After more than four years of having a home goods store in Phoenixville, David Friday and Lindsey Herman, co-owners of Hipster Home, relocated their business to Chestnut Hill in October. But the move to 8236 Germantown Ave. was not a spontaneous one.
In fact, Friday and Herman had been frequenting the Philadelphia area, including Chestnut Hill, talking to local business owners and searching for a new home for their store.
Six years ago, before opening their store in Phoenixville, they entered HOST Interiors, then located at Germantown and West Southampton avenues, and met Doug Reinke.
Reinke, who started out in book illustrations and graphic design, is now the owner of HOST, a home furnishings store with locations in Chestnut Hill and Old City. After initially starting a small store outside Philadelphia, in 2005 he moved the store into the city where he has been bouncing around ever since.
“Lindsey and Dave came into my store,” Reinke said. “They were wandering around thinking about opening their first store…They’d stop in off and on until they got to the point of wanting to open their store and I was just always very open and free with advice, weather they wanted it or not.”
Over the years, Friday and Herman continued to visit Reinke, who became something of a mentor to the two through his supportive business advice, even going as far as to share his business numbers with them.
“Doug was the guy we remembered because he was the most receptive,” Friday said. “Once he figured out that we were really green and just wanted to learn, he really opened up to us.”
Then, when sales at the Phoenixville business started to suffer, Reinke was the first person to suggest a move to Chestnut Hill.
“I thought it would be a fresh business for The Hill,” Reinke said. “There’s really nobody else doing what they do here. I [also] think traffic-wise it was way better than what they were experiencing in their first place.”
Friday agreed that their move to the city helped save their business.
“[Phoenixville] is still the suburbs,” Friday said. “No matter how good your store is doing, you still don’t have the density that you have in the city. The more [people] you see equals more sales and that’s the point…People in the suburbs shop differently than [they shop] here. [They] shop malls because they’re really convenient and people here don’t shop malls because they’re not convenient.”
Along with being influential in the location choice of Hipster Home, Reinke has also become involved with the Chestnut Hill Business Improvement District (BID.) Eileen Reilly, retail recruiter at the BID, often connects Reinke with people looking to start businesses in the area.
“I’m pretty involved with [Reilly] in trying to talk to other businesses and meet other business and to suggest other businesses,” Reinke said. “This neighborhood actually feels like a small town in that way. Everyone knows each other and it’s just supportive and working toward a common goal.”
And Reinke’s advice has proven fruitful for Friday and Herman. The people in Chestnut Hill, both old and young, have been receptive to Hipster Home.
“We could never do the numbers that Doug does because he’s honestly just a wizard with furniture and he has a great product line,” Friday said. “But it gave us a window to look into and envision what we could do if he felt that strongly about our store.”
Becky Kerner and Kris Kitts are reporters with Philadelphia Neighborhoods/Temple Multimedia Urban Reporting Lab, a content partner of NewsWorks