Jane Chal­fant dress shop turns 85

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Bill Ret­tew bret­[email protected]­tu­ry­media.com @wc­dai­ly­lo­cal on Twit­ter

WEST CH­ESTER >> Jane Chal­fant is cel­e­brat­ing a birth­day.

The 123 N. High St. bor­ough shop re­cently turned 85 years old.

Staff will soon be busy hang­ing mistle­toe and hol­i­day dec­o­ra­tions dat­ing back more than 50 years.

Times have changed and the for­mer dress shop now pre­dom­i­nately sells sweaters, tops and pants. The shop still sells dresses for work and play.

Co-owner Patrick Comer­ford said that bor­ough shop­pers have ev­ery­thing they might need within a short walk—in­clud­ing a stop for lunch, at one of more than 50 of the bor­ough’s restau­rants.

“Com­bined with other women’s shops in down­town West Ch­ester, these busi­nesses of­fer the best that fash­ion has to of­fer,” Comer­ford said.

“We love be­ing in the bor­ough,” said Jane Chal­fant/Kiki Bou­tique co-owner, and Patrick’s wife, Kiki Comer­ford. “It has that home­town feel.

“The down­town is a desti­na­tion. Peo­ple are mak­ing an ef­fort to shop here.”

Kiki Comer­ford helps pur­chase the fash­ions, cloth­ing and ac­ces­sories. She said Jane Chal­fant/Kiki Bou­tique makes shop­ping fun.

“We re­ally do en­joy shop­ping to keep new things for our cus­tomers and to in­ter­pret fash­ion trends ap­pro­pri­ately,” she said.

Patrick Comer­ford said the shop is al­ways evolv­ing.

“Any busi­ness has to con­stantly change, par­tic­u­larly in the fash­ion busi­ness,” he said. “Things change three times a year.

“We’re con­stantly try­ing to up­date our im­age.”

With sev­eral staffers serv­ing for decades, cus­tomers feel com­fort­able.

“They feel like they are shop­ping among friends,” Kiki Comer­ford said.

Dur­ing the Fall of 1933, name­sake Jane Chal­fant, along with her part­ner Winifred Sharp, founded a dress shop in the Warner The­ater Block. Chal­fant sat on the front steps of the First Na­tional Bank in a suc­cess­ful bid to se­cure a bank loan.

In 1955, Patrick’s par­ents, Richard and Eileene Comer­ford, ac­quired the shop from the founders, with a hand­shake deal.

Now, since 1992, af­ter sev­eral ex­pan­sions, the shop is owned and op­er­ated by Patrick and Kiki Comer­ford.

The shop has ex­ten­sively used mail­ers to pro­mote the busi­ness, in­clud­ing one from 1943, which was mailed dur­ing WWII.

“What will this New Year bring? Per­haps it will be a great year for our vic­tory,” reads the mailer.

Patrick Comer­ford, 63, grew up in the busi­ness. He has worked with and known sev­eral of his co­work­ers for decades.

“Peo­ple want to shop lo­cal,” Patrick Comer­ford said. “It’s a nice down­town desti­na­tion.

“We try to treat it like you are vis­it­ing our home.”


Jane Chal­fant in West Ch­ester.

Some of the old cor­re­spon­dence as Jane Chal­fant turns 85.


Jane Chal­fant/Kiki Bou­tique co-own­ers Kiki and Patrick Comer­ford.

The well-known Jane Chal­fant logo.

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