by Emily Vanneman
Beth Milley has been the owner of specialty retail stores for a long time. The previous owner of Butterflies and Bullfrogs and At the Chrysalis, both in Bucks County, she is embarking on a new enterprise grounded in her childhood love of Pippi Longstocking.
A newcomer to Chestnut Hill, Milley will open a retail shop for children’s clothing called, appropriately, Villavillekula, the home of Pippi Longstocking, with sizes ranging from newborn to 6/6X at 8135 Germantown Ave.
Prior to living in Chestnut Hill, Milley resided in Montgomery Township. In 1995 she combined her two stores under the Butterflies and Bullfrogs name. After operating the store for 18 years, she sold it in September.
“My mother lived in Chestnut Hill for some time, and I’ve been a member of the Chestnut Hill United Methodist Church for 20 years,” Milley said. “I just moved here in September after my boys were both off to college and the store was sold.”
Milley discovered her love for Pippi as a young girl and the memory of the story has infused itself into her imagination.
“I love Pippi’s spirit,” she said. “I remember as a young girl – say 8-ish – reading the book for the first time and being captivated with her. She looked at the world differently – finding ordinary things and making them treasures. I want the store to embody her spirit. All the clothing, accessories, toys and gifts I have chosen are full of color and imagination.”
The decor of the shop will mirror the feel of Pippi’s story. There will be a small section of the store dedicated to resale items called Pippi’s Finds.
Many of the accessories and gifts sold in her store are designed by mothers in the United States and Canada and align with Pippi’s story and imagination. Most of the clothing sold is either custom-made or made in the United States, and many items will be organic.
Milley’s other stores shared similarities in creativity and imagination.
“I opened a women’s store named At the Chrysalis where I created a space for women like a retreat,” she said. “Same idea: providing high-end, quality merchandise for women – affordable. It was an environment like being cocooned – oriental rugs, crystal lamps, beautiful music, coziness – and we all loved it.”
Milley hopes that her memory of Pippi’s story will inspire the parents and children who visit the store.
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