From candy to pottery to wedding dresses, three close-knit Cape Cod businesses sell products that make people happy—all while keeping their work a family affair.Text by Lisa Cavanaugh | Photography by Julia Cumes
A SWEET TRADITION
The Penney Patch
Paul Endich used to spend his summer college breaks stirring fudge at The Penney Patch, a popular candy store on Commercial Street in Provincetown. In 1973, Endich ended up buying the business. For more than 40 years, he sold delicious small-batch fudge and salt water taffy to generations, so when he decided to retire in 2016, his son, David, and daughter, Tamara, opted to take over the family business.
“It’s a family tradition for parents to bring their children to fill up their baskets with the candy lining the walls,” says David, who left his job at U.S. Trust in Boston and moved back to the Cape to manage the store on a full-time basis. Tamara teaches graphic design at Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School, but spends her summers in the store.
Working together as siblings means that David and Tamara can be honest with each other and work out any frustrations. “We play to our strengths,” says David. “I manage the store’s day-to-day operations and Tamara focuses on digital marketing and social media.”
The Endichs agree that the best part of selling candy is that it makes people smile and brings back fond childhood memories. “I often hear comments like, ‘I haven’t seen Razzles for years!’ or ‘They still make candy cigarettes?’” says David.
For many people who have been coming to The Penney Patch for their entire lives, connecting with Paul Endich’s kids is a special moment. “They’ll reminisce about my dad making them a giant cotton candy on a machine that has been gone for over 40 years,” says David.
“They always ask about our dad,” adds Tamara, “and we’re happy to tell them that he lives within walking distance from the store and shows up almost every day at some point or another to make a guest appearance.”
The Penney Patch, 281 Commercial St., Provincetown, 508-487-2766
“My dad is my best friend,” says Matthew Kemp, son of Steve Kemp, whose Kemp Pottery opened in Orleans 40 years ago. “He’s a super positive person who always sees the best in people and situations and has created a lifestyle around that.”
The elder Kemp was first inspired to pursue a life as a working artist by his mentor, the late renowned local potter Harry Holl. “I was teaching pottery in Hyannis when I met Harry,” says Kemp. “I was blown away that someone was making his living with art.” Steve apprenticed under Holl at Scargo Pottery before opening his own studio in 1978.
Steve gains his inspiration from the natural environment of Cape Cod. His daily swims in Cape Cod Bay are reflected in the ripples and images of his pottery designs, which in turn connect deeply with their customers. “They gain a greater appreciation of this beautiful place,” says Steve. “People like the fact that there are artists living this life and telling the story of Cape Cod.”
He never insisted on the same professional trajectory for his son, but when Matthew attended Skidmore College and participated in the pottery program, Steve was thrilled. After a few years living in Boston, Matthew and his wife decided to live on the Cape. Matthew joined his father at Kemp Pottery until three years ago when he took a position teaching fine arts at Barnstable High School. “I do miss him during the school year,” Matthew says of his dad. “But I’m in the studio in the summer and it’s a nice balance.”
Steve considers it a joy to be able to work with his son and feels the more analytical Matthew balances out his own spontaneity. “My dad is like a shark, always moving forward, which can be a little frustrating when going backwards might be a good idea!” says Matthew.
Father and son agree that interacting with their customers is special. “You get to see how your work will fit into their lives,” says Matthew. Steve is moved by the families that come to the shop every year to build memories through Kemp pottery. “I feel it’s vitally important that I am passing along this craft to Matt,” he says. Matthew, whose two young daughters have begun to spend time in the shop with him, agrees. “We share the mission of making the world better through clay.”
Kemp Pottery, 9 Cranberry Highway, 508-255-5853
A DREAM COME TRUE
“Our mom is our backbone,” says Maria Medeiros, who co-owns Chantilly’s Bridal in Hyannis with her sister, Maria-Alice Pereira. “She is our seamstress and puts such pride and detail into all her work.”
Their mother’s dream that the family would own a bridal store came to fruition in 2006 when the sisters, having left other jobs amid raising their own families, finally took the leap and opened Chantilly’s. “Mom was working at another bridal store and she had introduced me and Maria-Alice to the trade,” says Medeiros.
“We all worked at Tiffany’s Bridal and when the owner retired, we said to ourselves, ‘why not give it a try?’ Twelve years later, here we are,” says Pereira.
When they relocated two years ago to their second-floor store on Main Street, they relied on the whole family to help. Their brother designed the elegant display areas, and husbands and kids transported the dozens of exquisite wedding gowns, bridesmaid and flower girl dresses to the new shop. “With a business like this, there are no set hours, so family helps out with whatever needs to be done,” says Medeiros.
It was her parents’ hope of a better life for their children that led the family to emigrate from the Azores in the late ’60s, first settling in New Bedford and then ultimately moving to the Cape. “Our uncles were living here, and my father was already commuting here for work, so Mom thought it would be good for us, too. We’ve been in Hyannis ever since.”
The sisters admit that sometimes when you work with family, the work can go home with you. “You have to have give and take, but we know what to expect from one another,” says Pereira.
The work itself is family centric, and while dealing with the mothers can sometimes be challenging, seeing a bride-to be step out of the dressing room in a beautiful dress is wonderful. “It gives us goosebumps to be part of the happy occasion.”
Medeiros says it’s a great experience to own a business with family because they share the same morals and values. “We believe strongly in good customer service and we have fun together,” she says. “It’s what our parents wanted for us all those years ago.”
Chantilly’s Bridal, 344 Main St., Hyannis, 508-778-7200