Welcome to town!

There is a lot of activity in town lately, so much so that it’s hard to keep up! As you know, Ambler suffered a great loss this past month with the closing of The Shanachie; Gerry, Ed and the whole cast and crew will be sorely missed.

Walking in town, a quote made famous by Alexander Graham Bell comes to mind, “When one door closes, another one opens,”ย  and it seems as though there are quite a few doors opening in town. Here’s a rundown of who is new to town, moving around in town, and soon to make an appearance…


Recently Opened

Ambler Golf Shop ~ 10 E. Butler Avenue, (215)628-GOLF, www.AmblerGolfShop.com

Ambler Golf Shop is a retail golf shop that opened mid February. They offer high end apparel for men and women, accessories and equipment, they offer re-gripping services as well. Owner, Kevin Melrath, is a former golf professional with the experience and selection you’re looking for in a golf shop.

Ambler Music ~ 310 E. Butler Avenue, (267)481-2850, www.AmblerMusic.com

Ambler Music is not a new kid on the block by any stretch, just fat and happy in a new location as of March. The extra space allows for a larger variety of teachers and the ability to cater to more students. Ambler Music offers a vast array of private music lessons, as well as general group lessons for children, performance services, recording and more. Whether it’s individual music education or volunteering his time organizing Ambler events, owner, Luke Cleary, is dedicated to increasing the arts and culture in the Ambler area.


Coming soon

Homemade Delights ~ 19 Lindenwold Avenue

Homemade Delights is a locally owned, family bakery featuring freshly baked goods including, cinnamon buns, bread, pies, cookies, cakes and more. Specialty items for the holidays and events will be available as well. They hope to open in early April.

Barberella ~ 44 E. Butler Avenue, (215)643-4066, www.barberellabeauty.com

Barberella is a chic boutique style hair and skin care salon, but they are not new to town, just new to Butler Avenue. After 6 great years on Forest Avenue the need for expansion can no longer be put off! Barberella’s new home has been a salon (Shirley’s) for the past 20+ years, but you may not recognize it, as it is currently undergoing quite the transformation. Owner Trisha Stewart and her stylists will be movin’ on up in May.

Ambler Beverage Exchange ~ 259 E. Butler Avenue

Ambler Beverage Exchange will occupy the former home of Ambler Beverage, but the similarity stops there! Of course they will carry the standard market beers, but the focus will be on local breweries, micro breweries and specialty import beers. Education will be a mainstay, with Ambler Beverage Exchange hosting tasting events and guest brewers. Look for them to open this Spring!

A shoe store of which I do not know the name, or any other details. How about some help here? Anyone, Bueller? ~ 38 E. Butler Avenue


Well, that’s it folks! Ok, ok, just kidding! Wanted to see if you were paying attention ๐Ÿ™‚

Forest & Main Brewing Company ~ 61 N. Main Street, (215)542-1776, www.forestandmain.com

I know, all you care about is an opening date. Rest assured, you’re not alone, but unfortunately I’m amongst the huddled masses. A facebook update this past Sunday said “hopefully by the end of the week,” we shall see. Poor Daniel and Gerard have been working so hard for such a long time, let’s take it easy on them, no banging down the door and commandeering the pub. For now, you’ll have to drool over the photos I took back in January…


As for the Shanachie location, those “in the know” are being very tight lipped about it. All I can get out of them is that there is definitely a restaurant going in, but they won’t say what or when. If you have any information about this or know of any businesses I’m missing, please let me know in the comments below! See you in Ambler!

Categories: Ambler, New Business/Opening

Montgomery County Real Estate Update

I admit it, Iโ€™ve been bad and have shirked my responsibility as a blogger. In fact, I may have lost the right to be called such. Obviously, I havenโ€™t posted in agesโ€ฆ although the reason is actually quite positive. Things on the real estate front have picked up considerably, so much so that I have had little, ok, no time to devote here. Since Iโ€™ve been completely immersed in real estate and it is also a subject that is very important to many of you, I thought Iโ€™d take this opportunity to bring you up to date on our local market.

As I said, the market has picked up considerably, beginning around the first of the year. Typically early January is a relatively quite time in real estate, usually things start to pick up following Super Bowl Sunday (strange, but true). The media sings from the roof tops that it is still a buyerโ€™s market, and while yes, this is true, there are some interesting things happening on the local level.

Interest rates are still unbelievably low and the inventory is still near record highs, but what kind of inventory??? Despite the glut of homes on the market, there is a serious lack of homes with the โ€œWOWโ€ factor. The majority of the homes on the market today are average at best, priced too high, a distressed sale, in poor condition or in a bad location (on a busy road, near train tracks, etc.). Iโ€™m not exaggerating when I say there are a lot of buyers out there looking right now; many of them just canโ€™t find a home worth buying. Itโ€™s not as though these buyers are being unreasonable or picky, I understand their viewpoint 100%. This is pretty frustrating for a buyer who has finally decided to take the leap; theyโ€™ve mentally and financially prepared themselves, flown over the moon and back with excitement, and now they wait, and wait, and look and waitโ€ฆ

I think many home owners who don’t need to sell are holding off, thinking that the market is too soft and theyโ€™ll have a tough time. While this may be true for some, for those who have a WOW house, this is an amazing time. Buyers who have been out there in this market for a while are now able to recognize what a rare opportunity it is when the โ€œtotal packageโ€ comes along. These homes are going under contract in weeks, many just days. Remember, what you hear on national TV and radio is just that, national news. If youโ€™re a home owner or a potential home owner, itโ€™s important to know whatโ€™s happening on your local level.

My suggestion to you as a Seller: Take the extra time to take care of the small details before listing your home, have someone lend a critical eye and be open to suggestions; it can make all the difference in the world. Iโ€™m not suggesting major improvements, as in this market they arenโ€™t paying off in terms of return, however, they are paying off in that you home is going to sell, and sell in a shorter period of time.

As a Buyer my advice is to get out there and start looking, even if your purchase is months away. You donโ€™t need to pound the pavement, but be aware of whatโ€™s available so when the time comes youโ€™ll already have some experience under your belt. It could be the difference between finding and buying the perfect home or missing out on a great opportunity because you weren’t ready. Of course you should get pre-approved before you embark on this journey, as you want to make sure that you have set accurate and achievable expectations for yourself and your new home.

I work all over Montgomery County and some areas of Philadelphia, the conditions Iโ€™ve discussed above are prevalent throughout the area. As you know, Ambler is my specialty and I have to say if you want the quintessential Ambler house you need to give yourself more time than the average bear, as Ambler is less than one square mile so needless to say, these homes are few and far between!

If you are considering a move, but not ready to talk yet, feel free to stick your toe in and test the water here on my site! Buyers are welcome to search all available homes and Sellerโ€™s, you can take advantage of a great tool to help you determine the value of your home. Happy spring!

Categories: Ambler, Real Estate

Ambler Arts Festival 2012

Mark your calendars for the 2012, Ambler Arts Festival! Saturday, June 16, 11am – 7pm you are invited to spend the day in downtown Ambler taking in local, hand crafted art, great music, food and shopping. This fabulous event is not to be missed!

As we get closer to the festival the site will be updated with more information, including featured artists, musicians, and more! If you are an artist interested in exhibiting you’ll find everything you need here. We look forward to seeing you in June!

Categories: Ambler, Events

Sunday at St. Mary’s

Last Sunday, St Mary’s Villa for Children and Families opened their doors to the public for the first time in over decade. There was an overwhelming response from the community, as the former Mattison estate is an incredible piece of property that many have been curious about for quite some time. I, myself, have longed to see the inside of the famed “castle” and have attempted walking the grounds before but only to be asked to leave. I suppose I missed the Private Property signs…

The self guided tour was interesting and informative (I’ve included an excerpt of the tour notes below), although as impressive as the property is, it is sad to see the state of the grounds. The beauty and splendor they once exuded I can easily imagine, but due to the cost of maintenance the grounds are now in very poor condition. Opening the property for this tour is one step towards raising money for much needed maintenance and restoration. Don’t worry if you missed the opportunity, they will be holding tours periodically going forward. Below are some photos I took as well as some information from the tour, I hope you enjoy!

Historical Information

St Mary’s Villa for Children and Families, formerly known as “Lindenwold”, the estate of Dr. Richard Vanseelous Mattison (1851 – 1936). Dr. Mattison was co-owner of Keasbey and Mattison Company of Ambler, the largest asbestos manufacturing company in the world in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Dr Mattison received his degrees from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy (1872) and the University of PA Medical School (1879). He formed the company with fellow classmate, Henry G. Keasbey, initially to produce pharmaceutical products. Since boyhood, Mattison had been interested in asbestos and began experimenting with it in combination with magnesium based carbonate. He formed it into insulating material for pipes and his empire was created.

Ambler flourished due to Dr. Mattison’s influence. Many homes were built for company workers and he was the force behind the development of the electric and water companies. Dr. Mattison was a forward thinking man like many of the wealthy tycoons of his day. In 1888 he purchased Lindenwold which contained an elaborate Victorian mansion. In 1912 he encased it in stone to resemble Windsor Castle in England. Dr. Mattison enjoyed traveling in Germany and Scotland and many of the European features of Lindenwold still exist today.

Dr. Mattison was married twice and had three children by his first wife, Esther, whom he married in 1874. Their first child , Esther Victoria, born about 1878 died at the age of four from typhoid fever. Their second child, Richard Jr. was born about the time she died and their third, Royal, in 1895. Both Richard and Royal worked with their father in the family business. In their early adult years, Richard lived on Cedar Lane and Royal in 8 Lindenwold Terrace. Richard never had children, but Royal had one, Royal Jr.

Dr. Mattison’s business thrived until the depression years. He was forces to move from the Castle around 1934 to 1 Lindenwold Terrace. Lindenwold eventually sold to the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth (the present owners) in January, 1936. Dr. Mattison died in November of that year at the age of 85.


There is a lot more information, history and detail that you will get by taking the tour, I suggest that you do so the next time it’s offered!

Categories: Ambler

A Little Something to Whet Your Whistle

Today was one of those jump up and click your heels kind of day; not only was I able to sit down and enjoy great conversation with fellow Amblerites, but I also had the privilege of getting a sneak peek into Forest & Main Brewing Company! I, along with many of you I’m sure, have been dying to see what they’ve been up to in there. Of course, I follow their blog and facebook page but seeing their labor of love in the flesh today was truly impressive. Daniel and Gerard have really done an incredible job of transforming the space and it couldn’t be more perfect. I took a few photos to share with you (click the thumbnails below), but only of the bar area, you’ll have to experience the rest for yourself. Which leads to the question that everyone has been asking for quite some time now, “When will they open?!” If all goes well they hope to be open by the end of the month, be sure to check their facebook page for updates.

See you at Forest & Main ๐Ÿ™‚


Categories: Ambler, New Business/Opening

Ambler Food Co-op

In case you’ve missed the buzz, there is a group of people working to bring a food co-op to Ambler. If you’re an Amblerite, I don’t need to tell you the impact that this would have on our community; if you’re not, let’s just say, it would be HUGE! Since the closing of the Acme 3 years ago, Ambler has been without a grocery store. There’s no disputing the fact that Acme was not the cream of the crop, but it was there, and there were so many in town who depended on it. Although it was an emergency kind of place for me, I was saddened to hear of it’s closing. Had it been replaced by another grocery store I would have been dancing in the street, but for a reason I still don’t understand, yet another pharmacy was needed.

As I’m sure you’ve heard, it seems as though we are getting a Bottom Dollar grocery store in town, which has been met with mixed reviews. Regardless of whether it comes or not, an Ambler Food Co-op would be invaluable. If you’re not familiar with the concept of a co-op, it’s a typically a non-profit, member owned and operated business. The members (those who shop there) pay a very small membership fee and commit to work for the co-op in some capacity, usually about 2 hours per month. This enables the overhead to remain as low as possible and provide high quality product at a lower price, being involved in the community is an added benefit.

The coalition behind the Ambler Co-op is having it’s first meeting, Wednesday, January 25, 7pm at the SAAC center, located at 45 Forest Avenue in Ambler. I strongly encourage you to attend; the more people at the meeting, the greater the chance that this will become a reality! Please pass this information along to those who may be interested, “like” the Ambler Food Co-op facebook page to receive updates and post/distribute the flyer (to the right) if you’re able. I hope there is a great turnout at the meeting, this is an incredible opportunity for our town!

If you’d like more information, email info@amblerfoodcoop.org.

Categories: Ambler, Events

Ambler Restaurant Week, Winter Edition

Our first Restaurant Week this past July was such a huge success that we’ve decided to do a winter edition! Mark your calendar for the third week in January; Monday, 1/16 through Sunday, 1 /22 (keep in mind some restaurants are not open 7 days a week, check website for details). Keep up with www.AmblerRestaurantWeek.com for updates as we get closer, including menus and possibly more restaurants!If you are on facebook, RSVP to the event here!

Thanks to Martin Slamon for creating our flyer, he rocks!!!

Categories: Ambler, Events

The Display Contest Rolls On…

See window displays from Julia’s, Rosey’s, Essenza, and Ambler Pizza.

Categories: Ambler

State Farm, Dressed For The Season!

State Farm has clearly put quite a bit of time and effort into their window display, a wish list and all! Scroll through and take a look!


State Farm, Ambler

Picture 1 of 4

Categories: Ambler

Cafe Maida, I mean, Caffe Maida

I have enjoyed countless cups ofย cappuccinoย and tea at Caffe Maida over the years, although it was just recentlyย thatย Iย realizedย it is Caffe Maida, not Cafe Maida. It struck me whileย resizingย the photos below, odd that I never noticed (clearly it’s plain as day) but nonetheless, a new discovery for me. Regardless, they have a charming holiday window display, makes the shop feel so cozy and warm.

Caffe Maida

95 E Butlerย Avenue


Categories: Ambler