Bringing the Spirit of Handcrafted Excellence to Ardmore, PA

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We are pleased to be serving our devoted customers and connecting with new ones, in the Philadelphia area with our 11th store bringing us into the region with a fresh new approach.  Following on the heels of opening our Chestnut Hill Store, just over a year ago, we completed the interior construction of our new Ardmore store, just in time for the holiday Black Friday shopping rush. To make this go from concept to reality, we had an incredible team that made the opening of the store possible, with staff contributing from every department in the company. Our company is united by a culture that is dedicated to providing a “wow” shopping experience.

Quote from our press release;

“The Ardmore store will invite customers to explore—or perhaps discover for the first time—our glass and pottery collections,” said James Murray, Senior Vice President of Product Development + Design. “The shop’s warm, contemporary interior and displays take a cue from our flagship location in Vermont; by referencing that historic building and vibrant makerspace, we hope to bring the spirit of handcraftsmanship to our newest location.”

Deciding on the best location is key, and Jay Benson, our CEO, researched and evaluated the marketplace to find Ardmore to be an optimal destination.

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The design process started with imagining the type of space and feeling that takes cues from the experience of the Mill in Quechee, Vermont. We developed a material selection of complimentary, beautiful, real materials, that include walnut shelves, white oak flooring, wrought steel, walnut fixtures, and clay inspired earthy paint tones, that are used throughout the main retail floor.

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Illumination is a key element to showing the characteristics of our iconic glass products, so we employed built-in LED lighting technology into all our fixed shelving. To really make our evergreen trees glow, we built the lighting into the surface of the shelves so trees are illuminated from underneath.  The overall concept of the store was then rendered to capture our fresh aesthetic, that appeals to the customer that looks for our humanistic approach to design.

We utilized our retired wood molds from blowing glass, to create a textural wrap around our main counter.  Neil Cockwill, Director of Forms, carefully selected and collaged the molds together, at our facility in Windsor, Vermont. We also feature our vine chandelier over the cash wrap counter as a focal point. We contracted Andrew Pearce to build a series of walnut and steel furniture, for us to use in cross merchandising statements.

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The store design is featuring a separate studio space, in the back, that highlights our handcrafted pendants and lamps, which makes it easier for interior designers and customers to make buying decisions from our lighting collection. Our contractors worked quickly to demise the space, and go through the process of re-configuring it to suit our needs. They created the lighting studio out of a prior stock room by taking down walls, and rebuilding it into a useful space. The shelving around the store was custom built for us and they house all of our core products, delineated by their category.   

Kathy Marshall, Creative Integration Manager, on the planogram:

“The product assortment for Ardmore is curated to include top performers and new designs, based on the store size. Within this framework, we assign categories of product to specific fixed shelves and dynamic displays, as well as carefully considering the placement of the product to make shopping easy.”

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James Murray, Jackie Collier, Jacob Perron, Lindsay Harrington, Jay Benson, Jen Smith and Michael Robinson

A few weeks before the store opening, a group of us visited the store location as the construction had begun to check on progress and interview candidates to work at the store.  

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Jen Smith, our new VP of Retail, started in July 2019, joined us after a long tenure at Crate & Barrel, rallied the retail team for an incredibly organized and quick opening.

“We had so much fun opening the Ardmore store – it was a fast and furious process! In just 3 days, we unloaded and unpacked 16 pallets of product and set the displays. It was a small, but mighty team! Opening in the busy holiday season meant that everyone had to be flexible and efficient.”

“Huge shout-outs to:
Stephanie and Amanda, our warehouse managers, and the shipping team at our Oakland, MD facility, John and Josey, who delivered the product the moment we got the green light. Jackie, Retail Operations Project Manager, who coordinated all of the scheduling, travel, logistics and supplies for the store. Jeff, Field Visual Merchandising Manager, who set up the store visuals while training the new staff every step of the way. James and Kathy, who came up with the vision for the store and created a detailed and thorough planogram for execution. And our planning team who pulled the product from our warehouse to merchandise during the busiest time of the year!”

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Emily Kurz, Michael Robinson, and Colleen Charleston

“Michael, the store manager, and Emily, full-time sales, had come up to Vermont for orientation, so they were immersed in the Simon Pearce culture, the Vermont way of life, and have a whole new appreciation for the artisans who create our product. They, along with our part-time sales associate, Colleen, have welcomed returning customers who remember our brand from Brandywine, and introduced new customers to Simon Pearce.”

From our founder, Simon Pearce:

“I started making glass because of the human quality you find in real handmade glass. One of the best ways to share that experience is to put the product directly into the hands of our customers. Opening a location in Philadelphia gives us the opportunity to better share our story with an important market for us.”

Designer James Murray featured in Surface Magazine

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James Murray pictured above, full article in Surface Magazine here.

“Whether ideating biomorphic chandeliers or sleek barware sets, the glassblowing aficionado searches for exciting new ways to honor Simon Pearce’s ethos of combining character with function.” -Ryan Waddoups

Some of the featured Simon Pearce products below.

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“I’m most excited about Alpine, my soapstone and glass barware collection. The soapstone elements can be frozen, and once chilled, can keep drinks cold. It’s been well-received and demonstrates how uniting different materials can be a great source for new design concepts.” -James Murray

As the weather turns warmer, and we look for ways to stay cool, sipping chilled drinks can do the trick.  Ice is the usual cooling element, but if you don’t want to water down your drink we propose using frozen soapstone, paired with our handcrafted glass as an optimal way for tasting drinks, particularly bourbon.

The Alpine Collection was also featured on this blog here and on our website here.

vine chandelier

“The Vine chandelier is a new direction for Simon Pearce—we can combine glass in near-limitless combinations with metal for lighting.”

In partnership with the Modern American Blacksmiths of nearby Hubbardton Forge, this handcrafted light fixture is designed to illuminate your dining table, kitchen island or entryway in beautiful hand-forged metal and handblown glass.

The Vine Chandelier was also featured on this blog here and on our website here.

Future development in streamlined, glass-handled bar tools, prototypes shown above, also mentioned in the article.

Check out the full article in Surface Magazine here.

The Waterbury Collection

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In design, we continue to be inspired by the natural surroundings here in Vermont. The immersion in Nature easily influences our perspective on developing objects, as the natural elements are filled with interesting forms, textures and colors.  When we consider a new glass line, we strive to capture the artistry that comes from the handmade formation of glass, and the impressions that Nature makes on us.  Fluid and malleable glass is almost unlimited in the possibilities of what can be achieved, and we impose our ideas and reflections on it.

While hiking the Waterbury Trail, we happened upon a small waterfall, and were stuck by how the element of water is always a delight for sense of sight, sound and touch. We also ventured to nearby Moss Glenn Falls for a more dramatic experience.  We  wanted to capture the essence of water flowing and the swirling textures that occur in a new glass.  We started R&D of the glasses based on sketches, but looked to the glassblowers to turn out each glass with a unique interpretation of the watery impression.  Each glass captures a moment in time, with an artistic gesture.

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The collection started with a tumbler, and then we scaled the same design up to a hurricane shape, which looks incredible with candlelight going through the swirling effects.

To compliment the tumbler, we created a carafe with a simple elegant form that lends itself to the layering process of gathers to create optic effects.

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Thinking about lighting, and the interaction with gathered glass effects, Simon created the Waterbury lamp in two sizes, to compliment the collection.  As the glassblowers work with these voluminous shapes, the layered effects of the double-gathered glass give a feeling of water movement that is visually stunning.  The lamps come to life when you see the light going through the glass, much like the dynamic impression from the streams and waterfalls of Vermont.

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Chestnut Hill Store

We are pleased to open our 10th store today in our new Chestnut Hill, MA location. This store opening was made possible by the collaboration of key people with many different specialties, here at Simon Pearce. With this essential teamwork across departments, we have set a new bar for ourselves with this beautiful retail experience.

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The store reflects a new direction of design, that takes people on a journey to discover a unique connection to us through glass and pottery.  Our main intention of the store design, is to welcome the customers to explore the world of handcrafted excellence, and bring the essence of the Vermont landscape that inspires us to Chestnut Hill.   

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Overall, the store has a warm natural contemporary feel, with beautiful real materials of solid wood, wrought steel and earthy tones that are used throughout the main retail floor. It appeals to the customer that appreciates a humanistic approach to design, with a blend of our two important core concepts: exquisite iconic products and simple practicality to be enjoyed everyday. The product presentations are intended to inspire with dynamic displays and make shopping easy by categories.  The planning and product development teams mapped out the store with focused planograms.

A copper-top bar, similar to the large one we have in our flagship Mill will highlight our barware, and connect back to Vermont.  We are featuring a pair of our recently launched vine chandeliers that make a focal point in the center of the store. They show a new dimension of what we can do with our glass and the element of light.

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In the front of the store we installed a large scale video screen, that reveals the mastery that goes into our products, with the artisans that make them. 

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The retail team, lead by Dana Sabatino, VP of Customer Experience, coordinated efforts to outfit the store and finesse the product displays.

The store fixturing is an assortment of furniture designed specifically for this new location.  The combination of solid walnut and burnished steel create a streamlined aesthetic for the retail floor.  Jan Mollmark built the illuminated shelving units throughout the store, that feature our quintessential glass and pottery.

From drawing to reality.

We partnered with Andrew Pearce to have the pieces hand-built here in Vermont, at his facility in Hartland. Andrew and his team worked over the span of many weeks to refine the construction details for both the steel welding and wood, to finish it all under one roof. The result is an elegant group, built to last.

The new store design features a separate studio space in the back that highlights our handcrafted pendants, and lamps with a table in the center, where interior designers can meet with clients. 

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The studio is also conducive to the Gift Registry, where customers have this work table on which to create their ideal place-setting, or to choose the personalized assortment that they would want to have in their home.

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The retail team has opened the doors!

“The new store is fantastic; awesome job by all. Thank you.”       -Simon Pearce

Vine Chandelier

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An eye-catching beacon in our retail locations, by popular demand, Simon Pearce now offers the Vine Chandelier for the home.

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Design of the chandelier was inspired by clusters of grapes growing from vines in the South of France.

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Head of Design & Product Development James Murray collaborated with Hubbardton Forge to create the now-iconic chandelier silhouette that lights the Simon Pearce Bar at
Quechee and our Portland location.

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In partnership with the Modern American Blacksmiths of nearby Hubbardton Forge,
this handcrafted light fixture is designed to illuminate your dining table, kitchen island
or entryway in beautiful hand-forged metal and handblown glass.

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Each glass globe is handcrafted by our master glassblowers, thus creating a truly unique and one-of-a-kind piece.

Edit: You can buy it here.

Lighting the Way

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Our design intention is to blend functional geometric pieces with art-glass techniques to create a diverse collection. The character of the pendants changes a great deal with the choice of light-bulb – they can appear moody, elegant, or bright, depending on what the customer desires.

 

Pendants work in a variety of interior settings and also encourage the customer to be creative, such as in building groupings or clusters of them. The modularity of the simple designs allows for repetitive compositions.

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Simon Pearce introduced pendants to the market as another avenue for customers to experience our glass, and by combining them with our lamps, we consider ourselves a destination for lighting and a resource for interior designers, architects, and the discerning homeowner who may be building or remodeling.

 

Looking at the lighting assortment, the Warren lamps add a simple, modern, voluminous form to the overall line. The Warren silhouette is now available in both glass and ceramic.

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The Echo Lake Collection

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Upon, studying the water flowing over the waterfall at the mill and the ice that forms in the winter, we came up with these natural textures to capture in glass.

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The glass blowers use fine strands of molten glass that are quickly wrapped around these cylindrical shapes to create a watery and icy effect.

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As a beautiful series of winter hurricanes, the candlelight glows through the finer wrap texture in a way that is visually stunning.

 

We started with initial drawings but also worked closely with the glassblowing team, to arrive at the optimal amount of textural coverage. Each vessel turns out unique, and we embrace the irregularity that comes from the process of making them.

Perfectly, imperfect is a key characteristic of Echo Lake, and a hallmark of our ethos.