A furniture store’s move to Chestnut Hill is a ‘win-win’

by Stacia Friedman
Posted 2/25/22

“I first came to Philadelphia with a boyfriend and I immediately fell in love with the city’s architecture,” Jett-Lim said. “I wandered around Center City charmed by the Art Museum area and I attended concerts at Curtis Institute.”

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A furniture store’s move to Chestnut Hill is a ‘win-win’


When Therese Jett-Lim was growing up in Louisville, Ky., she had no desire to leave her hometown. But then she fell in love -  first, with a young man, then with a city.

“I first came to Philadelphia with a boyfriend and I immediately fell in love with the city’s architecture,” Jett-Lim said. “I wandered around Center City charmed by the Art Museum area and I attended concerts at Curtis Institute.”

Her first job was at Design Center Philadelphia (formerly Marketplace Design Center), assisting an interior decorator. “I started on the ground floor and worked my way up over the years into management. We worked with beautiful European lines, elegant fabrics and furniture with ornate finishes,” she said. “The designer was a wonderful man and when he eventually retired, I transitioned to Pompanoosuc Mills.”

Going from tassels, satins and antique looks to the contemporary furniture with clean lines that Jett-Lim affectionately calls “Pompy” was an adjustment. “I was living in Roxborough with my husband and daughters, and I wandered into Pompanoosuc Mills on Main Street in Manayunk a year after they opened in 2001. I had never heard of them, but it was a convenient location,” Jett-Lim said. “Little did I know I was finding a new home.”

In many ways it was like starting over. Jett-Lim was going from formal, imported interior design to contemporary, American-made furniture; from an independent design showroom to a Vermont-based company with several showrooms on the East Coast.

“Pompy was quite different. It was a very steep learning curve, but I was able to apply what I already knew. My first impression was that it’s so plain, but I adjusted very quickly to their clean, contemporary style and the beauty of wood,” said Jett-Lim. “Pompy is like a big family. It’s a wonderful, fun company. Most of the employees have been here for decades.”

At the time, Manayunk was one of the trendiest dining and shopping areas for professionals from the Main Line and Northwest Philly. Back then, upscale shops included Roche Bobois, Restoration Hardware and Nicole Miller, along with pricey restaurants appealing to an older, affluent clientele. 

“When Pompy first opened in Manayunk, it was booming, but it fell off when they started to cater to a younger market segment,” Jett-Lim said.  That change in focus rippled along Main Street, bringing more drinking establishments and less fine dining. Upscale retail gave way to bicycle shops. Pompanoosuc Mills was one of the last to leave.

“We had discussions about where we should relocate and I repeatedly championed Chestnut Hill,” Jett-Lim said. “I had first visited Chestnut Hill during a Stag & Doe Night several years ago and was blown away by the community, especially the participation of merchants. I thought, ‘Wow, this is where we should be!’”

Jett-Lim’s enthusiasm for the 19118 zip code fell on deaf ears at first. “They said, isn’t Chestnut Hill off the beaten path?” she said. “I told them no, our customers will love to come here.”

The “Pompy” owners were looking everywhere, and had their sights set on King of Prussia. But Jett-Lim always brought the conversation back to Chestnut Hill. “I knew that not only would our existing customer base come here, but that there is a tremendous amount of people in Chestnut Hill who would support us. It would be a win-win,” she said.

Since Pompanoosuc Mills moved into the space formerly occupied by Jos. A Bank, Jett-Lim has no regrets. “We’re right between Weavers Way and Iron Hill Brewery, so the walk-by traffic is terrific. The reception we have gotten is mind-blowing. I don’t go a day without someone popping their head in the door to say hi,” Jett-Lim said.

Which is how Jett-Lim sold the brightly-colored rug in the window. “It was under a gorgeous walnut-planked Dover Table. I’m getting another rug to replace it because it’s so lovely,” she said.

Another advantage of being on the Hill? “New homeowners are coming in all the time. This is the personality and sense of community I wanted,” she said. 

If you’re unfamiliar with “Pompy,” stop by to learn about their commitment to wood from sustainable sources, including tiger maple, spalted maple, birdseye maple, quilted maple, butternut, bastogne walnut and reclaimed redwood, among others. 

Pompanoosuc Mill builds its furniture to order in Thetford, Vt., using sustainably-sourced hardwoods that are responsibly harvested from the forests of North America. The company generates much of its own energy using its own waste products

According to the company’s literature, they send their wood waste into a clean-burning cogeneration plant, which provides 100 percent of their heat in the winter and about 10 percent of their electricity in the summer.