1616 Walnut Street won't be the same.
With its lease up in September, designer boutique Joan Shepp is indeed moving from its current location, co-owner Ellen Shepp confirmed Wednesday morning.
"They are renovating the building," she says of property owners who manage the 24-story historic high-rise known as the 1616 Building. Although Shepp admits that she was initially reticent and weary of the change, she's now embracing the move as a "really posititive" adjustment.
"I know she didn't want to leave," says Rittenhouse Row Executive Director Corie Moskow, who asserts that the homegrown specialty boutique is one reason why the retail destination is "special" and "unique." Joan Shepp has remained a staple along the shopping and dining haven since its opening in 1999, with the mother-daughter duo playing an important role in the city's development and lifestyle scene over the years. "[Joan] is a really important member of the community, and she loves Rittenhouse," says Moskow. "It's our sincere hope that the Joan Shepp legacy will continue for decades to come." Shepp says she's "thankful" to the city and Rittenhouse Row for their support during this transition period.
Where the designer boutique is headed remains a mystery. However, Moskow discloses that Joan and Ellen have hired a "great" broker who is currently helping them scout locations. Shepp tells me that they do have a few leads, and remains adamant that Joan Shepp's 1616 Walnut Street spot will remain open through the summer until they open their new spot. The plan is for there to be an overlap in locations, so that the boutique "won't even close for a day," Shepp says.
"We don't consider change being awful," Shepp says. "It's a really positive thing."
Both Joan and Ellen believe that the move is an opportunity to reenergize the Joan Shepp name, which already has a significant following and enough fashion cred to help land Philly on best shopping destination lists worldwide. "My mother is all about reinventing," she says. "We do it in some ways every season, certainly every year. We're really excited to reinvent ourselves again!"