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What's Happening in:  East Passyunk Crossing 

St. Jude’s shop closing at 1807 E. Passyunk Ave., which presents a huge opportunity

St. Jude’s is closing its shop at 1807 E. Passyunk Ave., less than a year after we speculated in July that the sale of the building could mean the beginning of the end for the longtime Catholic gear store.

Bye, communion dresses

Bye, communion dresses

A sign in the window says the store is relocating, listing a Havertown address, but that’s actually another store they already have. Their online business is also apparently quite robust.


Like we said in July, we could see this coming. The DiCicco family that owns the store sold the building in May 2012 for $875,000. Louis DiCicco rushed us off the phone when we caught up with him to ask whether the store was closing. “We’re still there and selling, and that’s all you need to know,” he said at the time.

We’ve left a message with the listing agent for the new owner to see if a tenant has been lined up and we’ll update you when we hear anything else.

Meanwhile, though we never like to see a business close, this particular shuttering presents quite an opportunity for East Passyunk. The retail space here is one of the biggest on the avenue, at least 3,000 square feet. And that means something really good could come in its place. So, let the wishful thinking begin. What should replace St. Jude’s?

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24 Responses to St. Jude’s shop closing at 1807 E. Passyunk Ave., which presents a huge opportunity

  1. Ian June 12, 2013 at 9:04 am #

    Wawa pleaseeeee

  2. JoannaB June 12, 2013 at 9:12 am #

    No more restaurants….we need retail! Another pharmacy would be great, either there or across the street where RiteAid was.

  3. acer June 12, 2013 at 9:53 am #

    another pharmacy? There’s a Rite Aid, Walgreens, and CVS within 5 minutes of this place in all directions. Too far to walk for your cigarettes?

    • JoannaB June 12, 2013 at 11:00 am #

      I don’t smoke, but thanks for the snark.

      CVS is overcrowded, and I prefer to avoid Broad and Snyder after a certain time of day.

  4. Julie June 12, 2013 at 10:04 am #

    A gourmet/deli market (like the old Chef’s Market on South St) would be great. We could use a smaller-than-Acme market that has some nice quality products. Green Aisle is just too small and specilaized for regular shopping.
    Though a pharmacy would be good too. Definitely retail.

  5. Joanna June 12, 2013 at 10:04 am #

    Trader Joe’s!!

  6. SH June 12, 2013 at 10:10 am #

    Music venue, theater… some kind of performance art space here would be best I think.

  7. JC June 12, 2013 at 10:14 am #


  8. Dan P. June 12, 2013 at 10:21 am #

    Something like The Spotty Dog (Books and Ale) in Hudson, NY would be awesome. I know bookstores are being hit hard by Amazon but I think there’s a still a place for small, independent, well-curated and unique retail bookstore in that industry. The huge overhead model of Borders and Barnes and Noble may not be sustainable (especially Borders as it turns out) but Headhouse Books and Joseph Fox are pretty cool places and would be good models. Add in the artisanal draft beer, appetizer food options and some good sitting space and maybe a small performance space for poetry reads, spoken word, story slams, etc. and we could end up with a nice little neighborhood asset.

  9. Andrew June 12, 2013 at 10:30 am #

    I agree with SH. Some type of nightlife/performance venue is needed on the Ave but I wouldn’t mind a Han Dynasty down here in the mix of American, Mexican, and Italian. For a space that large, the retail would need to be diversified enough to reach a larger demographic.

  10. Byron Newport June 12, 2013 at 11:36 am #

    A wine and spirits store would do very well here, as would a nice sized food market as has been suggested. I’m losing hope about the Co-Op and their constant member milestones – someone with money will eventually swoop in and fill the demand if the demand is indeed there. The W&S place on 11th and Wharton has all the charm of a DMV, and is disconnected from the neighborhood. A half-mile walk or more for a bottle of wine is far when you consider we live in one of the largest cities in the country, and we attract people from outside the neighborhood for our dining scene, which includes great BYOB’s. I would love a really well done music venue like Johnny Brenda’s that is an asset to the neighborhood, but I don’t see that space architecturally supporting an establishment like that. I’d be concerned it could become a nuisance establishment in a neighborhood that is thoughtful to stay family-friendly.

    • Dan P. June 12, 2013 at 1:03 pm #

      Hi Byron,
      Thanks for helping to keep the Co-op front of mind! We realize that that length of time that it takes to get one of these operating can be daunting and that it requires a great deal of patience on the part of our members as we go through this process. And while it may feel a little like “moving the goalposts,” the member milestones are taken from best practices that successful co-ops all around the U.S. have followed when starting up. As you can see from the milestone map that we’ve had in place since we began recruiting members in June of 2011 each milestone corresponds to a specific set of tasks that also need to be done before moving on to the next stage. We’ve been working to educate people that this is necessarily a long process in order to ensure that upon opening the store will be around for a long, long time.

      The volunteers and member-owners who are making the Co-op happen are working hard every day to move to that next stage where we will have a location picked and begin fitting it out for opening. Our real estate committee has gone on a number of site visits and is narrowing down locations to a few that we will do professional site analyses on to confirm their suitability and viability. And our membership committee has continued to push hard since the end of our recently completed, very successful campaign. We continue to have members signing up every week. Our hope is that by the time our Garden Tour fundraiser in September comes around we’ll also be celebrating that 600-member milestone AND the selection of a site that will move us on to pre-construction.

      Having worked a lot on this issue, I can say that given the ROI that larger grocery chains often require and the profit margins they need to get there, they are less likely to invest in non-traditional spaces. The Co-op – with a motivation that includes building a community asset, owned by the community in addition to the profit motivation – is a group of community members looking to fill a demand/need that is present but not quite lucrative enough to have attracted the attention of the big names while also catering to a clientele that values quality, locally-produced, responsibly-raised food and sustainably-made products. Best of all, it will be owned BY the community… something no other option will be able to claim.

      Again, thanks for bringing up the Co-op. If you are a member, thank you for being one. Being a member is the single most important thing you can do to help get the store open. I implore you not to lose hope. We’re making great progress and will get there soon!

      Dan Pohlig
      South Philly Food Co-op
      Marketing and Communications Committee

      P.S. Come out to our Hot Dog Happy Hour tomorrow at Underdogs (South Philly location) at 5:30pm. Once you meet and talk with some of the folks who are working to make this happen you’ll understand why we believe so much that this will happen!

  11. Adam June 12, 2013 at 11:46 am #

    A music venue would be nice. Even if it’s a slightly larger than usual coffeshop with a small stage; that would set it apart from other places already around.

    I do love the idea of a Wine and Spirits store.

  12. Nate June 12, 2013 at 1:01 pm #

    A small grocery store or Wine and Spirits would be great for this space

  13. Korey June 12, 2013 at 7:43 pm #

    Trader Joe’s, Wine & Spirits Premium Collection shop, Music Venue with pool tables n what not ala Fat Cat in NYC, Bank of America, Buffalo Exchange or similar, WaWa! I’m sure whatever it is will be awesome.

  14. Beth McConnell June 12, 2013 at 7:59 pm #

    Aside for being devastated that I will not have a place to get my Jesus and Madonna supplies….What about a kitchen/housewares shop? We don’t have anything like that on the Avenue and the closest is Fantes in the Market or Row Home @ 12th & Sansom. Or the cheap stuff you buy at Ikea or Target. It could help attract the kinds of shoppers that are already interested in the many other offerings (artsy, foodsy, designy) and could do multiple types of shopping in one commercial corridor.

    The Food Co-Op would be great of course, and yes I am a member (and you should be too). With liquor privatization on the horizon, so much uncertainty…

    • Lisa Nicks June 14, 2013 at 5:42 pm #

      Era Atomica, Ocassionette AND Home are all kitchen/housewares shops on the avenue within a block of the St Judes Store. You can honestly find anything you need between the 3 of them. Would be nice to see Era move into that spot and bring in more of their stored inventory!

  15. Joe Strummer June 13, 2013 at 9:15 am #

    Wine & Spirits? Not a chance. Long term leases at existing locals and opening a new store is a major undertaking (PLCB privatization debate).
    Music venue? HA!! N E V E R. The neighbors hate Stogie Joe’s for their music.

    The pharmacy across the street has been vacant for what, 8 years? That’s 8 years that something like the above suggestions has not happened. Not a good sign. Big spaces on Passyunk do not move.

    • Dan P. June 13, 2013 at 10:40 am #

      From what I understand about the pharmacy across the street, it has more to do with the idiosyncrasies of the owner than any larger market forces. I do like the idea of some kind of home goods/small furniture and appliances show room and store.

  16. Jen June 13, 2013 at 11:28 am #

    Is it too close to the original DiBruno’s to make this their 3rd location?

    • Adam June 14, 2013 at 8:44 am #

      They’re opening a third location in the Ben Franklin House.

      Years ago there used to be a place where Plenty is located (I can’t remember the name) that was similar to DiBruno’s. The owners were older and there were no relatives to take over the business the way there was with DiBruno’s

      • Albert Stumm June 14, 2013 at 10:20 am #

        Adam, I think you’re talking about Cellini’s. That place was great. Still trying to look for a Proscuitto/sharp provolone hoagie like they had! And Joe Strummer, the pharmacy isn’t empty for lack of interest. That owner is just sitting on the space, which is disgraceful.

  17. Samantha Slade June 13, 2013 at 12:00 pm #

    I agree that a quality food market would be awesome. Something nicer than the Acme, with a good deli counter, fresh foods and a good selection. We have often lamented that we need something like an Old Nelson in this hood. While this would be much bigger than any of their locations, this would be great to have something that could fill the need.

    • katie W June 18, 2013 at 12:46 pm #

      I agree with the Trader Joes idea!! I love Traders but its such a hike from Passyunk! I do think more retail would be great! @ Korey.. there is already a store on the avenue that is similar to Buffalo Exchange, Its across the street from HOME!

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