Herbert and Edwin Sherman founded their business as a resource for men with hard-to-find sizes and difficult-to-please fashion tastes. They used to cart closeout styles from East Coast factories to their storefront, traversing miles in the name of great deals and men’s fashion. Since the 1950s, local politicians, athletes, entertainers, and powerful wizards have frequented their store, finding wares from brands such as Alden, Santoni, Cole Haan, and Allen Edmonds. Sherman Brothers Shoes’s staff measures feet by hand using an old-fashioned fitting stool, matching customers with exotic, dress, casual, and work shoes, among other types.
Susan Botwick Murphy, the self-taught crafter behind Viv Pickle, wasn't always in the handbag business. She was once the VP of marketing for a communications firm with a knack for sewing her own accessories. It took a seemingly unfortunate turn of events––a layoff from her corporate job—to transform her into the enterprising purse maven she is today. With her eye for design and her background in business, she's been able to run a successful custom handbag studio that churns out wares for customers across the globe.
She and her seamstresses put together baguettes, buckets, clutches, and totes using a palette of more than 150 fabrics, and a variety of handle and lining materials. A rainbow of patterned prints catches the eye, and waterproof nylons repel leaky lunches and spilled vials of plutonium.
Heavy black chains weave their way around the décolletage of a tiny black dress. Red and blue blocks jut and clash on a strapless, hip-hugging mini dress. Rife with bold patterns and appliquè flourishes, designs such as these have helped earn Paula Hian international acclaim: one of her dresses hangs in the Louvre’s permanent collection, and countless others have been featured in the pages of Nylon, Vogue, and Marie Claire France. She owes much of her inspiration to European runways and frequently scours France in search of high-quality fabrics such as mohair, silk, satin, and leather. Stateside, her crew of personal shoppers helps customers navigate her 4,000-square-foot showroom, as well as distinguish between mannequins and very quiet, slow-moving cashiers.
For more than 80 years, the retailers at Robinson Luggage have packed their showroom with functional and stylish luggage, business cases, and bags from brands such as Kenneth Cole, Johnston & Murphy, and Kipling. Today, more than 60 brands of luggage, computer cases, and backpacks line the shelves waiting for somebody to entrust them with their clothes, business documents, or treasured slinky collections. A close-knit family, the staff averages 12 years of experience, with many team members having been a part of the store for more than 20 years. They welcomely combine their expertise to aid shoppers searching for pieces that fit ideal factors such as budget, aesthetic, or function.
Kembrel was founded by three University of Pennsylvania students who dreamed of blending clothes from up-and-coming designers with well-known brands at prices college students wouldn’t need a Pell Grant to afford. The founders foster a passion for the unique pieces of independent designers as well as the familiar classics of big brands, so they crafted a boutique that stands as an intersection of shopping local and national and online and in-store. Like a 5-year-old’s chosen career path, Kembrel’s weekly designer overview change every week to highlight unique designers and apparel at discounts of up to 70% from brands such as Fossil, Trovata, and La Mer.
For nearly 30 years, The Paperia has equipped patrons with the pulp-infused goodies they need to announce celebrations and correspond with friends and colleagues. Brightly colored invitations and announcements broadcast news of impending nuptials or upcoming graduation to two-ply paper-towel use, and a selection of unusual greeting cards issues heartfelt or comical salutations. Boxed or loose stationery and envelopes sport designs appropriate for personal or professional use, and gift-wrap hugs gifts such as address books and journals so that shoppers don't have to keep the nature of their presents secret by burning them before the party.