Domestic diva Martha Stewart makes a stop in Concord
CONCORD » Fans of lifestyle entrepreneur Martha Stewart started arriving at terrain at Styers in Glen Mills around 5 p.m. Friday for a cocktail party to celebrate Stewart’s newest book, “Martha Stewart’s Slow Cooker.” About 250 people, who paid with a reservation in advance, were allowed entrance to the terrain at Styers retail store to enjoy a few selections of white and red wines from Martha Stewart’s Wine Collection, sample a variety of appetizers that terrain staff made, following recipes from Stewart’s book, and meet Stewart in person. The store was closed to the public after 5 p.m., due to the Stewart cocktail party and a wedding going on at the site simultaneously.
Attendees waited in line, some for as long as two hours, to see Stewart. Most people said they found out about the event by being on terrain’s email list and receiving a notification. Reservations had cost $35, which included the wine and hors d’oeuvre samples, as well as a copy of Stewart’s book. According to Stewart’s blog, “The book contains more than 100 flavorful foolproof dishes to make in one of America’s most popular kitchen appliances, the slow cooker.”
“I’m so excited to see her,” said Maria Spyropoulos of West Chester, who came to the event with her sister, Kia Blazakis of Chadds Ford. “I’ve been a fan of hers since the ‘80s when I used to watch her show while I was in college.”
“She’s very creative,” Blazakis said. “She’s always the go-to person for ideas when you’re ready to do a craft or do something in the kitchen.”
Customers were able to wait in line to have Stewart sign their book. The first 25 or more people were able to get their photo taken with Stewart and chat with the celebrity for a few minutes while she signed their books. However, after only about 30 minutes into the signing segment of the event, terrain’s and Stewart’s staff said to the disappointed crowd that there would be no more posing next to Stewart. Instead staff took each phone and snapped the photo while the subject got their book signed to keep the long line moving closer to their projected timeline.
The TV star and bestselling author aimed to be done the engagement by 7 p.m. because she had to get to QVC Studio by 9 p.m., when she would promote her new beauty collection on air.
Jody Lausch of Litiz, Pa., came away from her few minutes allotted to talk with Stewart and get her cookbook signed, with a giant smile on her face. Her son Jordan, who works at Urban Outfitters, the parent company of terrain, bought her the tickets as a gift.
Describing herself as a “huge Martha fan,” Lausch patted her son’s shoulder and asked those around her, “How great of a gift was that?”
Diane and Erin Thompson traveled from Alloway, N.J., to catch a few seconds with the DIY star. They both said that they were not disappointed afterward.
“I love her recipes,” Diane stated. “When I met her, Martha said to me, ‘I hope you will like the recipes in the slow cooker book’ and I told her that I am sure I will!”
Brenda Green of Turnersville, N.J., and Betty Green of Winona, N.J., also traveled a distance to meet Stewart. They said they took a trip to New York once to be in the studio audience when Stewart had her regular show.
“Brenda here is going to be Martha Stewart when she grows up one day,” she teased.
Judy Kreifer traveled from Sparks, Md., to meet her daughter Abbie Kreifer, a resident of Philadelphia, so they could attend the cocktail party together.
“I remember when Martha Stewart’s stock first became publicly traded — that’s how long I have been a fan of hers,” Judy smiled. “She always has a lot of practical ideas that you can actually use for cooking, gardening and decorating. We both really like and admire her.”
“This is our first time here at terrain, but we had to come see Martha,” said Nancy Kowanick of Pennsville, N.J., who traveled to the event with her friend Lori Chapman- Maahs, also of Pennsville. “I saw her once before in Fairmount Park in the late ‘90s when she was promoting an entertainment book.”
“Nancy is Martha Stewart Number 2,” Chapman Maahs explained, “So when we got this email, we knew right away that we wanted to sign up and go.”
Jean Bartley of Swarthmore went to the event with daughters Ivy Ballister of Cherry Hill, N.J., and Melissa Bartley of Swarthmore, who is an employee of terrain at Styers.
“I’ve followed Martha Stewart since she was in her home in Connecticut. Look how long she has lasted—she has adapted,” Jean Bartley said. “I’ve used many of her tips and ideas for creating a home.”
“She’s definitely an icon,” Melissa, a longtime subscriber to Martha Stewart’s Living magazine, added.
As founder of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, the celebrated entrepreneur has gained success through a variety of business ventures, encompassing publishing, broadcasting, merchandising, and e-commerce. Stewart has evolved into a household name through the years. She established herself as an author of 85 major books on food, entertaining, gardening, organizing and weddings, as an entrepreneur with merchandise lines of everything from kitchen wares and jeans, to crafts and bedding, and as a TV star, with two long-running syndicated television shows, “Martha,” which ran from 2005 to 2012, and “Martha Stewart Living,” which ran from 1993 to 2005. Most recently she co-hosts a food show, paired with rapper Snoop Dogg. In the fall of 2016, VH1 premiered a new show called “Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party,” featuring games, recipes, and musical guests. Stewart is also publisher of Martha Stewart Living magazine and regularly promotes her merchandise on QVC home shopping network.
It was indirectly through
Stewart’s frequent trips to the West Chester QVC Studio Park that her book signing event took root at terrain.
“We’ve been trying to get Martha Stewart to do an event here at terrain in Glen Mills for a couple of years,” said Matt Poarch, Field Operations Manager at terrain. “She stops in here and shops sometimes on her way to QVC. We’re really excited to have her here and promote her products, and we hope this will lead to other opportunities in the future.”
In May 2008, URBN, the company that owns Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie and Free People acquired J. Franklin Styers Nurseries, the popular garden center in Glen Mills, that was one of America’s most respected names in horticulture since 1890. Renamed “terrain at Styers,” the new venture enhanced the typical notion of a garden center by combining a retail store, an event space, and a café. According to its website, “terrain is inspired by the idea of merging house and garden to create an experience for all of the senses, as well as catering to its customer with a variety of products and services to captivate her imagination, enhance her life and bolster her community.” In 2016, URBN acquired The Vetri Family group of restaurants.
With few books lingering on the shelves for purchase after customers bought extra books for family and friends, store associates seemed pleased with the success of the event. When asked if she was going to score an opportunity to meet Stewart too, sales associate Melissa Bartley smiled and whispered, “I think the staff here — at least I hope — will get a chance to meet her before she leaves.”
Pam Douglas of Lansdale, who accompanied her friend Janet Ridgley of Lincoln University to the event, summed up the feeling of many guests.
“With the winning combo of terrain and Martha Stewart, this event couldn’t be anything but great,” she said.
Martha Stewart asks the name of a customer at terrain’s in Glen Mills Friday night during a cocktail party/book-signing event to promote “Martha Stewart’s Slow Cooker,” her latest book. About 250 fans stood in line for an hour or two to get a few seconds with the famous entrepreneur.
Martha Stewart came to terrain in Glen Mills on Friday to promote her new book, “Martha Stewart’s Slow Cooker.” The book contains more than 100 flavorful foolproof dishes to make in one of America’s most popular kitchen appliances, the slow cooker. Copies are available for sale in the terrain retail store.
Sales associate Susan Schu rings up customer Jody Lausch of Litiz, Pa., during the Martha Stewart booksigning event Friday. Lausch said that her son Jordan, who works for Urban Outfitters, bought her the $35 ticket to the event for her birthday.