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Storefront Challenge 2014 Celebrates How Good Design is Good Business

October 15, 2014 Category: Uncategorized

The Commerce Department and the Community Design Collaborative (CDC) held an award ceremony yesterday, October 14, for businesses that have made storefront improvements in the last two years. The winning storefronts were selected from a city-wide call for nominations that included a range of designs, from formerly vacant buildings transformed by new businesses to minor retrofits made by long-time occupants.

The event was established by the Department of Commerce and the CDC to celebrate their belief that “good design is good business” and because the city’s neighborhoods and commercial corridors also stand to gain from better designed storefronts.

The Department of Commerce funded some of the nominated storefronts through its Storefront Improvement Program (profiled here by Generocity), which reimburses businesses for up to 50 percent of the cost of eligible improvements. Improvements to exterior paint-jobs, windows, masonry, lights, signs, awnings and security gates are all eligible. The CDC, a nonprofit design firm, also provided pro-bono consulting to some of the businesses.

The overall winner was Valley Green Bank, a bank located at the corner of Tasker and Broad streets, for its sleek overhaul of a drab, brick exterior built in the 1960s.

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Alex Balloon, executive director of Tacony CDC

Other winners, by category, include:

Best deSign – a tie between Rybew Cafe (Brewerytown) and Townsend (East Passyunk)

Amazing Awnings – Wellens Hoisery (Tacony)

Paint that Pops – The Center for Art in Wood (Old City)

KISS (Keep It Simple Storeowner) – Fu Mei Mart (Tacony)

Window Displays – Amatullah’s Treasures

Bang for the Buck – New Kensington CDC Model Block (South Kensingtown/Fistown)

From our Partners

Honor the Past – Robert Bland and Associates (East Passyunk)

Extreme Makeover – ReAnimator Coffee Roasters (South Kensington)

There was one award that didn’t go to a business: Alex Balloon, executive director of the Tacony CDC, received the “Corridor Catalyst” award honoring his work on Torresdale Avenue, which runs through the heart of the Tacony neighborhood in Northeast Philadelphia. He is also known for bringing publicity to the “Hoagie Trail,” a cluster of famous sandwich shops around the Torresdale corridor.


Storefront Improvement Program

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