My Name Is Tara, and I Like to Shop

Senior editor Tara BehanMy name is Tara, and I like to shop. I won’t go so far as to say that I’m a shopaholic (thanks to my meager income), but I’m proud of my favorite pastime.

Chances are, my fiancé will read this and snicker, “Shopping isn’t a pastime.” Ah, but I beg to differ. If someone can sit on a couch watching professional sports for hours at a time on a Sunday afternoon, and call that a pastime, then I submit that strolling Suburban Square or the Eagle Village Shops is equally legitimate.

Granted, there are times when I do shop with purpose. Whether I need a new dress for an upcoming wedding or I’m searching out the perfect birthday gift for my 12-year-old niece (who’s not particularly easy to buy for), I’m on a mission—and those ventures sometimes prove stressful. I much prefer a leisurely pace with no specific agenda, wandering in and out of shops, admiring the selection.

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That’s why I’ve never been a fan of online shopping. Heck, I only purchased my first item on eBay in September. Credit the great “Missoni for Target” tragedy (email me, and I’ll fill you in). I like being able to see and feel for myself, and tapping an iPad just doesn’t hold the same appeal.

So aren’t I lucky that part of my job at MLT is covering everything shopping and style related. If there’s a new boutique opening, I’m there. If there’s a trunk show, I’m interviewing the designer. If a shop owner calls with something she says I must check out, I come running. Obviously, I was in my element working on this month’s cover story, “154 Cool Boutiques.”

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The Main Line is filled with fantastic places to shop. And I applaud local shop owners for their creativity and perseverance, as it hasn’t been easy in this soft economy. Some great spots have had to close their doors. I, for one, miss State of Grace in Bryn Mawr and Shopgirls in Wayne. But, at the same time, some boutiques have been successful enough to support additional locations. Skirt in Bryn Mawr and Per Lei in Media even expanded to the Shore.

Small businesses need our support—especially as we head into the holiday season. So, the next time you’re about to run off to KOP, consider whether the stuff on your shopping list could be found in Wayne, West Chester or one of the other charming downtown districts in our area. When was the last time you perused Haverford Square or Media’s State Street? You might be surprised by what you find.

For our first-ever Boutique Week, running Nov. 6-12, we’re providing some serious incentive to buy locally. Participating boutiques are offering special in-store promotions, contest giveaways, exclusive discounts and more. You can be sure I’ll be there—and I’m calling it “research.”

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