Fire damages Henry of Mayfair watch shop

Building damaged: Firefighters from Engine 36 extinguished a blaze at Henry of Mayfair on Saturday morning. PHOTO: DONNY SMITH

An iconic Mayfair watch repair shop will be shut down for a while after a fire there on Saturday.

The blaze began at about 8:30 a.m. at Henry of Mayfair, 7402 Frankford Ave., according to the proprietor, Jeffrey “Henry” Lehmann. Although no injuries or significant structural damage occurred, the seven-decade-old business will be on hiatus until Lehmann can pick up the pieces. He vowed to keep the business afloat.

“I’ll be reopening,” he said. “It’s just going to take time.”

Lehmann said that the fire marshal continues to investigate the cause of the flames, which were concentrated toward the front of the single-story brick structure. A Philadelphia Fire Department spokesman did not respond to a request for official information about the incident.

The place was unoccupied at the time. When Lehmann got there, firefighters from Engine 36 at Frankford and Hartel avenues had already extinguished the flames.

Lehmann said that the place suffered extensive smoke damage, although most of his inventory was saved. Firefighters had to breach the front of the building to access the fire. Lehmann is still calculating the value of the destruction.

The business was one of the original shops on that stretch of the avenue. Founder Henry DiPietro moved his Frankford watch-repair shop there in the late 1940s. He borrowed cash to purchase the lot and have the building constructed.

DiPietro was an uncle to Lehmann’s mother. Lehmann began working at Henry’s in the 1980s and took over the business when DiPietro retired in 1993. DiPietro died two years later.

Over the years, Lehmann had diversified the shop’s activities to include the repair, restoration and sale of wall clocks and grandfather clocks. He also sells new and refurbished watches, toy trains, Barbie dolls and other collectibles. He also purchases gold. Customers can contact him via the store’s telephone number, 215–624–7786. ••