122 S Allegheny Street Bellefonte, Pennsylvania 16823
By Jayla Andrulonis
Emblazoned on the wall of Helen Foxx & Co. reads the motto, “Beautiful clothes and fashions come and go but the feeling of being beautiful and treasured is everlasting.”
For Helen Foxx and Co.’s co-owners Wendy Hockenberry and Joyce Mills, this ideology has been the core vision of their women’s clothing boutique since it was just an idea discussed over crafting ham sandwiches at Cool Beans together, the coffee shop where Joyce worked and Wendy owned for eight years.
Located at 122 S. Allegheny Street in historic downtown Bellefonte, Helen Foxx & Co. officially opened its doors this past August after a year of planning and then working to transform the space into a whimsical fashion wonderland. Chandeliers, elegant antique furniture, and a doe head mount create a dreamy yet eclectic atmosphere that highlights the boutique’s carefully curated clothing and accessories.
There isn’t a detail of Helen Foxx & Co. that isn’t consistent with its chic aesthetic and even the boutique’s name itself tells a little of Bellefonte’s own fashion history.
During a trip to the Bellefonte Historical Museum, Joyce and Wendy found an old book that listed the names, occupations and addresses of Bellefonte residents of years past. They sorted through records and wrote down a list the names of individuals who worked in clothing related fields.
Something about the name Helen Fox stood out to both of them.
After delving in to more research, they learned she worked as a milliner and was a prominent member of the town's clothing industry.
“We were actually able to meet her 98-year-old son and his wife and found out she was a total fashion diva of her time,” Mills said. “She actually brought pantsuits to Bellefonte, which were in Vogue at the time.”
Above the sales desk in the boutique are displays of stacked vintage hat boxes and ornately adorned hats, a thoughtful nod to the boutique’s namesake.
Even though Helen Foxx & Co. opened less than six months ago, the duo is quickly learning the needs of their clientele and working to cater to every woman who walks through the door by including clothing ranging from petites to plus size. Their passion for crafting a shopping experience tailored to each individual customer is evident.
Giving back to the community and paying it forward is another important fiber of the vision Joyce and Wendy have for Helen Foxx & Co. They recently started what they call the “Foxx Drop”, where twice a month or so they pay attention to something a customer might be looking at but doesn’t purchase and they either stick in her bag as a surprise or find a way to deliver it to her doorstep. As for their big sales events like their Grand Opening and Bellefonte Victorian Christmas, they tithe a certain percent of proceeds and donate to charities, including the Centre County Women’s Resource Clinic.
In recent years there’s been a shift towards consumers shopping local within their own communities, with events like Small Business Saturday to credit. If Helen Foxx & Co. happens to be in the right place at the right time, they say they’re happy to be a part of helping maintain the support of local businesses within the community.
Moving forward and not missing a beat, the boutique owners are looking to focus on getting the things clientele want that they don’t yet have, and perhaps expand to include lingerie, home goods, and shoes.
When asked what they each would say if Helen Fox were to walk through the door as a customer, both women said they thought she would be proud of them.
“I hope she would feel blessed that we were representing her,” Hockenberry said. “And that we really have the woman who wants to be set apart from the crowd in mind. There’s so much these days that gets women down, but you have to embrace who you are.”
As far as what’s on the radar now, the boutique is full of Valentine’s Day gift ideas, outfits for your special date night, and gift certificates. Even if you don’t have a Valentine, treating yourself is highly encouraged.
The boutique’s spring collections will debut March 3rd featuring a Stella and Dot Trunk Show on Saturday, March 4th from 10a.m. to 4 p.m.
Helen Foxx & Co. is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.
OFFER - 10% OFF your next purchase between now and Valentine's Day! Just say the magic word, "Cupid", when checking out.
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