When 22-year-old Arthur Penn started as the shoe department manager at a new men’s clothing store in Plymouth in 1919, could he ever have imagined that his descendants would still be going strong, 100 years later?
Penn opened his original Puritan Cape Cod in Chatham in 1925, and it soon became a popular mainstay for both residents and visitors. “Our Chatham store was our very first location on Cape Cod, in the same building you’ll find it today,” says co-owner Rick Penn, grandson of Arthur Penn. “It’s truly incredible to have been a part of the Chatham community all these years.”
The Chatham store was renowned not just for offering high-quality, classic clothes, but also for outfitting the local Coast Guard. During one of the Coast Guard’s most notable and heroic moments, the 1952 rescue of the crew of the shipwrecked SS Pendleton, Puritan store manager (and Penn cousin) Ben Shufro was called to the Coast Guard station where he spent all night measuring and fitting the wet and exhausted crew for new clothes. In fact, this connection was celebrated in 2012, when Puritan launched the Chatham Chino Company brand, with a USCG hurricane flag logo.
Over the years, three generations of the Penn Family have stayed true to their patriarch’s motto of “I’d rather make a friend than a sale” by offering exemplary customer service. “People today can shop anywhere, anyhow, any time of day. They choose to shop at Puritan because of the relationships they’ve built over the decades and the feeling they get when they walk into our stores,” says co-owner, Jim Penn, also a grandson of Arthur. Rick adds that they like to say that it’s not just their roots here on Cape Cod, but their branches. “You’ll find our stores on the Main Streets of Cape Cod—the community centers,” he says.
“We are overwhelmingly honored, proud, grateful and humbled all at the same time,” says Jim. “We are thankful for our customers, community and employees for helping us reach this momentous milestone. It’s hard to believe it’s been 100 years.”