Puritan Cape Cod launches the Chatham Chino Company, their own clothing brand interwoven with classic Cape details—and the story of their family’s American dream.
Rick and Jim Penn of Puritan Cape Cod, know all about dreaming big even when the economic fabric of America seems to have frayed a bit. As co-owners of one of the commercial pillars of Cape Cod, and the third generation of their family at the helm of Puritan, the two cousins believe that new ideas are crucial for continued success.
Puritan Cape Cod, which encompasses four high-end clothing stores on the Cape and several supporting businesses, has been in the capable hands of the Penn family for decades. Rick and Jim’s grandfather, Abraham, an enterprising immigrant, first explored Cape Cod as a location for his business making wool uniforms for the U.S. Coast Guard.
“Our grandfather was selling anything he could—he was an entrepreneur,” says Jim Penn, Puritan’s vice president of sales and marketing. “Abraham had three children and it was the Depression era. He knew the government had money and needed clothing!” Abraham opened his first store in Plymouth in 1919, and his first Cape store in Chatham in 1925.
For several decades, Abraham and two of his three sons, Milton and Howard (a third son, Edward, was a physician) worked seven days a week, building a retail empire that eventually stretched from Chatham to Falmouth. Abraham died in 1994 at the age of 97, but his son Milton is still a mainstay at Puritan’s flagship store in Hyannis—a 16,000 square-foot haven for male and female shoppers in search of quintessential coastal-inspired fashions and accessories.
Milton, who turned 90 this spring just as Puritan’s Hyannis store received an elegant new façade, still comes to the store every day wearing beautifully tailored suits and shoes shined to a high glow. His gracious manner, old-fashioned gentility, and friendly attitude towards every shopper, are qualities also found in both Rick and Jim.