. “Even if it’s for a minute, even for one cake these people have ordered.”

Riddima Pandey

Spatola’s Pizza

By Riddima Pandey, Staff Reporter

With limited knowledge of the food industry, local resident Massimo Spatola never envisioned himself opening a restaurant. Now, he is the owner of seven pizza shops named Spatola’s Pizza located across Pennsylvania.

Since its inception in 1987, Spatola’s Pizza has branched out to multiple locations in Pennsylvania. Spatola opened the pizza shop in Paoli in 2012.

Spatola is from Palermo, Sicily, and when relatives offered his family an opportunity to move to America, they saw their chance to start fresh.

“It gave me so much more opportunities than I would ever have over there,” Spatola said. “It allowed me to grow a business that I probably wouldn’t be able to do over there.”

Before Spatola arrived in America at the age of 11 in 1986, his brothers were already working at Stromboli’s Pizza in Queens, New York. Soon his brothers earned enough money to start their own business named Spatola’s Pizza. After Spatola graduated high school, he joined his brothers in helping run the business. After years of growth, Spatola’s Pizza expanded to more locations.

Ever since he started running the business, Spatola has learned to love working in the restaurant industry.

“I really like what I do, and when somebody walks in the door, they can see that you love what you do, and they can respect it,” Spatola said.

Running a small business has come with challenges. Spatola had to figure them out along the way with the help of his siblings. After years of experience, Spatola realized that passion is what grows the business.

“If you believe what you’re doing is good, the business will come, and (the business) actually suffered for the first couple years,” Spatola said.

Despite the challenges of running a small business, Spatola loves his job. Opening a shop in the community has given him a chance to meet new people.

“People are very warm, and during Christmas, they come in, and they bring gifts for us,” Spatola said. “They’re just very generous, nice people.”

Not only has Spatola grown a local business, he has also learned to love the people in the community.

“We donate to the church, and we donate to the fire company. It’s a beautiful community. I love the community here,” Spatola said. “All the shops that I own are my babies. I love them. I love what I do, so it’s my livelihood.”

Eva Kennedy

Cafe Pom

By Eva Kennedy, Social Media Editor

Nestled in the heart of the Paoli Village Shoppes, Cafe Pom first opened its doors on Dec. 18, offering a fusion of Armenian and Middle Eastern flavors. Behind the scenes, the cafe reveals a tale of resilience and a commitment to preserving cultural heritage.

Anita Torcomian, a former accountant, founded Cafe Pom after realizing that she wanted to start her own business. She wanted to avoid working for someone else and break free from the role of a stay-at-home mom. Recalling the cafe’s opening, Torcomian cherishes the memory of her friends and family rallying together to set up the store.

“The first week we opened, our entire extended family from the area was here,” Torcomian said. “My father-in-law was washing dishes, my mom was downstairs cooking, our kids were doing the registers and our friends came and helped stock the shelves. Even our cousins were pitching in. It was heartwarming to know that we had so much support.”

The passing of the owner of the store Armenian Delight, where Torcomian had previously worked, became a turning point in her life. Determined to fill the void and introduce diverse flavors of Armenian and Middle Eastern culinary traditions to the local community, Torcomian embarked on her entrepreneurial journey. With the help of former workers from Armenian Delight, Torcomian aimed to bring justice to the recipes of the store.

Cafe Pom also serves as a Middle Eastern market that features authentic ingredients such as teas and coffee. One popular standout item is its Armenian spring water, exclusively exported from Armenia itself.

“It’s traveled a long way to get here and is very difficult to locate in a 20-mile radius or beyond,” said Steven Keytanjian, a close friend of Torcomian and her family. “Some of the best water in the world comes from Armenia. It’s a commodity that may become more valuable than oil someday.”

The shop’s name is derived from the word ‘pomegranate.’ It is not explicitly Armenian but holds cultural significance.

“The pomegranate fruit has a lot of significance with Armenian culture and fertility. So, even though it’s not an Armenian word, it’s very symbolic to Armenian culture,” Torcomian said.

Torcomian’s initial introduction to the idea of opening her own store was a light-hearted moment with her husband.

“The night that I stopped working, we drove past Marple Public House, which was a few doors down from the other Armenian store that shut down,” Torcomian said. “Then my husband made a joke. He said, ‘Oh, maybe you should try to buy that Armenian store.’ He was just joking. But now he says it’s the most expensive joke he’s ever made.”

Madeline Pulliam

Main Line Fashionista

By Madeline Pulliam, Staff Reporter

Main Line Fashionista Boutique gives women a place to find affordable, trendy clothing that does not take six to eight weeks to arrive in the mail. Women in the community can buy clothing for a wide variety of events at the boutique.

Main Line Fashionista started as an online store that shipped all over the country. Along with its website and Instagram page, the brick and mortar boutique opened on Nov. 18, 2022, across from the Paoli train station. The boutique’s Instagram page keeps followers up to date on trends and new arrivals. Award-winning stylist Ashley Meyers runs the local boutique.

“I love Main Line Fashionista. It is such a cute store with a good atmosphere, friendly employees and plenty of clothes to choose from,” said junior Camden Kramer, frequent Main Line Fashionista shopper and former employee.

Meyers began Main Line Fashionista to give women a way to receive styling help and affordable clothes in one place. She has helped find clothing with the right fit for women as well as dressing them for their jobs and TV interviews.

“The reason I opened the store is because I had been a fashion stylist for 10 years and I love helping and dressing people,” Meyers said. “Before the store, I was going into closets or taking women out shopping and helping them solve problems. I love it because it is less about runway fashion and more about everyday problem solving.”

Meyers said that she grew her business backwards. She started the brand online and on Instagram about seven years ago, which is where her following started to grow. She continued building a strong foundation before opening the physical boutique.

“A lot of the time people will open a store first and then try to build the followers, and it’s kind of cool because we worked the other way,” Meyers said.

The boutique has clothes for every season, from sweaters and jeans for the colder months to graduation dresses and skirts for the warmer months. Main Line Fashionista also features locally-made jewelry to pair with the outfits.

“My boutique feels special because it is really fashion forward, but the price is really affordable,” Meyers said. “Often, you’ll walk into a small, little boutique, and it’s really expensive, designer stuff that has the vibe that it isn’t for everyone. But I really wanted to create a boutique that could dress grandma to mom to daughter.”

Abbie Preston

That’s Sew Cool

By Abbie Preston, Staff Reporter

When Kathy Stoeri was managing her daughter’s cheerleading team’s leotard orders, she was faced with the price of $100 per top and a lengthy car ride to Delaware. The next year, she decided to take matters into her own hands.

Ever since then, Stoeri has embroidered, printed and rhinestoned for her business, That’s Sew Cool, in Berwyn. Stoeri creates custom designs on outsourced products and items brought in by customers. The intricate process of creating a piece begins with designing vector art on a computer to program stitches for the embroidery machine, requiring a deliberate balance of analytical and creative thinking.

“It (embroidery) is such a combination between creativity and math, so I use both the left and right brain all the time,” Stoeri said. “It’s very technical in the way in which you set up embroidery. There are certain rules you follow, and it is very mathematical in the way you set it up. But it is very creative and artistic in the way of creating something that has some appeal beyond mathematical precision.”

After growing up in Michigan, Stoeri came to Pennsylvania to earn a master’s degree at West Chester University. She spent years teaching at local school districts such as Great Valley and Phoenixville. With the help of a mentor she met online who assisted her with learning how to operate embroidery machines, she discovered the fundamentals to run her business. She found that being a teacher and a business owner has more similarities than she expected.

“When you’re in your classroom, it really is almost like running your own little business. You have set the rules in that classroom, and you’re responsible for what goes on in that classroom,” Stoeri said. “I have always liked being responsible for what I was asking myself to do.”

While Stoeri enjoys crafting her designs, she said that the most rewarding facet of her job is the people she encounters.

“The bottom line is all about meeting and greeting people, listening to them to know what they want and then being creative to bring that vision or what they need to life,” Stoeri said. “The most fun part for me is the combination of meeting people combined with business.”

After 25 years, Stoeri continues to find enjoyment in her work. Each day brings a new set of tasks that excites her, which is why she continues to run her business.

“I really love it, so I just keep going,” Stoeri said. “I don’t see myself stopping anytime soon. I’m having too much fun.”

Kramer Drive

By Hannah Simon, Co-Copy Editor

Armed with a simple home printer and love for stationery,  in 2004, sisters Meg Robertson and Molly Ryan began Kramer Drive: a locally-based stationery business intent on putting personality to paper.

After starting out with home shows and local orders, Robertson and Ryan hosted an exhibit at the National Stationery Show, at which 135 stores bought their line. The sisters focused on solidifying their wholesale paper business, but in 2014, due to needing more space and meeting increasing demand, they expanded.

Since then, the business has continued to grow, and Kramer Drive currently operates in two locations in Berwyn: an office space designated for stationery design and a storefront where customers can purchase general stationery items along with various clothing pieces, accessories, hostess gifts and knick-knack items.

“It was interesting because we never stopped and said, ‘Do we want to do this?’ We just kind of responded to what the customers were looking for, and it worked out really well,” Robertson said.

Often producing stationery for their customer’s important life events — beginning with weddings and baby showers to birthdays and funerals — Robertson and Ryan have gotten to know the families they work with, an aspect of their business that they said they love and about which they feel most passionate.

“When you’re starting a business, I think you should be passionate about it,” Robertson said. “We really did love it, not just the paper piece and the actual invitation, but we loved the relationships that we formed.”

Growing up on a cul-de-sac with 12 other families, Robertson and Ryan experienced foundations of family, friends and community early on. Now as co-business owners, they put these values, and their customers, first.

“We want them to feel welcome. We also want them to feel good. We want them to come in and feel like they’re going to feel happy when they leave,” Robertson said.

Robertson and Ryan currently work alongside a team of approximately 30 women, designing fresh items including an in-the-works baby catalog and everyday stationery line which features notepads and thank you notes. No matter the direction the business takes, Robertson and Ryan said they are fortunate for the outpouring support from the T/E community.

“We see the middle school kids come into the store on Friday afternoons when they go to Handel’s to get their ice cream. We like that. It’s like, ‘Yeah, people come in and know the store but also feel comfortable there,’” Robertson said. “It’s not a surprise when you look across the floor and you see three people chatting. And that’s the best feeling because that’s an element of shopping that you really wouldn’t expect, and it means so much to us.”

Eva Kennedy can be reached at [email protected].

Bailey Kreszswick can be reached at [email protected].

Madeline Pulliam can be reached at [email protected].

Riddima Pandey can be reached at [email protected].

Abbie Preston can be reached at [email protected].

Hannah Simon can be reached at [email protected].

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