Explore Philadelphia

Philly Couples Thrive in Love and Business

These local business were made with love, and as couples work together, they continue to thrive.

From Robert Indiana’s iconic sculpture to the very meaning of its name, Philadelphia is all about love. Fittingly, the city is home to a host of businesses run by couples. Check out a few of our favorite couple collaborations, where you’ll find hand-dyed garments, meticulously-crafted jewelry and more.

Steel Pony

Dennis Wolk and Joanne Litz founded their handmade clothing and accessory line in 1992, after successful careers working in creative fields—Litz as a design director, Wolk as a display manager for major department storefronts. Inspired by a “mutual desire to create art and design,” the husband and wife team developed their own dyeing technique, resulting in one-of-a-kind Boho pieces like perfectly draped tops, skirts and dresses. While Litz is the main designer behind the collection, Wolk executes the specialty dying processes and designs the hand stitched leather bags. Don’t miss the line of soft yoga pants, also hand-dyed, for standout style in your next Bikram Yoga class. 758 South 4th St., Philadelphia, 215.467.6065

Dennis Wolk and Joanne Litz, Steel Pony
Dennis Wolk and Joanne Litz. (©Floyd Dean)

Jean Designs Jewelry Studio

“For us, the best thing about working together is sharing in the creative process and producing expressive art jewelry that is finely crafted,” said Jean Huffenus and Leslie Manas, who have been business partners for 30 years and own Jean Designs. Huffenus, a French metalsmith who trained at the Ecole du Louvre Paris, crafts each piece, while Manas has been co-designing since 2006. Their meticulously-made creations include several collections, with scent lockets—handmade in sterling silver and concealing fragrant dried lavender—and beautifully uncommon pieces, forged from precious metals and gemstones. Clients can also commission customized jewelry in their Sansom Street studio, or peruse a selection that includes wedding bands and necklaces in their Etsy shop704 Sansom St., Studio 401, Philadelphia, 215.922.2680

Jean Huffenus and Leslie Manas
Jean Huffenus and Leslie Manas. (Courtesy of Jean Designs)

Tavern on Camac

With a vibrant vibe and inclusive ethos, it’s no wonder this Center City nightclub, piano bar and restaurant has been a favorite for years. It’s also thought to be the oldest continually operating gay bar in the city, beginning in the 1920s as Maxine’s. It’s the brainchild of Stephen Carlino and husband Dennis Fee, who also run the nearby U Bar. Come for an elevated spin on classic pub fare and stay for an always memorable night of live music and dancing. 243 South Camac St., Philadelphia 215.545.0900

Stephen Carlino and Dennis Fee
Stephen Carlino and Dennis Fee. (Courtesy U Bar)

Meadowsweet Mercantile

Locals love this this Old City shop, co-owned by Stacy Jackson and Mike Bazis, for its expertly-curated collection of covetable goods. Specializing in textiles, the shop features lines like locally-made Lillian Jackson, as well as a bounty of vintage finds, including rare tee shirts and denim sourced and edited with precision. While Jackson is the brand strategist, visual merchandiser, event planner and art curator (the expansive space also hosts artists, musicians and other lively, cocktail fortified gatherings), Bazis handles support and research, with a particular expertise in men’s work wear. Also look out for candles, incense and fun pop-ups for hostess gifts that you’ll inevitably want to hoard for yourself. 47 N. Second St., Philadelphia, 215.756.4802

Stacy Jackson and Mike Bazis, Meadowsweet Mercantile
Stacy Jackson and Mike Bazis. (Courtesy Meadowsweet Mercantile)

Bernie Robbins Jewelers

The luxury jeweler celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2012, and owners Maddy and Harvey Rovinsky credit a strong partnership and trust as the reason for its longevity.  The best part of working together? “We are lucky to have the opportunity to travel the world together to discover and debut exotic diamonds, exquisite jewelry and fine watches that reflect our customers' style and spirit,” said Maddy Rovinsky. Their travels yield a bounty of beautiful jewelry, from both iconic brands and lesser-known treasures. For special occasion pieces or just to treat yourself, visit one of their four locations, and while you’re there enjoy a steamy cappuccino or celebratory glass of champagne with signature warm and personalized service. Multiple Locations, 610.971.2446

Maddy and Harvey Rovinsky
Maddy and Harvey Rovinsky. (Courtesy Bernie Robbins Jewelers)

Escape AC

For Steve Peto and Lisa Benninger, the inspiration to open Escape AC came while on vacation in Europe. After an adrenaline-fueled evening of intrigue in a Slovakian escape room, the couple brought the idea back home, where backgrounds in engineering and interior design helped them craft a live-action game worthy of Atlantic City’s lively Tropicana. Guests are locked behind a steel door and have 60 minutes to get out by solving challenging clues. With four AC-themed rooms to conquer, including "Casino Cage" and "The Boardwalk," the thrilling experience will bring you back again and again. 2831 Boardwalk, Atlantic City, 609.340.4000

Steve Peto and Lisa Benninger
Steve Peto and Lisa Benninger. (Courtesy Escape AC)