Letter to the Editor: Ellie's Choice Response

A recent review chastised a local business and the business owner responded here.

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.

Ellie Acampora


PHANTOM January 14, 2012 at 03:11 PM
Heather-you and all others who responded in defense of Ellie, and all who are just trying to manage in this crazy world, are right to take offense to this crazy tirade. Amber's behavior was totally out of line. BUT, after seeing her picture in the Phoenix with her son, being gifted that tricylcle, I realize this can all be attributed to her youth, immaturity and the tremendous lot she has been dealt in life. She must be overwhelmed with the responsibility and itsmagnitude, and is just trying to manage a normal life. I am certain that she is receiving a lot of assistance and sometimes, if not careful, one can start feeling "entitled"--many times they are even told they are entitled! I think she just needs more time, to start balancing it all--the respnsibility, the entitlement, respect and gratitude.
Jamie January 14, 2012 at 03:37 PM
I think that all of you need to understand a mother's desire (and right for that matter) to have her child treated like every other child. As a mother of a child with a disability, it is heart breaking to hear your child "can't" do something or something is off limits to them. There is nothing wrong with a world that is accepting and welcoming to people of all abilities or differences. Something we should all strive for.
Cindy January 14, 2012 at 03:42 PM
ohhh, there's no husband? great! No no no, don't worry. The taxpayer will foot the bill and provide for your lack of responsible behavior. You just keep doing your job of being angry at society. LOL
PHANTOM January 14, 2012 at 03:51 PM
Exactly! And, if a store's policy is to park the stroller, etc. in the front part of the store, then EVERYONE should adhere and honor that policy--without exception. That's equality!
LocalGirl January 14, 2012 at 04:33 PM
Wow. This whole thing is amazing. Talk about outa control! Well here's some more fuel for an ADA fire: how about all the NEW curb cuts being put in all over the state (country?), replacing previous curb cuts that apparently didn't meet ADA standards....THAT GO NOWHERE???? I have seen them lead into cornfields, marshlands, and deadends where no sidewalks exist, and places where even a full-abled person wouldn't expect to be walking. I'm told these curbs cost us taxpayers $8000 PER CORNER. (Boy, do I hope I'm wrong.) I believe in supporting those with disabilities--but there also has to be a limit on how far we go to support a small % of people. I mean really-- is someone taking their wheelchair on a country stroll into the cornfield??? Where there were no sidewalks-- only highway shoulders-- leading up to the curbs? Talk about gov't spending (and ADA rules) gone wild. No wonder we have a deficit.
Weighingin January 14, 2012 at 05:50 PM
LocalGirl; You wrote: "I believe in supporting those with disabilities--but there also has to be a limit on how far we go to support a small % of people." More than 50 million Americans – 18% of our population – have disabilities, and each is a potential customer. http://www.ada.gov/regs2010/smallbusiness/smallbusprimer2010.htm
LocalGirl January 14, 2012 at 06:28 PM
Weighingin-- My point here in "how far you should go" refers primarily to these curb stops. Not "potential customers." I want to know what % of our population is going to go thru cornfields, busy highway shoulders and marshland to get to an ADA-compliant curb stop.
Glenette January 14, 2012 at 08:12 PM
Some of you People really should be ashamed of yourselves. Beyond disgusting to read some of these comments. You would feel different if it was you or someone you loved. Ask yourself what would Jesus do? Yeah that's right you probably don't believe in him just like you don't believe in equal treatment for everyone. Pathic!! How dare you attack Amber personally.
Ike January 15, 2012 at 12:13 AM
Tell them ,Glenette.Most only care about themselves and those who they know. I bet if they were some graffiti written on the walls downthere, some would have a sissyfit.Or cigs butts on the ground they would go nuts.What really matters , most dont care...What would Jesus do ? he would help them all.
Jennifer January 15, 2012 at 03:53 AM
wow so heaven forbid you ever become one of that "small percent" of people and are no longer able to go to your favorite place...I am sure you will hate it and regret saying this
Jennifer January 15, 2012 at 04:06 AM
Ike, as a non Christian, am I not a "Jesus believer" but still, yes, help them all. I agree 100%. Amber is not out to cut throats and does not feel "entitled" to things. Yes it was great that her son was gifted the tryke. Yes it was great she was in the paper a few times. All those times were for a single reason, to raise awareness about pediatric stroke. I can't tell you how many times I have met people who never knew that babies and children and even unborn babies have strokes too. It happens. It sucks but, it is reality. So don't bash her for spreading awareness. There is someone reading those news articles that will one day be thankful they read it. As for the rest, the bashing is unecessary. Most of you don't even know Amber personally nor do you know Ellie. Some of you do. Do not ASSUME you know them and know how they are or what their personality is like. All of you bashing people with disabilities, SHAME ON YOU! I pray that you never have to face being disabled, or having a family member who is disabled. I pray that your eyes are opened to the amazing things that people with disabilities can and do accomplish. Surround yourself with people who make you laugh, forget the bad, and focus on the good. Love the people who treat you right and pray for the ones who don't.
Cindy January 15, 2012 at 04:07 AM
Amber is teaching her son nothing more than to celebrate and wallow in the slightest offense. Jesus never needed anything more than a "forgive me, Lord" to do exactly that, so let's just nuke that argument right out of the gate. Amber, MAN UP and show your son how to overcome things, rather than wallow in them. I'll admit you are a GREAT wallower, but he doesn't need that. More is caught than is taught when it comes to kids. Feel for them by showing them how to keep their dignity.
Cindy January 15, 2012 at 04:09 AM
Jennifer, tell Amber to man up and teach her son some strength instead of being an example of a cry baby. He doesn't need that and it isn't good for him to see her act like this.
Ike January 15, 2012 at 04:17 AM
Jennifer, iam not bashing her.Iam kinda on her side.I meant that there are some who care about stuff that dont really matter ,but a child , they dont care about.You see , there are a whole lot of new residents that thnk they are all that. In the oldin days, the residents care about people.Now a days they care MORE about graffiti and cig butts on the ground.Sorry if you misunderstood me.
Jennifer January 15, 2012 at 10:12 AM
Ike I have nothing against you. I agreed with you in my first sentence. The rest was directed towards others, such as Cindy who thinks she is the almighty, can never be wrong, hateful person that she is proving to be to many people commenting in here.
Cindy January 15, 2012 at 10:36 AM
Jennifer you really think people make Amber's life worse by saying she should accept an apology and move on? Interesting.....
Ike January 15, 2012 at 08:28 PM
Yes , keep it on topic.Son, why are you allways following me around on here.Stalking me ,monitoring me via the internet.Calling me names. Evey comment i make , you got to say something about me.Maturity COMES WITH AGE so be PATIENT.Son i could care less about you.Now please stop buggin me.As for Amber , you sound like a great mother, now lets just put this behind and go on doing what you do.Best wishes to you.
Ike January 15, 2012 at 10:13 PM
Young man, iam retired from the same town you now call home. There you go again,stalking me , insulting me , dont be an anrgy young man. I hope you were lucky enough to land a job before all went overseas.But the way you are ALLWAYS COMMENTING ON EVERYTHING I COMMENT ON , IT LOOKS LIKE YOU DIDNT.With all the time you have do some volunteer work. Yo ,yo with age comes maturity , with that comes wisedom , than maybe you wont be anrgy at the world.I suggust to you do some volunteer work at the Manor or Senior center, or the Johnson home.You will lean alot about life But now please leave me alone, stop calling me names , stop stalking me via the internet.My comments are just that ,mine opinion, if you dont like ,fine .BUT STOP WITH THE NAME CALLING.I might be old , but iam not dead..THIS WILL BE THE LAST TIME I REPLY TO YOUR IMMATURE name calling and insults.. thank yall
Patti January 16, 2012 at 04:35 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6yThJm7Wv7Q People need to see that individuals with disabilities.....all people....just want to be free. We want to be free to do and live....and shop....in the same places as all Americans. Having a store be inaccessible to all is wrong. Amber...and all mothers of children with disabilities have a dream. We dream of the day when our children will not be segregated, where they will not be discriminated against. You must see how this relates to Dr. King and his dream. We must think about the words we use and the actions we take. Thank you!
PHANTOM January 16, 2012 at 05:28 PM
Can we end this debate today...a day where we should be kind, and respectful to each other! This dialog should not have included any issue concerning handicap, or disability. There is a store policy in place, the terms clearly displayed. The owner asks and expects EVERYONE who enters the establishment to observe this policy--no exception=no discrimination!!! =no incident. Amber 100% is the one who should have issued an apology-for deciding this does not apply to her, for breaking those rules and then creating a scene and causing stress and drama. I have no clue why Ellie apologized, except she is such a kind and sensitive person and saw a need to defuse a hostile person. Ellie, take your apologie back!! I apologize that you had to experience and deal with such an ignorant person. Lets respect each other!! Stop making this a campaign for handicap- trying to make this incident an afront against the disabled or against this poor 2.5 year old boy--he had nothing to do with this incident!!! It's the mother who decided the rules shouldn't apply to her!!! If you don't like the rules go somewhere else--easy enough!!! Apologize, Amber, and move on!!!
Barry Cassidy January 16, 2012 at 07:21 PM
ellie is good.
Barry Cassidy January 16, 2012 at 07:24 PM
Tony...word is all over town that Ike is your day is that true????
Ike January 18, 2012 at 02:28 AM
Cassidy Just when i was starting to think you were not all bad,ha,ha..Yo yo ,whats is a day? And please dont say 24 hours.
Barry Cassidy January 18, 2012 at 04:16 AM
day...is my big fingers or semi-illiterateness ...i am not sure which one, probably the later. meant DAD. so ike do you take credit here or is it all a hoax started by the former main street manager. trying to lighten things up for my friend ellie. when i first got here it was just ken jaworski, ken heidi sue and ellie choice...so i have a special kinship and fondness for her. all this negative stuff makes me feel bad for her. i remember when i instituted the "no ho zone" in front of her store so the prostitutes did not solicit in front of her store and how she called in the drug dealers. she has been through the worst on the street and i thought when the street turned the corner that she was through all of that. but to see her vilified in a publication that cares little about what people comment because if they took down nasty posts as lynn told me "no one would post anymore" is troubling. that is a poor excuse for what happens on the patch...but alas it is reality. i have been thinking of trying to initiate an advertising boycott but little megan tries hard to sell ads and that would be counter productive. guess i strayed from the subject but i wish everyone would be nice to ellie as i know she has been nice to others for a long time. people jump on something and next thing you know people are adding insulting comments when they know nothing about what the incident is even about...people just want to be mean.
Ike January 18, 2012 at 04:31 AM
Cassidy , i knew what u meant. Yes i agree , some in here are saying very bad things about both the Mother and Ellie. They should not be talk about in this way. They are women, god , respect them.I can see GOOD AND BAD in both parties.Mother has a good point , and Ellie has one too. Both of them should do this in private.Either love one and other ,or hate each other.But enough of the public bickering.And there are nuts on both sides who are very rude most of the time, a little bit is ok , but not all the time. BUT SOME ARE DOWN RIGHT WACKED..Lets move on to the next chapter of the book on LIFE!.........ALL SHOULD TRY THE NEW SMOKE SHOP.Looks like they have some fine stock to put your fine tobacco in.
Edvard Roperkov January 18, 2012 at 05:45 PM
Aww, Barry, are you sad people are exercising their right to free speech? I know you don't really care too much for it since you liked to delete actually valid posts on the 'downtown phoenixville news' page when your parking fiasco broke out. For a man running for public office you sure do seem to hate people and their 1st amendment.
Barry Cassidy January 22, 2012 at 01:17 AM
Ike...i am slow on the uptake...i did not realize until now. ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. when are you down at the smoke shop ike? i was in there and chatted with dave. he is a nice guy. they seem to have a lot of room to move around in there. not much inventory. i think that your right they should take it out in the back yard somewhere and fight this out. i wonder why some people are rude but then i think of their upbringing maybe they were beaten as a child. puzzling. it really is. i know someone who was outright rejected when he tried to start his own business and felt that he had a lot to offer. he went around attacking people verbally and eventually blew his brains out on the sidewalk because all he said was bad and it got old and people ignored him. i always wondered why they let some whack job have a gun. kind of sad but it is a reoccurring story. get upset, rant and rave and then you do it so many times you lose a reason for living. don't think this is amber though she seems to have a single issue. maybe if she could resolve it she would feel better...not sure. maybe she should go back to ellie's and see if they can work it out. i really had no idea until that comment.
ConcernedPHXresident January 23, 2012 at 04:45 PM
I think anyone who decides to support or vote for Barry Cassidy should do a Google search of him and see the thoughtless comments he has made in the past before they fully commit to his campaign. For Cassidy to get upset about comments being made about others is purely hypocritical. Cassidy is exactly the representation his constituents need: Against citizens having free speech and willing to strong arm the media, if they allow people to have open dialogue. Read this article for edification. http://www.phoenixvillenews.com/articles/2010/06/10/news/doc4c1115fe0c392148599279.txt?viewmode=fullstory
Edvard Roperkov January 23, 2012 at 09:00 PM
That's such a touching story Barry. Maybe the poor guy was sold a better picture of Phoenixville than what really was beneath the surface by some greedy developers. Or perhaps the parking situation drove him out of business? Feel bad for him. Who was it, by the way? Fortunately for me, I've been doing nothing but thriving since moving here. Shame we can't all have such great success.
Amber Schmuker January 24, 2012 at 02:26 AM
Did you really gloat about a child's father walking out? That shows a great deal about your character and definitely sheds light on your ignorance.


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