by Sue Ann Rybak
Cynthia Fillmore, the new owner of Windfall Gallery, 7944 Germantown Ave., has always fantasized about running her own business.
As a freshman at Rider College in New Jersey, she initially planned to major in business but soon discovered she loathed pouring over endless reports and crunching numbers.
“I hated it,” Fillmore said. “It was a lot of math.”
After taking a brief hiatus from school, she eventually transferred to Temple University and graduated in 1999 with a degree in Broadcast Communications and worked in television production for eight years before becoming a stay-at-home Mom.
“After my third pregnancy, my husband and I decided it would be best for me to stay home and raise our three girls,” said Filmore, 40, of Elkins Park. “I left the exciting world of television and entered the crazy world of full-time motherhood.”
Desperate for adult interaction, she stumbled across the Windfall Gallery one day. Filmore described the store, which carries wares from over 250 artisans, including a large collection of artistic jewelry and unique handmade-gifts, as a hidden gem in Chestnut Hill.
“Coming from a family of artists, I have always had a love and appreciation for beautiful handmade items,” said Filmore, whose grandmother was a professional painter and musician. “My grandmother traveled all over the world and would often bring back jewelry. I have always had a love for jewelry since I was a kid so it was an easy transition for me.”
She said Kaye Baluarte, owner of the store for over 29 years, was looking for someone to work in the store one or two days a week.
“It was a perfect fit,” said Filmore, who worked at the store eight years before taking over the business in January 2014.
She said one of the things that drew her to the store was that it had something for everyone’s budget.
“You will find beautiful handmade earrings for $20 sitting next to a pair for $110,” Filmore added. “Kaye created this amazing gallery.”
Filmore still carries all the same artisans that Baluarte did.
“The store is very well known in Chestnut Hill,” she said. “Occasionally, I will see mothers come in here with their daughters and say, ‘I used to shop here with my mother when I was a kid.’”
Filmore said she is still amazed at how everything worked out.
“I feel like I won the lottery,” she said. “I am still pinching myself. Windfall Gallery is my passion and dream come true. I love supporting artists from all over the world and introducing their beautiful, unique work to my customers.