From Start to Finish: The Wellens Storefront Improvement Project

Wellens Hosiery is a great business here in Tacony. Selling women’s clothing, this family-owned business is located at Wellington and Torresdale Ave. Working with owner Steve Wellens, we’ve completely changed the appearance of Wellens to invite customers in and celebrate the retail nature of this business.

Many alterations over the years had changed the overall appearance of the storefront and robbed the interior of daylight.

Many alterations over the years had changed the overall appearance of the storefront and robbed the interior of daylight.

Many storefronts, like Wellens, on Torresdale Ave have been altered over the years. Layers and layers of alterations had changed and distorted the Wellens storefront. Window bays had been applied and created display spaces that were too small and unusually sized. Original window spaces had been boarded up over time.

During the 1910′s and 20′s when many storefronts were constructed on Torresdale Avenue, storefront displays were an important part of retailing and showcasing merchandise. But, gradually, over time storefront displays were surpassed by more modern environments including artificial lighting. The rise of the modern office and corporate office environment made the appearance of clothing under artificial lighting (florescent) more important than natural light. The modern mall best embodied this concept where large displays and mannequins were placed under artificial light to reproduce the modern office environment. Other storefronts on Torresdale Avenue mimicked this approach, closing off exterior windows.

In this photo of Roosevelt Mall you would be hard pressed to find any windows at Department Stores.

In this photo of Roosevelt Mall from 1964 you would be hard pressed to find any windows at Department Stores.

Wellens had replicated this environment with no outside windows. The golden era of the mall from 1960-1990 eventually passed, and the modern office environment became synonymous with dreary corporate environments devoid of connection to the outside world.  As the golden age of the mall passed, and natural light was no longer a bad word in storefront design and modern retailing we can now restore a natural balance to the Wellens storefront.

Beneath display cases, workmen uncovered historic ads promoting "men's socks and underwear" at Wellens Hosiery

Beneath display cases, workmen uncovered historic ads promoting “men’s socks and underwear” at Wellens Hosiery. You never know what you will find during construction.

So job one at Wellens was to let the light (and the customer) in. Our work crew removed the distorted window bays and discovered old ads that had been used to attract customers. We installed new windows to open the storefront back up. Stucco was used to blend with the original brick in areas with fill.

New windows welcome customers inside. Siding is replaced with complementary stucco, shaded as brick.

New windows welcome customers inside. Siding is replaced with complementary stucco, shaded as brick.

Our volunteer designer, Lindsey Tweed worked to give Wellens a new graphic identity taking cues from Women’s Clothing.

Taking cues from Women's Clothing designer Lindsey Tweed linked the product with the business brand.

Taking cues from Women’s Clothing designer Lindsey Tweed linked the product with the business brand.

The last major phase of the construction project was integrating the Wellens logo with a distinctive “signature” awning. Aztec Signs was able to construct this signature awning and integrate the logo as well as the “stitch” motif to amp up the curb appeal for drivers and pedestrians passing by.

Awning fabrication is an art form, as the Wellens logo and paint are applied by Aztec Signs.

Behind the scenes awning fabrication is an art form, as the Wellens logo and paint are applied by Aztec Signs.

When the final awning was applied it created a beautiful storefront, linking two different buildings together, and promoting Wellens as a women’s clothing store.

A beautiful storefront with a large window display invites you inside.

A beautiful storefront with a large window display invites you inside.

Stop by and check out the new storefront!

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About Alex Balloon

Alex Balloon is the Commercial Corridor Manager of the Tacony Community Development Corporation in the Tacony neighborhood of Philadelphia.
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One Response to From Start to Finish: The Wellens Storefront Improvement Project

  1. Eddie Jankauskas says:

    Best that corner looked in 30 years!!

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