Tacony Businesses and CDC Win Awards

Last week the Tacony CDC was thrilled that two area stores were recognized by the City’s Commerce Department and the Community Design Collaborative Storefront Challenge 2014 for best practices in storefront design. Wellen’s Hosiery won best awning design and FM Mart won the “Simple Storefront” award at the 2014 Storefront Challenge Awards. Both businesses utilized the Commerce Department’s Storefront Improvement Program to financially support these façade improvements. The Tacony CDC assisted both stores with the application, design, and construction process to help achieve maximum impact for dollars spent. These stores are 2 of 15 we’ve helped redesign since 2012 and we hope to improve an additional 11 stores by next fall.

Wellens signature awnings received the "Awesome Awnings" award.

Wellens signature awnings received the “Awesome Awnings” award.

The biggest surprise came when our own Corridor Manager, Alex Balloon, received the Corridor Catalyst award. This award is given to an individual that represents best design and business practices in corridor revitalization. We could not be happier that Alex’s hard work has been recognized by Philadelphia’s redevelopment community.

The project restored the historic signage, added better windows, and a distinctive awning to welcome customers. Better merchandise display was an essential part of the improvement plan.

The project restored the historic signage, added better windows, and a distinctive awning to welcome customers. Better merchandise display was an essential part of the improvement plan.

Check out Wellens, FM Mart, and all the other awesome winners from the 2014 Storefront challenge by reading this article from PlanPhilly.com.

Alex Balloon was honored by the Storefront Challenge with the "Corridor Catalyst" award.

Alex Balloon was honored by the Storefront Challenge with the “Corridor Catalyst” award.

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Tour of the Waste Management Material Recovery Facility (MRF) Here in Tacony

The heyday of the Disston Saw Works here in Tacony has long passed, but there are still local manufacturers here in our neighborhood. We were lucky to tour one at the Philadelphia Material Recovery Facility (MRF) operated by Waste Management. It’s a local facility located at 5109 Bleigh Ave. The MRF opened in 2010 as a large-scale single stream recycling facility designed to process mixed recyclables. This facility will help Waste Management achieve its corporate long-term goal of processing 20 million tons of recyclables by the year 2020. By moving to a single stream model, Waste Management increases recycling participation by making it easier for households and businesses to recycle. Single-stream recycling allows customers to place all their recyclables (paper, plastic, metals) into one bin and later Waste Management sorts them at the MRF. You can join us on a virtual tour (with better cinematography) here.

Inside the MRF

The MRF processes an amazing 20,000 tons of recyclables a month, is LEED-silver certified, and constructed on a brownfield site at a cost of $20 million. The site employs a number of individuals who live in and around the Tacony neighborhood.

Here’s a diagram of the how the MRF works.

Touring the MRF was an exciting experience. The whizzing conveyor belts, vacuums, machines, and employees made the process seem seamless.

Community Partner

We want to take time again to thank our Tax Credit and Community Partner Waste Management of Pennsylvania, Inc. Without their support we would be unable to provide our services such as new storefronts, corridor cleaning, small business support, new security initiatives, and other special projects. In addition to their tax partnership with the Tacony CDC Waste Management hosts job fairs and community events through the Tacony and Holmesburg Civic Associations, and supports the Delaware River City Corporation. Join them for a spring cleanup in Pennypack Park.

We also want to give Patty Barthel a special thank-you for an amazing tour of the Philadelphia MRF. For more information visit wm.com

Some Recycling Tips

Here are some great resources that help you be a better recycler.

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Businesses Working Together: Small Projects Make Big Gains

By: Christian Regosch

A big part of community development is getting businesses to collaborate with each other to meet similar needs. Most of our resources are local and local economic development is strongest when we can get businesses working together. We recently helped facilitate a joint project between two of our strongest businesses Jack’s Place Hoagie Shop and Computer Guy.

Computer Guy specializes in all things computers, including hardware, software, and all forms of electronic and social media.  Recently Computer Guy expanded their service offerings to include video boards, viral videos and commercials. At the same time Jack’s Place recently upgraded their interior with a bold new paint scheme and TV monitor in order to showcase their products to patrons while they wait. Unfortunately a video board to showcase these products could cost a business more than $1000 to create and maintain so this idea was cost prohibitive project for Jack’s Place.

Seeing this chance for community collaboration we encouraged Computer Guy to work with Jack’s Place to frame out and create them a custom video board.  Computer Guy delivered Jack’s Place a completed video board at no cost. This project was a win for both parties involved, Jack’s Place will generate more revenue and Computer Guy built up their portfolio.  For our role Jack’s Place has agreed to let the CDC put promotional material about our services on the video board.

Check out the new Video Board at Jack's Place

Check out the new Video Board at Jack’s Place

We would like to thank board member and owner of Computer Guy Scott Degirolamo for providing this service to Jack’s Place.  Computer Guy is located at 6911 Torresdale Avenue and provides professional computer solutions to residential, commercial, and industrial clients.  Please stop into Jack’s Place to check out the new video board and try one of their delicious sandwiches or platters, located at 7167 Hegerman Street.

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Join Us at Fallfest: September 27, 2014 at 10am – 2pm at 6700 Torresdale Ave

Councilman Bobby Henon is organizing FallFest here in Tacony which will take place on September 27th. We expect to have live music, balloon artists, and face painting, free health screenings, food trucks, a farmer’s market and more. Last year’s event was a huge success.

The Tacony CDC will be exhibiting at a table along with other community organizations. This year will include a special opportunity to meet the new police officers assigned to the 15th District. Please call Councilman Henon’s office at 215-683-9220 if you are interested in exhibiting your organization or business.

Be sure to check out the Farmer’s Market that will be a part of this year’s event.

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Americorps Service Members Spruce Up Tacony Library

Americorps service members helped clean up the Tacony Library and plant flowers. AmeriCorps is a network of local, state, and national service programs that connects over 70,000 Americans each year in intensive service to meet community needs in education, the environment, public safety, health, and homeland security. Please join us in thanking Americorps members for their valuable service to our community.

Americorps Members Trim Bushes and Plant Flowers to Show Neighborhood Pride.

Americorps Members Trim Bushes and Plant Flowers to Show Neighborhood Pride.

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Anthony’s Café Espresso Celebrates a Great Opening Weekend

by: Christian Regosch

After months of anticipation Anthony’s Café Espresso finally opened its doors to the public this past Friday. The lively and festive grand opening featured free samples of coffee and cake, outdoor dining, music, and pastries available for purchase inside the store. Nearly 30 people attended the early afternoon ribbon cutting ceremony including State Representative candidate Mike Driscoll, La Colombe Coffee CEO and TV personality Todd Carmichael, Justine Bolkus of the Office of Business Services, Father Farrell, and Tacony CDC manager Alex Balloon. Before the ribbon cutting ceremony Father Farrell bless the business and its customers, after which Anthony Cancilliere and other key individuals cut the ribbon to officially open the café. Throughout the course of the day residents and visitors from as far away as Fox Chase came to receive a free sample of coffee, relax inside the new store, and mingle. Owner Anthony Cancilliere and his family were on hand, running the event and putting a smile on everyone’s face.

Cutting

Anthony Cacilliere and family, Todd Carmichael, Alex Balloon, Father Farrell, Justine Blokus and Mike Driscoll cutting the ribbon

The excitement spilled over into the weekend. Saturday the café saw a steady flow of traffic throughout the course of the day with people taking in its ambience by relaxing and reading the paper with a nice cup of coffee. On Sunday the café enjoyed extra visibility from the Italian Day Festival being held at Our Lady of Consolation just down the street. Numerous festival attendees stopped in to the café to see what it offers and many loved the Italian flare and food the café provides.

Cafe

Customers enjoying the Café this past Saturday, photo credit Connie Delury via Facebook

Anthony’s Café Espresso will be open every day this week and will offer fresh brewed coffee, sandwiches, baked goods, and a peaceful atmosphere. For more information about Anthony’s Café Espresso routinely check out their website and Facebook page.

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Wake Up and Smell The Coffee! Café Espresso’s Grand Opening Fri 9/05 10am-5pm

Before you head off to work or before you hit the shore for the weekend, be sure to stop by Café Espresso on Friday, September 5th between 10am-5pm for a free sample of some delicious, locally sourced, La Colombe coffee. You’ll be tempted to buy a cup of your own and try some pastries and other goodies as well.

We are very excited to announce the grand opening of Café Espresso & Pasticceria at 4741 Princeton Ave. It has been a group effort to bring the café into fruition. Spearheaded by the owner, Anthony Cancilliere, we would also like to specifically acknowledge Justine Bolkus, who assisted in acquiring the necessary licensing and permits through the permits and licensing Department.

The Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce made possible Café Espresso’s storefront improvement through their Storefront Improvement Program. The Café now features a warm and inviting storefront for customers along Princeton Ave to come and enjoy.

Screen Shot 2014-08-12 at 12.04.14 PMScreen Shot 2014-08-12 at 12.07.44 PM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEFORE                                                                       AFTER

 

We would also like to thank Scott DeGirolamo of Computer Guy and Christian Regosch for organizing and promoting the grand opening as well as all the people who partnered with us and Café Espresso to make it possible.

We encourage everyone to come out and be part of its grand opening celebration to help kick-off this new café in Tacony to a great start! We know Café Espresso will be a wonderful addition to the current stores along Torresdale Ave as a nice place to meet up with friends and neighbors to enjoy a fresh cup of top quality coffee.

Their menu will also feature light breakfast options as well as a selection of soups, sandwiches and entrees for lunch. Come and check it out Sept 5th. We’ll look forward to seeing you there!

Written by: Audrey von Ahrens

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Tackling Blight in Tacony

This summer, we embarked upon an important challenge: tackling blight in Tacony. Our work-study interns surveyed all 6,000 residential and commercial properties in the Tacony service area in search of vacant lots, structurally unsound buildings, and vandalism.

In total, 280 cases of blight were reported to the relevant city departments using Philly 311. Over 70% of cases consisted of residential maintenance violations and illegal graffiti. As our work-study interns walked through the neighborhood, they noticed that boarded windows and graffiti on public signs were serious issues.

Neighborhood Services, the Streets Department, and Licenses & Inspections have already begun visiting blighted properties. We cannot thank them enough for helping us tackle blight in Tacony!  As property owners correct their violations, we look forward to seeing improvement in Tacony’s overall appearance!

Click below for more information on the recently completed blight survey. Also, stay tuned for more project updates as the summer comes to a close.

 

Tacony Blight Survey Summary-01

 

Written by: Marie Suvansin

 

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10 More Businesses Approved for the Storefront Improvement Program

We are pleased to announce that the second round of the Storefront Improvement Program is under way! Tacony CDC has been working in partnership with the Department of Commerce and a total of 10 businesses have just been approved to begin the Storefront Improvement Program process, adding to the original 16 projects completed in the first round. By the end of the second round, Tacony could see a total of 26 new storefronts along the Avenue since 2013. 

The 10 businesses that have been approved for the second round are Sunny Cleaners, Dust to Dawn, Magic Wok, Jack Stabler’s State Farm Insurance, Philadelphia Media Exchange, Torresdale Chiropractic Center, Guy Caputo’s Barber Shop, Davie’s Insurance & Auto Tags, Graphix One,  and Anna Marie’s Academy of Dance.

The next step is for these businesses to meet with an architect and start thinking about the new design for their storefront. We are very excited to work with them and see even more positive changes happening along Torresdale Avenue!

Check out these “before” photographs of the current storefronts:

Dust to Dawn Storefront_Before 2

Sunny Cleaners Storefront_Before

Magic Wok Storefront_Before 3

State Farm Storefront_Before 2

Philly Media Storefront_Before 2

Torresdale Chiropractic Storefront_Before

Guy Caputo's Storefront_Before

Storefront Before Improvements 2

Graphix One Storefront_Before

Anna Marie's Storefront_Before3

Written and photographed by: Audrey von Ahrens

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The Tacony Satisfaction Survey Results Are In!

In July, we surveyed 50 residents and visitors to find out if our projects are making a noticeable difference in our community. We organized the survey questions under three topics: Clean & Safe Streets, Shopping in Tacony, and Storefront Improvements.

The results are in, and we are blown away by how positive they are! The majority of participants have noticed an improvement in cleanliness and safety, as well as in the appearance of storefronts. Feedback like this lets us know that our Clean & Safe efforts and Storefront Improvement Program are worth continuing.

We also received feedback that will help us improve other projects. Because the survey results show that safety is still a concern for some residents, we will encourage business owners to install security cameras through programs such as SafeCam. In addition, because not all users are fully utilizing Shop Tacony and Historic Tacony Revitalization, we will work hard to make the websites more user-friendly.

Thank you to all the residents and visitors who took our survey. With your feedback and support, we can continue making Tacony a better place to live, work, and visit!

For more details, please click here to see the full report with figures.

 

 

written by: Marie Suvansin

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