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Archive | Retail

What's Happening in:  East Passyunk Crossing 

Another Avenue business closes; owner gets some nibbles

Pour out a little of that 40 for Bronze Bar, the airbrush tanning studio at 1713 S. 12th St. next to the Passyunk dollar store.

Kaput. It never even had it’s own sign
The gate hasn’t risen for weeks, and there’s a curling piece of paper taped to the window telling prospective renters to call Paul. Building owner Paul Liou said the BB told him they weren’t busy enough, but that the owner had other businesses.
The last number is 2. No pranks!

He’s already gotten some interest from three people for a possible cafe, clothing store or architecture office. Liou said the new rent would tentatively be about $1,000 a month (depending on the business) for about 500 square feet. He wouldn’t say how much Bronze Bar paid but he said he gave the lady a great deal, sort of a friendship agreement. Not surprising that he’d hike the rent.

That building, incidentally, is Liou’s only one. His jobby job is as a Chinese-English interpreter, which he does in courtrooms in Philly, Atlantic City, Vineland and Delaware.


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What's Happening in:  East Passyunk Crossing 

Meat market action – at Tom’s and elsewhere?

The bad news for the folks at Tom’s Prime Meats could be good news for the rest of East Passyunk.

Tom’s Prime’s surly run came to an end recently at 1729 E Passyunk Ave., which we told you about two weeks ago. But Sam Sherman, executive director of the Passyunk Avenue Revitalization Corporationsaid he has “a couple of guys fighting over that space right now.” He didn’t say what kind of businesses these people want to open.

Imagine if a real butcher set up shop here
Sherman said one problem is that the family that’s owned the building since 1956 hasn’t decided to sell it, though he’s made some inquiries. “It would be great to put someone in there that actually sold meat, a real butcher,” Sherman said in a recent phone interview. “I went by there one day to get some veal chops and he rather nastily told me to go to Espositos.”
Another shop that actually sells meat may be a possibility soon nearby. “I have four guys chasing the avenue to open a charcuterie and restaurant,” Sherman said.

Demand for the Avenue has never been hotter. The vacancy rate is probably lowest in the city, Sherman said, and PARC has a waiting list for its properties, especially now that video-production firm Pattern And Motion is moving in to the old Sweet Jane spot.


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What's Happening in:  East Passyunk Crossing 

Update on St. Jude’s, apartments above

St. Jude’s is staying in the building being renovated at 1805 E. Passyunk Ave., according to a source familiar with the renovations.

Paper foretells nothing at this point, a source said

Two weeks ago, we raised the question about the future of St. Jude’safter paper went up over part of window display. The source, who asked not to be named, said Monday there were no plans to end the lease for the Catholic gear emporium.

We couldn’t help it if our suspicions were raised when St. Jude’s owner, Louis DiCocco, sounded frustrated that we were asking him about the store’s future.

“We’re still there and selling, and that’s all you need to know,” he said from his Havertown store before rushing off the phone.

At any rate, the building’s new owner, Ed Brown, who doesn’t deal with the leasing of his properties, said Monday he bought the building from the DiCocco family. It’s his first building in the neighborhood.

It’s a wonderful area that has a lot of real good solid vibrations,” said Brown, who normally works with Center City real estate. “I think it’s the right place to be.”

He’s renovating the five existing apartments above the store – three one-bedrooms and two two-bedrooms. The apartments were really old-fashioned and cramped, so they’re knocking down walls to open them up, and, of course, replacing kitchens and bathrooms. The building is so old, in fact, workers found newspapers from the 1880s stuffed into the chimneys.

They haven’t settled on a price for the apartments, which they hope to have ready by the end of October.

Brown said there are no plans to expand the residential part of the building on the second and third floors over the storage space on the first floor (which fronts Camac Street). But he does have high hopes for adding one or more roof decks back there. Those would require extra permits, though, so it might be a while.

Imagine if they put the residential entrance back here and added a couple stories to match its neighbor 
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What's Happening in:  East Passyunk Crossing 

What’s going into old Sweet Jane Vintage?

Man, the Avenue is on fire! Paper went up over the windows this week at 1820 East Passyunk, where Sweet Jane was before closing in April.

That was quick. New tenant only two months after Sweet Jane shuttered.
They have that paper taped up pretty tight, so you can’t get a look in edgewise. On top of the new Kings Music store opening up tomorrow plus remodeling and new breakfast service starting Monday, it’s quite a week in East Passyunk.

We’ve left a message with the folks at PARC, which owns the Sweet Jane building, but they haven’t gotten back to us right away. So, people, anyone have any information about what’s coming?

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What's Happening in:  East Passyunk Crossing 

Peek inside new Kings Music

Owner Joe King is scrambling to get ready for his grand opening party Saturday, but from the looks of it, he’s in pretty good shape. He took a couple minutes to show us around and as you can see, almost all the instruments are stocked. Guitars, drums, amps, accessories and other equipment line the walls.

No “Stairway to Heaven”

He’s still waiting on a huge order of saxophones to fill another shelf.

Are you ready to rock?

He kept the wooden, grooved walls that previously held up the shelves when the former Shoe Gallery was located in the storefront. The displays looked awkward in the shoe store but they’re actually better suited to displaying instruments. He also slapped a coat of purplish paint on some of the walls.

Are you properly equipped for the rock making?

This is King’s first effort at retail (he worked in sales at Verizon/AT&T/Bell Atlantic), but he plays drums, bass, guitar, banjo and a little keyboard. He has a stable of nine teachers that will be giving the lessons, though.

One of the lesson rooms
King now lives in South Philly near Marconi Plaza but grew up in South Jersey in a Mummer family – he, his father, brother and cousin are all in the Mummer Hall of Fame. He’s marched in the parade for 49 years, with the Quaker City String Band for the last 15. In non-Mummer music, he said he’s also been in a band called Sensation for years, playing everywhere from the Bahamas to Boston, and from the casinos to the old Crystal Tea Room.
Joe King messing with soundproofing in another lesson room.

The onsite recording isn’t quite ready yet, but his portable equipment can be quickly set up. He just said he’s working on getting that website going, too.

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What's Happening in:  East Passyunk Crossing 

Sign of the times for St. Jude’s?

The building at 1805 E. Passyunk Ave., which houses St. Jude’s Shop next door to Stogie Joe’s, was sold in May for $875,000, slightly down from the original list price of $899,000. Then paper went up over part of the window display last week, making us wonder if the end was near for the communion dress and nativity scene emporium.

What does the paper foretell? Maybe nothing

The DiCocco family that owns the store, plus locations in Havertown and Cherry Hill, was less than helpful. Louis DiCocco was fairly short with us when we reached him at the Havertown location.

“We’re still there and selling, and that’s all you need to know,” he said before rushing off the phone.

He declined to say how long the lease was. That doesn’t necessarily mean the store is closing, but he sure wasn’t happy that we were asking. Back in the day, the family also had locations on Castor Avenue and at 21 S. 13th St, steps away from another restaurant renaissance in Midtown Village.

The new landlord didn’t immediately return a call, but we do know that the paper at this point is only covering up renovations to the stairs that go to the apartments above the store. The window display to the right of the door is still in tact.

That slide would only cause butt splinters
Around back, you can see work crews gutting the second and third floors. Judging by the size of the building, they could fit up to six apartments in there if they wanted, though zoning may not allow that. Add the 12 apartments proposed for the King of Jeans building, and you’ve got some serious new residential life coming to the Avenue.
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