Jewel of the Main Line
At the open-air oasis known as Eagle Village Shops, shop and dine in fine style
by Phil Gianficaro

Reflective of the first word of its new name, an experience at Eagle Village Shops will send a customer’s shopping experience soaring.

As one strolls the brick-paved walkways of the beautifully landscaped, open-air shopping village in Wayne, its charm is evident at every turn. Charming boutiques, distinctive fashion shops, fine jewelry stores, unique furnishings and gift stores, an oil paintings gallery, an auction and appraisal house, a floral shop, a salon, barber shop, personal services and three restaurants renowned for gracious dining and impeccable service are among the 30 sparkling businesses at this jewel of the Main Line.

“Customers have enjoyed a unique shopping experience with us for 33 years,” says Donna Torpey, general manager of Eagle Village Shops. “But over the past three years that experience has improved substantially with the capital improvements to the village and the addition of more wonderful businesses. The village was built in the early ’80s and was starting to show its age. So when the economy tanked in 2008, we started an effort to bring the shopping center back to life. It was the first serious economic recession that affected retail; consumer consumption dropped. We’re a luxury market, but we felt it across the board.

“We wanted to make the improvements at that time so we’d be ready when the economy improved,” she continues. “We put a good amount of money into marketing, changed our name to Eagle Village Shops, created our logo, and improved the look of our buildings. We created freshness and a buzz that made us more visible to customers and tenants. We now have buildings that create a positive atmosphere and match the hype. In our marketing we discovered we needed this fresh makeover because we’re an open-air format and primarily boutique stores.”

Eagle Village Shops will never be mistaken for a typical shopping center littered with chain stores whose façade and merchandise looks the same whether the venue is the Philadelphia suburbs or the California hills. No, Eagle Village Shops is renowned for the uniqueness and intimacy of its shops.

“That’s what makes our shops special,” Torpey says. “You’re always going to find something exciting and fresh at our shops. There’s a nice mix of stores. We have two new antique stores—Balée Antiques & Design and Silver Moon Studio Antiques. We brought in a fresh, young entrepreneur who opened Menagerie, a fashion-forward men’s and women’s accessories boutique showcasing designers from around the world. They have their fingers on the pulse of what customers are looking for.”

J. McLaughlin is a men’s and women’s classic American brand store featuring quality clothing and accessories with a flair for bold colors and signature prints. For fun, flirty clothes, there is Skirtin Around, which features sassy skirts, classy coats, preppy pants and silky shirts. For those shopping for contemporary clothes, distinctive jewelry and eye-catching accessories, there is Ellie and Gramercy.

Even an Eagle Village Shops anchor store such as Valley Forge Flowers, which features expert floral stylists, exotic plants, unique gifts and even a European café, underwent expansion and renovation.

“The changes to Valley Forge Flowers were met with a whole lot of excitement in the community,” Torpey says. “The building itself was built to LEED standards. It’s environmentally responsible and energy efficient. It has geo-thermal heating and cooling, and uses recycled materials. In our marketing we discovered we needed this fresh makeover.”

While the majority of customers to Eagle Village Shops live within a five-mile radius, marketing surveys indicated that customers were also traveling from as far away as Allentown, Downingtown and Wilmington, Del. The survey also showed that a younger group was mixing in with the shops’ core customers, moving Eagle Village Shops to attract businesses like Vivi G. Shoes, an edgier boutique which offers a more youthful experience.

“That type of store gives us balance,” Torpey says. “We’re now finding that because we have a store mix, we’re hearing from people who didn’t know this store or that store was here. People used to come for a particular store and leave. But part of the excitement over the past three years is creating an environment where people stay and shop. We’ve succeeded there, but we’re still evolving.”

While Eagle Village Shops continues to evolve, there are some constants, such as long-time tenant Georges’, an award-winning restaurant owned and operated by internationally renowned chef Georges Perrier, which is perfect for a quick bite, intimate meal or fun meeting place to gather with family and friends.

“The hallmark for all our stores is customer service,” Torpey says. “It’s about calling them when we have new merchandise, being on a first-name basis, and going the extra mile. We want to focus on the customer experience. That’s what drove us to the changes we’ve made, and it’s what drives us to the changes and vision we see two years from now. It’s all about the customer. That’s what sets us apart.”

Eagle Village Shops
503 W.  Lancaster Ave.
Wayne, PA 19087
Hours: Sunday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Phone: 610-293-2012

Phil Gianficaro is an award-winning writer based in Doylestown.
Karen Shimer is a photographer from Pottstown.