Spruce Lane Shops: Petit Jardin en Ville

Petit Jardin en Ville
Neighborhood: Old City, Philadelphia
Vibe: Refined, Classical, European, Parisian, Elegant, Composed

Good for: Floral and Gardening Services, Gifts, Fresh Flowers

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Welcome to Petit Jardin en Ville, a beautiful flower studio located in the heart of Philadelphia's Old City Neighborhood. Petit Jardin en Ville draws its inspiration from Paris, if you couldn't tell already from its French name that translates to "small garden in town". The studio quite literally fits this description, except I would add a few more adjectives such as exquisite and elegant as well. 

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When I visited the studio, I had the pleasure of meeting Claudia and Vincent, who are husband and wife and also co-owners of the business. Claudia is originally from the Greater Philadelphia Area, but spent years abroad in living in France studying floral design under a prominent local florist. Her husband Vincent is from France and specializes in garden design from his many years of working on his family's orchard. Together, the pair decided to join their creative forces and relocate to Old City, Philadelphia to pursue their dreams of opening a local floral and gardening business. So here we are today. 

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Petit Jardin en Ville's elaborate exterior is what initially drew my attention to the store. Through my past years in New York and now Philadelphia too, I haven't seen anything quite like it. Claudia mentioned they've experimented with different exterior designs that have proven to be successful with attracting new clients and customers. This taught me to never underestimate the power of a strong exterior and/or window display.

The inside, however, is just as beautiful as the outside. You really can pick up on Claudia and Vincent's classical aesthetics through the colorful arrangements of roses, lavender, and greenery sprinkled in here and there. They also display an impressive set of vintage pieces they've collected during their frequent trips to Paris for inspiration. Between the beautiful florals and quintessentially French design, you really will feel as if you've been transported to Europe when visiting the studio. Aside from flowers, gifts, candles, and vases are also for sale. 

In addition to being a retail space, Petit Jardin en Ville offers a number of private services for floral designweddings and events, corporate services, as well as garden design and maintenance. I was able to also take a peek into their outdoor living showroom located just around the corner. Here, clients can view beautiful garden and patio spaces that can serve as inspiration for custom designs. For now, this showroom is by-appointment only but Vincent is hoping to convert it to a retail space similar to the flower studio soon. 

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I asked Vincent if he missed living in France, given how vastly different it seems from Philadelphia. He cheerfully proved me wrong, saying that Old City very much feels like a European city, with its quaint sidewalks dotted with many small local shops and historical charm. When you look at it that way, he's right. I'm really excited to see where things go with Petit Jardin en Ville. Between the development of its outdoor living showroom, veteran flower shop, and participation in Philadelphia's local Design District, this independent business has a lot of promise for a bright future.

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Speaking of bright, the next time you simply want to brighten up your day or stop and smell the flowers, I encourage you to visit Petit Jardin en Ville. You won't regret it. 

For all updates on PJEV, follow them on Instagram at @petitjardinenville

Au Revoir! 

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Spruce Lane Shops: Art in the Age

Art in the Age
Neighborhood: Old City, Philadelphia
Vibe: Artistic, rustic, community-focused, niche, creative, upscale
Good for: Anything and everything bar-related: books, glassware, decanters, flasks, mixers PLUS gifts, accessories and more

Art in the Age

Art in the Age

When I first dove into Spruce Lane and started to do my research for places to see, I knew Art in the Age in Old City was a key player, but wasn’t exactly sure what it entailed as it’s so different (in a good way) from most traditional boutiques. “Is it a store, or a bar? What kind of things can you buy there?” were some of the questions I asked myself. With an Instagram following of 20K+ users, this place had to be something special. Once I was able to finally visit Art in the Age myself, everything seemed to click and I understood why it has such a great reputation and high level of respect from the local community. 

Art in the Age

Art in the Age

Art in the Age (AITA for short) is a home bar supply store and tasting room. That’s right, two concepts in one shop which makes it a very cool place to experience. Through their Instagram account, I saw that they were hosting a release party for a new spirit and decided to buy tickets for the event with my boyfriend. It was the debut of their Fortunato’s Fate whiskey in partnership with local distillery, New Liberty, and also was part of The Rosenbach’s super fun Bibliococktails Series. Again, we weren’t really sure what to expect but we figured it’d be a fun way to see AITA for the first time while also grabbing a drink after work. When we walked in, we were very pleasantly surprised. Not only because the store was strikingly beautiful, but also because it was full of people and we were right on time for the event! Having coordinated these types of events in previous jobs of mine, I knew this turnout was impressive. When we beat the crowd to the bar (that is inside of the store), we ordered two specialty Fortunato's Fate cocktails that were both very tasty and went down smoothly. We also really enjoyed hearing from “The Philly Poe Guy” who humorously spoke at length about the historical context of the whiskey’s name, as it was inspired from Edgar Allen Poe’s short story, The Cask of Amontillado.

Art in the Age

Art in the Age

This overarching theme of showing an appreciation for local history while adding a modern twist became very prevalent after attending the event and later touring the rest of the AITA shop. The store's name is actually derived from Walter Benjamin’s 1935 essay, Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, paying homage to Benjamin's affinity for American craftsmanship and heritage which is clearly reflected within the store and overall brand.

Art in the Age

Art in the Age

For us shoppers who are dying to know more about what you can buy here, the list of bar-related items is extensive, so I’ll shout out a few things that stood out to me.

  1. Books - If you want to educate yourself on the makings of a specific cocktail or the anatomy of your favorite spirit, then you are in luck. There is a heap of really cool, creative cocktail recipe books here. The colorful Bloody Mary book cover jumped out at me. I'd love to display this in a bright, sunny kitchen or on a coffee table at home. 

  2. Glassware - There is a specific area dedicated purely to beautiful decanters, tumblers, shakers, stirrers, you name it. This is definitely the place to go if you want to impress your significant other, or anyone really, with a very nice piece to add to their barware collection. AITA also has a unique collection of vintage items too for the more serious collectors. 

  3. Spirits + Mixers - Well, obviously you will find a wide variety here considering that Art in the Age is a cordial brand itself and converted into an 'artists' collective' retail space ten years ago. You can shop from their line of products that have incredibly creative tastes (Sierra Fig and Black Trumpet Blueberry, anyone?), as well as spirits from the aforementioned New Liberty Distillery along with syrups, bitters, mixers, and more. Oh yes, and they also have booze-flavored lollipops if that's up your alley. The margarita flavor was pretty intriguing.

  4. Home, Gifts, Apparel - To top it all off, you can shop from a variety of unique gifts and AITA branded apparel here too. Shop herbal teas from local vendor, Terra Luna, as well as small batch soaps, cute stationery, and pantry items. The AITA logo is very cool, so I'm definitely contemplating buying myself a t-shirt to rock around the streets of Philadelphia. 

Art in the Age

Art in the Age

After the event, my boyfriend and I came back to AITA on a Saturday morning to do this shoot and learn a little more about the store and brand. Upon taking another tour, we left feeling humbled by the level of expertise each staff member had about the retail space, spirits industry, and brand heritage. What a great and unique post to have in the Philadelphia community, we thought. I plan to come back to experience the tasting room during happy hour and hopefully attend another workshop or event. To keep an eye on all things AITA and see what's next on their ever-evolving schedule, follow them on Instagram at @artintheage.

Till next time!

Art in the Age

Art in the Age

Spruce Lane Shops: The Geisha House

The Geisha House
Neighborhood: Old City, Philadelphia
Vibe: Chic, feminine, bohemian, contemporary, free-spirited
Good for: Women’s apparel, resort wear, denim, accessories, dresses, dresses, and more dresses

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This past Thursday evening I paid a highly anticipated visit to The Geisha House in Old City and loved every second of it. I initially stumbled upon this store a few months back on a beautiful October day during the Philly Free Streets event, where the Mayor shut down the streets in Old City making them 100% pedestrian and cyclist friendly.

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Before I get into the details of The Geisha House, I want to firstly gush over the block it’s located on (aka one of my dream neighborhoods to live in). To me, this block feels like the equivalent of being in SoHo in New York City, which is one of the top shopping neighborhoods in all of Manhattan. I used to work in SoHo for a period of time, so anything reminiscent of it touches a special place in my heart! I love how quaint this area is, but also how it is so full of creative energy, entrepreneurial spirit, and style.

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I stopped in The Geisha House around 6pm and the store was buzzing with shoppers, which again is the sign of a healthy and thriving small business. I met the owner, Cortney, and her mother who both were a great pleasure to chat with. I asked Cortney how long she had been in business for and she said proudly, “six years!”. I could tell she was a veteran based not only on the beautiful assortment of apparel and accessories she housed, but also by the fun and friendly way she interacted with each of her customers. They all seemed to know her on some personal level which made the store feel even more intimate and part of this special Philadelphia-based fashion community.

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The clothes were fun and extremely stylish. Resort wear was out in the front of the store, so I spent some time perusing the many beautiful sundresses, tops, and denim pieces that would all be perfect for a long weekend getaway down south, or of course for the upcoming spring and summer seasons. Notable styles included a pale yellow gingham dress by Faithfull The Brand, a Pistola brando cropped denim jacket adorned with stars, and a Spell and the Gypsy strappy dress that seems so fun to twirl around in. I couldn’t help but try on a white, short-sleeved button down linen dress from Moon River that caught my eye. Its a-line silhouette and tortoise shell buttons looked so timeless that I knew it would be a worthy piece to add to my spring wardrobe. After putting it on and envisioning a warm summer breeze blowing through my hair, I was sold and made my way to the register where Cortney’s adorable golden retriever was peacefully resting nearby.

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As I checked out, I inquired about Cortney’s career path leading up to the opening of The Geisha House. The more I develop Spruce Lane, the more I fantasize about opening up my own shop one day, so I love to hear stories about how these special small businesses came to fruition. To my surprise, Cortney had a nursing background with little to no professional experience in retail buying, which I thought had to be a prerequisite to opening your own boutique! She said her family (while nodding towards her mother who was organizing the racks) had already been in small business and that she had a natural interest in fashion. Combine the two notions, and you have a boutique! She emphasized that she spent a considerable amount of time business planning during the early years of her career, which had to have been challenging. I found this to be very interesting and inspiring. Running an extremely successful shop for 6+ years in the nation’s 6th largest city is no easy feat. You can very much tell that a lot of love goes into The Geisha House when you step inside the store (I mean, just look at the photos), which is probably one of the many reasons why it remains a top local shopping destination in Philadelphia today.

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For constant updates on new releases, promotions, and more, follow The Geisha House on Instagram @thegeishahouse if you don’t already! It’s one of my favorite accounts.

On a closing note, cheers to Cortney and The Geisha House for being so awesome! I can say with confidence that I’ll be back to shop again soon and hopefully after reading this post, you will take a peek inside too!

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