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  1. #1
    McAdams is offline Senior Member
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    Default New businesses on the Avenue?

    So, despite the cold and early sundown, it looks like new life is being breathed onto Girard Avenue:

    1) The former T-Mobile store on the 2600 block of Girard is being reborn as a daycare center. Personally, I find this disappointing since we already have 4 or 5 daycare centers on the Avenue, and because I would prefer to see cool retail occupy that space (let's face it, toddlers and their young parents, don't have a lot of disposable income to spend on the Avenue).

    2) Next door, the Jamaican restaurant has been overhauled and re-opened. I'm not sure what changes were made, but now they blast reggae music - which always makes me want to dance.

    3) The former Blessed Pharmacy - across from Mugshots Coffeehouse - is now an accounting/tax prep place. I'm not sure if it's different or related to the tax place across/down the street from it?????

    4) Icy Signs is moving into the former Luxxe Nail Salon near Butters Soul Food. MM Partners has been tightlipped about this tenant, so we'll have to see who he/she is (I did google "icy signs" and it looks like he's a graffitti/sign artist...could be very interesting if it's the same person).

    5) Finally - for all Al Alston fans, of which there are thousands throughout Brewerytown - it looks like he's rented out his former Subway Shop space. All of his BINGO and WANTED signs have come down, and I saw cleaning equipment, other random stuff and two men in there. My hope is he's bringing in something healthy, trendy, avant garde, vegan, unique, ethnic, but I suspect it will be another cheesesteak/hoagie/burger joint.

  2. #2
    chudclay is offline Senior Member
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    What is the job of the Brewerytown CDC?

  3. #3
    JH1234 is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by McAdams View Post
    So, despite the cold and early sundown, it looks like new life is being breathed onto Girard Avenue:

    4) Icy Signs is moving into the former Luxxe Nail Salon near Butters Soul Food. MM Partners has been tightlipped about this tenant, so we'll have to see who he/she is (I did google "icy signs" and it looks like he's a graffitti/sign artist...could be very interesting if it's the same person).

    5) Finally - for all Al Alston fans, of which there are thousands throughout Brewerytown - it looks like he's rented out his former Subway Shop space. All of his BINGO and WANTED signs have come down, and I saw cleaning equipment, other random stuff and two men in there. My hope is he's bringing in something healthy, trendy, avant garde, vegan, unique, ethnic, but I suspect it will be another cheesesteak/hoagie/burger joint.
    Hate to be pessimistic, but only #4 really seems to be very promising. Temp tax places and daycares and the like are a dime a dozen and come and go. Maybe Alston comes through with something good? Is that possible? I really don't know much about him.

  4. #4
    JakeL is offline Senior Member
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    Still no tacos?

  5. #5
    gideon is offline Senior Member
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    about the only thing I can see doing well on girard ave is a good and pretty cheap tex mex place. this section of girard is a tough section to draw businesses to. even thinking about fairmount ave, it's a relatively small stretch which is developed with good activity.

    I wonder what will happen when the supermarket opens. I wonder what will happen to all the corner convenience stores.

  6. #6
    chudclay is offline Senior Member
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    It looks like "I Munch" will be opening soon on 31st (across the street from Bottom Dollar). I am sure that this will add to the area, other than take from the area.

  7. #7
    Naveen is offline Senior Member
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    Speaking as an outsider here to the neighborhood here, but it seems like what helps transform (i.e. "hip" gentrify) an area is gastropubs, coffee shops, and restaurants. Sometimes, it only takes one good gastropub to change a block's feel (particularly at night), and make it an area like-minded businesses want to come to.

    But before that can happen, the question to ask is what kind of residential development has taken place in the area? Would a cool gastropub have enough of a customer base to support it? Mugshots makes me think yes, but I wonder what you locals think...

  8. #8
    gideon is offline Senior Member
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    northstar pulls people from both sides of girard and there are plenty of gastropubs further south. i kind of doubt one or two would draw people to girard. it would have to rely on steady business from the north side and i don't its that far along to do. i thought the pet shop would have attracted more people but it doesn't seem to be.

  9. #9
    MM Partners's Avatar
    MM Partners is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by gideon View Post
    northstar pulls people from both sides of girard and there are plenty of gastropubs further south. i kind of doubt one or two would draw people to girard. it would have to rely on steady business from the north side and i don't its that far along to do. i thought the pet shop would have attracted more people but it doesn't seem to be.
    Why would you think businesses on Girard only draw from the north? That's a fairly negative view without much basis in reality.

    No question that Girard Ave retail needs further diversity, but as it stands businesses both old and new such as Mugshots, Color Wheel Bikes, Girard Supply Co., Nagelberg Hardware, Best in Show Grooming, Girard Avenue Veterinarian, Butter's Soul Food, Deborah's Soul Food, Italian Express, Sunrise Diner, Luxxe Nail Spa and the dry cleaner steadily draw customers from the south. Additionally, the laundromat at 28th, the bodega at 29th, the 2 beer stores, beer distributor and even the dollar store at 27th also draw business from the south. Not to mention the farmer's markets at 27th & Girard and 27th and Master.

    There is a lot of unmet demand from the very dense area south of Girard and west of 26th St - beyond which a walk to Fairmount Ave is both circuitous and much longer than walking to Girard Ave. Adding an anchor in the supermarket at 31st will only add to the mix, as would additional newer and ambitious businesses.
    Last edited by MM Partners; 11-04-2012 at 03:33 PM. Reason: spelling

  10. #10
    chudclay is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by gideon View Post
    northstar pulls people from both sides of girard and there are plenty of gastropubs further south. i kind of doubt one or two would draw people to girard. it would have to rely on steady business from the north side and i don't its that far along to do. i thought the pet shop would have attracted more people but it doesn't seem to be.
    The "Legendary" Northstar Bar has been pulling people from all poles for many years, hence the name.

    Historically, it only takes one fine establishment to pull from all corners, and Girard Ave. is at the tipping point where community ideas become trend.

    While Girard Ave. has hurdles to cross, one of the most curious, are the cankered naysayers who would rather start an epidemic of the flu.

    Let the mavens do their positive work. We will all be thankful for it.

  11. #11
    McAdams is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by chudclay View Post
    What is the job of the Brewerytown CDC?
    I would say they are in a transitional period right now. They have had significant board/staff turnover, and are trying to "right the ship". Retail attraction and, quite frankly, anything other initiatives on Girard Avenue, are probably beyond their scope and capability at this time. Their focus is probably going to be on more community oriented activities - youth programs, housing, nutrition, etc.

  12. #12
    McAdams is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by gideon View Post
    about the only thing I can see doing well on girard ave is a good and pretty cheap tex mex place. this section of girard is a tough section to draw businesses to. even thinking about fairmount ave, it's a relatively small stretch which is developed with good activity.

    I wonder what will happen when the supermarket opens. I wonder what will happen to all the corner convenience stores.
    MMPartners can speak to more to this, but I assume they are still planning on placing a taco-ria next door to their current office - that's the last scuttlebutt I heard. I think a gastropub would be wonderful up here. Right or wrong, I lean towards a "if you build it, they will come eat/drink" philosophy as opposed to trying to determine whether or not there is sufficient economic vitality/amenable demographics, etc. up here to support a gastropub. At this very moment it is dark and cold; if there was a warm, spacious, friendly gastropub serving great comfort food and good beer/cocktails, within a block or two or three, I'd be there right now!

  13. #13
    JakeL is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by chudclay View Post
    The "Legendary" Northstar Bar has been pulling people from all poles for many years, hence the name.

    Historically, it only takes one fine establishment to pull from all corners, and Girard Ave. is at the tipping point where community ideas become trend.

    While Girard Ave. has hurdles to cross, one of the most curious, are the cankered naysayers who would rather start an epidemic of the flu.

    Let the mavens do their positive work. We will all be thankful for it.
    After living in Brewerytown and now living in Point Breeze, I find it interesting to compare the 'border streets' of Girard Ave and Washington Ave. Girard Ave is much more developed and lively, whereas Washington Ave is full of warehouses, abandoned buildings, and vacant lots. However, Point Breeze is seeing a lot more construction attention right now compared to Brewerytown, even with the hindrance of Washington Ave. As much as I always thought that developing Girard would change Brewerytown, it seems that development can continue in Brewerytown even with Girard lagging behind.

  14. #14
    gideon is offline Senior Member
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    that is pretty much how i feel/what i think. i think the area north of girard needs to attract more people, fix and fill the vacant properties, as MM is doing. when there are more people to patronize what could be available on girard, more businesses will be attracted.

  15. #15
    gideon is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by McAdams View Post
    Right or wrong, I lean towards a "if you build it, they will come eat/drink" philosophy as opposed to trying to determine whether or not there is sufficient economic vitality/amenable demographics, etc.
    Don't assume that if you build something anybody will come. That is a huge risk to take, one the overwhelming majority of entrepreneurs would not take. These are the exact things a business owner will look at to determine the location for a business.

    All that said, a good taqueria would be incredibly awesome. I know there's been talk about this for a long time tho. I'm hoping.

  16. #16
    gideon is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by MM Partners View Post
    Why would you think businesses on Girard only draw from the north? That's a fairly negative view without much basis in reality.

    No question that Girard Ave retail needs further diversity, but as it stands businesses both old and new such as Mugshots, Color Wheel Bikes, Girard Supply Co., Nagelberg Hardware, Best in Show Grooming, Girard Avenue Veterinarian, Butter's Soul Food, Deborah's Soul Food, Italian Express, Sunrise Diner, Luxxe Nail Spa and the dry cleaner steadily draw customers from the south. Additionally, the laundromat at 28th, the bodega at 29th, the 2 beer stores, beer distributor and even the dollar store at 27th also draw business from the south. Not to mention the farmer's markets at 27th & Girard and 27th and Master.

    There is a lot of unmet demand from the very dense area south of Girard and west of 26th St - beyond which a walk to Fairmount Ave is both circuitous and much longer than walking to Girard Ave. Adding an anchor in the supermarket at 31st will only add to the mix, as would additional newer and ambitious businesses.
    It's kind of two different conversations - one around staples every neighborhood needs like a dry cleaner, hardware, etc and the other around what could be here. As in what would draw people at night, attract people from other areas. It's twofold.

    There are plenty of hair and nail salons, seasonal tax prep - 3 or 4 I believe, day care - 4, 5, 6(?) of those and all seem to be doing really well. So, some saying more of these opening is disappointing opens up the other end of the conversation. That's all.

  17. #17
    JH1234 is offline Member
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    For argument's sake, how does our section of West Girard today compare with the area around Girard and Frankford when Johnny Brenda's opened up shop? Seems like a worthwhile comparison in that it's a "neighborhood anchor" type establishment that exists on Girard and at the time had some very early "up and coming" neighborhoods to its north and an already significantly gentrifying neighborhood to its south.

    But alas, I wasn't around for it. Anybody who was?

  18. #18
    MM Partners's Avatar
    MM Partners is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by JH1234 View Post
    For argument's sake, how does our section of West Girard today compare with the area around Girard and Frankford when Johnny Brenda's opened up shop? Seems like a worthwhile comparison in that it's a "neighborhood anchor" type establishment that exists on Girard and at the time had some very early "up and coming" neighborhoods to its north and an already significantly gentrifying neighborhood to its south.

    But alas, I wasn't around for it. Anybody who was?
    There was nothing there when Johnny Brenda's opened in 2005. There was no Piazza and the demographic changes in Fishtown were very much in their infancy. The same guys opened Standard Tap in Northern Liberties in 1999, and there was really nothing happening in that neighborhood at the time. They were forward thinking. They built it, and people came.

  19. #19
    MM Partners's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by McAdams View Post
    Right or wrong, I lean towards a "if you build it, they will come eat/drink" philosophy as opposed to trying to determine whether or not there is sufficient economic vitality/amenable demographics, etc. up here to support a gastropub. At this very moment it is dark and cold; if there was a warm, spacious, friendly gastropub serving great comfort food and good beer/cocktails, within a block or two or three, I'd be there right now!
    We believe the various events we've sponsored, Brewfest, Brewerytown Food Truck Roundup, Art + Soul Food (now Brewerytown Spring Festival), Sunset Jazz Concerts, etc. demonstrate that if you give people a reason to come to Girard Ave, they will.

  20. #20
    McAdams is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by MM Partners View Post
    There was nothing there when Johnny Brenda's opened in 2005. There was no Piazza and the demographic changes in Fishtown were very much in their infancy. The same guys opened Standard Tap in Northern Liberties in 1999, and there was really nothing happening in that neighborhood at the time. They were forward thinking. They built it, and people came.
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