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Archive | Retail

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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What's Happening in:  East Passyunk Crossing 

Ratty awning says it all

The neon has gone dark

Tom’s Prime meats at 1729 E Passyunk Ave. has closed. A quick call to the number shows it’s disconnected.

Of course, that awning has looked like it had been devoured by moths for the last couple years. Maybe the lack of care for its appearance had something to do with the closure. Or maybe it was this, from Philly Speaks:

The only experience I’ve ever had with Tom’s Prime Meats is when I accompanied a friend there some time ago who made a purchase there. While I didn’t buy anything (and, therefore, can’t report on the quality of the product), I can tell you that the guy behind the counter left a very distinct impression on me: an extremely negative one. First of all, even though the shop was completely devoid of other customers, he seemed to be annoyed that he had to wait on my friend — no smile, no hello. I was new to the neighborhood at that time and tried to strike up a conversation with him about it, and all he did was bad-mouth South Philly. After we left, I asked my friend what the guy’s problem was, and she told me he’s always miserable, hates the city (lives in Jersey), but she shops there because it’s convenient.

(from poster Oladybug, who’s usually very sympathetic)

The biz appeared to never have attracted the newer residents of the neighborhood, and talking shit about South Philly in front of newcomers won’t help. It’s also never a good sign when a business in one of the city’s most gentrified neighborhoods has zero reviews on Yelp. At this point, if you don’t get the yelpers, you don’t get new customers.

We couldn’t track down a number for the landlord, who’s owned the building since 1956. He’s up to date on his property taxes, according to city records.

Is decor is from 1959? Might not be bad in the hands of the right owners.

Although the butcher’s shop’s demise might be bad news to some — Tom, for instance — it opens up an opportunity for another, less surly butcher to set up shop. With actual prime meats, a smile, and dare we ask, a new awning. Hey, Plenty! You wanna open a butcher shop?

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What's Happening in:  East Passyunk Crossing 

ENKI/Soap/New Soap, and now…

The new, temporary sign

Soulistic Natural and Spiritual Healing, a one-stop shop for herbal remedies and gifts, opened in the troubled storefront at 1742 EPA.

Paper went up over the windows a few weeks after the second Soap incarnation closed, and owner Delphine Dos Santos opened last week with the ENKI name still painted above the store. She said she was waiting for some help from the East Passyunk BID to make changes to the facade. The sign went up Saturday.

Delphine, who’s French and was a professional dancer, said she can create customized homeopathic remedies for various ailments. From her Facebook page (no website yet):

Our mission is to provide well-being, healing, personal growth and spiritual reawakening through natural remedies, affordable inspirational gifts, individual and group spiritual healing sessions and workshops .

Also on sale were earrings, geodes and other items, plus a couple shelves of new age literature. Also, fittingly, some natural, handmade soaps.

Interesting side note, Delphine said she also owns a capoeira studio.

The location also housed a used CD store a few years before ENKI opened and before that, it was a cigar shop. Hopefully, they have more luck than the previous tenants.

Taken from the street (and from store’s Facebook page)
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