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Archive | Retail

What's Happening in:  Bella Vista 

Shot Tower Coffee owner opens DIG Yoga in Bella Vista

Mariel Freeman, one half of the team that opened Shot Tower Coffee at 6th and Christian, has tapped into her other passion and opened DIG Yoga in Bella Vista. After refurbishing a long-empty former stable at 410 Monroe St., she opened the studio in September with her partners and mentors, Sue Elkind and Naime Jezzeney. Jezzeney and Elkind are internationally known yoga instructors who already have a studio in Lambertville and were looking to expand into the city.

On the first floor of the space is Zakti Fitness, where Pete Mattisoffers small group and personal fitness training. The harness hooks dangling from the ceiling show that this guy means business. Upstairs is the spacious yoga room with white brick walls, warm lighting, bamboo flooring and a high rustic beamed ceiling.

Freeman, who is a calm, welcoming, walking advertisement for yoga, plans to also open the space occasionally for art shows, lectures or other community events. The quiet studio is set back from Monroe Street and offers classes for everyone – kids, pregnant women, beginners to advanced – plus specialized teacher training.
Check them out at the free class they offer every Friday. And tell them Passyunk Post said hi.
The front entrance
Your tip-off that something is actually down the gated alley
Out the second floor window looking toward Monroe
Huge second floor yoga studio. Cool ceilings. 
Those are pads, not a contemporary couch
First floor S&M studio – er, personal training room
Has anyone been yet? Reviews?

– Pictures and words by Martha Rich,
Wanna be a tipster for our new contributors in Bella Vista? Email us at or give us a shout on Twitter @PassyunkPost
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What's Happening in:  East Passyunk Crossing 

HOME Furnishings Boutique opens on Passyunk

The HOME furnishings store at 1815 E. Passyunk had a soft opening this weekend, just in time for the holiday shopping season. On Saturday, guests enjoyed some bubbly, treats and shopping in the store, which we first told you about in October. It’s mostly stocked and the items range in price from $15 for small accent pieces to custom furniture in the upper hundreds.

HOME: A Furnishing Boutique now open at 1815 E. Passyunk Ave.

The husband and wife duo, Sary Em and Eric Heidel, have visited several home shows over the past few months in preparation for the store opening. The dining room table that occupies the back room of the store was custom made by local Philadelphia welders and carpenters and is available for sale.

Also on sale were everyday household items – scented candles, graphic mugs, soft throw blankets, etc. HOME will be documenting inventory on their blog and Facebook page. The couple will also be offering design and architecture services there through their firm (re)work architecture & design.

Say hi, owners Eric Heidel and Sary Em

If you visit HOME furnishings and other stores along the Avenue between Thanksgiving and Second Saturday, you’ll be entered to win a $100 Shopping Spree. Just bring your receipt to the BID office at 1904 EPA on Dec. 8 from noon to 4 p.m.

– Photos and text by Austin Case, @arcase

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What's Happening in:  East Passyunk Crossing 

HOME shoots for Nov. 17 opening

The floors are redone, the facade has been painted and the walls refinished. Pretty soon, they’ll be ready for merchandise.

The HOME furnishings store opening at 1815 E. Passyunk, where the old Next clothing space operated for a hot minute, is trying to open by Nov. 17, just in time for holiday shopping season.

According to a blog post on HOME’s website, the store won’t have all their inventory yet, but they will “have the majority of our accessories and a few pieces of furniture available for holiday shopping! And once the rest of our inventory arrives (hoping early January), we’ll have an official grand opening.”

They also kindly took a few pictures.

We have new walls! Crazy how just the texture of your walls can make such a difference. The space already looks 10x better. Now we just need to finish the electrical, patch up the ceiling, install new fixtures, new baseboards and trim, paint, CLEAN, get in all the furniture, merchandise all of the inventory. Just a couple things left to do. Yikes! Okay, back to work.

That does sound like a lot to do. Good luck! We’ll be stopping by soon.

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What's Happening in:  East Passyunk Crossing 

Interesting office opening at old Bargain Bazaar location

Dan Bogen, a professor in engineering a U Penn, specializes is engineering design and medical devices, especially “assisting technologies” for disabled people.

He’ll be going part time a Penn at the end of the academic year, but before that he plans to open an office and design studio at 1831 E. Passyunk Ave. The previous tenant, Bargain Bazaar, moved next door earlier this year.

He said there won’t be much of a walk-in retail presence, but he plans to set up the space with a gallery-like feel to it. “Most of the products are customized,” he said. “That’s how the whole industry works, so it would be pretty hard to do a retail operation with a great deal of variety.”

Further down the line, he’d also like to set up a nonprofit “social entrepreneurship venture.” That essentially means he’ll help other assisting-technology designers bring their products to market.

Bogen, who’s been working in the field for years, says he’s mostly interested in helping severely disabled people use products that are designed for fully able people by adding “ability switches.” The switches can be tiny or up to six inches long and activated by tilting your head or blinking your eyes, for instance. Right now he’s working on a digital camera that can be used by a person with limited ability of his hands and modified drums and guitars for children.

He and his wife bought the building in July for $392,000 and they plan to live upstairs. They’re new to hood, adding to the increasing number of professionals who are opting for storefront retail on Passyunk.

“We were looking for a mixed commerical-residential property, which is hard to find in Philadelphia,” he said. “We looked around and discovered the area, which we really didn’t know at all, and we said, ‘Oh, this is it.’ It really does have everything.”
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What's Happening in:  East Passyunk Crossing 

Limoncello shop opening on the Avenue?

We didn’t even realize this was legal, but sure enough, a woman has applied for a limited distillery retail license to sell her specialty limoncello out of a Passyunk storefront.

Joan Verratti, whom Meal Ticket said in 2010 was the first licensed female distiller in the country since Prohibition, has been brewing 18 flavors of her Pollyodd Limoncello in Point Breeze and wants to open a shop at 1908 E. Passyunk. Four of the flavors, lemon, lime, orange and chocolate, were to have made their way into state stores this summer.

She goes before the EPX zoning committee tonight. Hours can’t exceed 11 p.m., but EPX says she wants to close earlier than that. The application says there will be no consumption on site besides a sample of 1.5 ounces per person. So you can’t get drunk there, just maybe have a night cap after dinner across the street at Le Virtu, if she’s wise enough to stay open during dinner hours.

In our eyes Verratti is picking the right kind of storefront. As you can see from the Google street view screen grab below, the building is in terrible shape. So anything she and partner Tom Cavaliere do will be an improvement. And all the spaces on that side of the 1900 block of Passyunk have weird, angular interiors, making rental difficult.

In other zoning news, the agenda is jam packed, including an update on what’s taking so long with the Cantina mural, revisions to the King of Jeans plans, and Fountain Porter’s request to stay open until 2 a.m., plus a lot of smaller items.

Needs a little TLC

UPDATE: Liquor license went up in the window. It’s really official, now.

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What's Happening in:  East Passyunk Crossing 

More details on housewares store coming to Avenue

The owner of the forthcoming housewares store that’s going into the old Next clothing store at 1815 E. Passyunk got back to us with some more details.

Sary Em said she and her husband want to open the store, called simply HOME, by mid-November. They will offer furniture, lighting, home accessories and small gift items such as stationery and jewelry. It’s a bit of a twist on the standard retail shop, though.

“My husband, Eric, is an architect and I am an interior designer so we will also be offering design services through our firm (re)work architecture & design,” she said.

The couple had been running their business out of their home near 12th and Titan streets. If you want to keep up with updates on the couple’s progress check here. They also are on Facebook here.

What’s up with the husband and wife teams opening up shops down here? Something in the water?

Out with the old (which was still pretty new)
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