Editor's Note: The following is a letter to the editor submitted by Ellie Acampora of Ellie's Choice, located at 211 Bridge St. in Phoenixville.
Recently, the following review, which garnered a flurry of feedback, was left on the shop's , and Acampora issued the following statement regarding the review.
Here is the original review:
The owner of this store would not let my son and I shop there because he is in a wheelchair. She expected me to leave my disabled 2.5 year old son at the front of the store alone like a dog that you tie up at the corner. DISGUSTING AND ILLEGAL! No one I know will ever shop at this DISCRIMINATING establishment ever again! -Amber S. Pottstown
I operate a small gift boutique in the Phoenixville Historic District, a National Register of Historic Places. Historic downtown Phoenixville is home to many retail and restaurant establishments that take pride in the beauty of the historical architecture of the buildings. My store, Ellie’s Choice, is located in a beautiful building on Bridge Street that was constructed over 100 years ago.
My store is small and my inventory includes items that are breakable—including glass and other items that, if damaged or broken, could injure a child. Children are welcome but must be closely supervised at all times for safety reasons. I have tried a variety of shelving methods but there will always be a risk for breakage because of the nature of my inventory.
Consequently I was forced to institute a no stroller policy. The policy itself was necessary because of the small isles and the number of items that have been broken in the past because of the strollers. I have been enforcing this policy routinely and consistently for over twelve years. As a result, parents carry their small children in my store—and I have not had a problem with a stroller ever since.
On Dec. 28, 2011, I welcomed and assisted a new customer and her small child, who was in what appeared to be a stroller, into my store. I did not know that the small child had a disability or that the stroller was, in fact, a wheelchair. I asked her to park the stroller—just as I ask all of my customers—and suggested that she carry her small child. She became upset with me and accused me of denying her access to my store with her disabled child. I regret any appearance of being insensitive or discriminating—I simply did not understand the circumstances.
As a result of this misunderstanding, I have installed a call button at the front of the building so that customers can call me as soon as they decide to enter my store. My thought is that our communication can begin on a positive note and the customer will be able to discuss any needs he or she might have when we first meet.
I am always looking for ways to accommodate my customers with disabilities. It is a continuous process as I welcome all people, from all walks of life, into my store. I do, however, continue to advise my customers to carry their small children whenever possible for safety reasons.
I am sorry, Amber S. of Pottstown, for the misunderstanding. I appreciate what I have learned from this experience and the positive changes I have made as a result. I will continue to strive to provide quality goods and excellent customer service to all.