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COVID 19: Sophy Curson reopens in Philadelphia


Historians call it the first female-owned business in the state of Pennsylvania, and Sophy Curson in Rittenhouse Square is not about to lose that place in history.

The boutique has reopened its doors and the family is making changes to thrive in this new COVID way of doing business.

Sophy Curson is now run by the third generation of the family, after more than 90 years at the corner of 19th and Sansom streets.

Its namesake was a pioneer in women’s fashion and in business, who opened a shop before women even won the right to vote, right before the Great Depression.

“She opened about a month before the stock market crash in 1929,” says David Schwartz, one of the owners.

Our Alicia Vitarelli visited the legendary shop in March, days before COVID-19 would force the doors to close.

“She was tough,” he says. “That’s how we are still here. We learn from her. She was decisive. She had a great eye.”

“Sophy was very petite and there was no petite clothing for women at that time,” said Dana Morelli, a longtime sales clerk there.

So Sophy created her own line with the tagline: “Junior is a size, not an age.”

“She sold out her first day,” David says.

Closed for three months during the pandemic, the family-owned shop is back open.

“We’re back to normal, as normal can be in COVID,” David says. “We are sanitizing after every client.

We quarantine the clothes after everyone tries them on for 24 hours.”

Known for their accessories, they pivoted to pandemic style.

“We’ve been selling a lot of jewelry for Zoom cocktail parties,” says David.

And, of course, they are stocked with the accessory of the moment: the mask.

They have sequins and rhinestones and all kinds of designs.

Even their famous mannequins are wearing them, as Sophy Curson keeps up with the times, while always remembering the past and keeping their eyes on the future.

“Everyone’s in it together,” David says. “We were plotting our return, and here we are.”

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