Frankford Hall Wins “Best Overall” Improvement in Community Design Collaborative’s Storefront ChallengeBy Andy Sharpe |
As Philadelphia’s neighborhoods continue to get better and better, small business owners are playing a critical role in the renaissance.
This was on full display during the first night of DesignPhiladelphia, when winners of the Community Design Collaborative and city Commerce Department’s 2nd biannual Storefront Challenge were announced.
The competition judged storefront façade improvements made between October 2010 and this September, and featured 14 different award categories, with some as quirky as Up Against the Wall, which honors flat wall signs, Creative DeSign, which honors projecting signs, and the sustainability-inspired Green with Envy.
According to Jonathan Snyder, the Challenge’s program manager within the Commerce Department, there were 61 nominations for the various categories, representing all different city neighborhoods and types of businesses.
The grand prize winner, or the Best Overall, was deemed to be Stephen Starr’s Frankford Hall, which serves up German style brews in the Fishtown neighborhood and has contributed to Frankford Ave.’s blooming.
While neighborhoods like Center City, Southwest Center City, and Chestnut Hill were certainly represented in the winners circle, so too were lower-income communities.Notably, the 52nd St. Business Development Corporation won the Corridor Catalyst Group Award for its work on 52nd St. between Market and Chestnut.
“We’re working hard out on 52nd St,” announced Art Williams, the head of the organization, as he was receiving the award. Williams gave credit to certain businesses, including King’s Clothing, Young’s Fashion, and Art and Beauty Hair Salon (which he owns), as being especially enthusiastic.
In the ever-trendy Green with Envy category, Fishtown’s web design and development firm YIKES was lauded. Owner Tracy Levesque was not surprised at the award, as she said YIKES was “founded on the principles of sustainability.”
Among the sustainable elements that have gone into the LEED Platinum-certified YIKES buildings are “a lot of recycled/re-claimed materials,” windows, and other materials that help to create a “thermal envelope,” and “high-efficiency appliances,” continues Levesque.
The renowned local building firm Greensaw was responsible for the two re-used buildings that YIKES inhabits on East Girard Ave. Adorn by Sarah Lewis, a jewelry shop just a few blocks away from Frankford Hall, was also recognized with the Green with Envy Award.
Other winners included South St. West’s Jet Wine Bar for Corridor Catalyst Individual Award, and MagPie’s Artisan Pie Boutique for the Up Against the Wall Award, West Philadelphia’s Manakeesh Café and Bakery for the Honor the Past Award, and the uber popular Shake Shack in Center City for the Pardon Our Appearance Award. The latter of which won for “a living wall that interacted with the community,” announced Snyder.
The sixteen winners were chosen by a panel of experts representing the Community Design Collaborative, the city Commerce, Planning, Art, and Historical Commissions, the Merchant’s Fund, Otto Architects, and others, said the city’s Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Alan Greenberger in opening remarks.
There was no monetary award for winning businesses, although victors should enjoy the publicity that will ensue. In fact, Greenberger reports that of the winning businesses who took part in the first Storefront Challenge in 2010 and completed the after-challenge survey, 85% cited an increase in foot traffic outside their business, while an impressive 79% said they experienced an increase in sales.
More before and after storefront winner photos below.
52nd St Business Development Corporation, Corridor Catalyst Group Award
YIKES, Green With Envy Award
Jet Wine Bar, Corridor Catalyst Individual Award
Magpie’s Artisan Pie Shop, Up Against The Wall Award
Manakeesh, Honor The Past Award
Shake Shack, Pardon Our Appearance Award
Reeds Coffee and Tea, Painted Lady Award
Virgin Hair Boutique, Painted Lady Award
Askum, Extreme Makeover Award
Tria Wine Room, Nightlife Award
Bicycle Revolutions, Window Display Award
American Sardine Bar, Creative DeSign Award
Silk City Diner, Protection to Perfection Award
Little Baby’s Ice Cream, Bang For The Buck Award
Photos via Community Design Collaborativeblog comments powered by Disqus