These 9 businesses won free rent to revitalize Kensington's commercial corridor - Generocity Philly

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Dec. 19, 2017 12:32 pm

These 9 businesses won free rent to revitalize Kensington’s commercial corridor

An audio production studio, artist incubator, vegan bakery and six more were the winners of Shift Capital's Kensington Avenue Storefront Challenge.

The winners of Shift Capital's Kensington Avenue Storefront Challenge.

(Courtesy photo)

Kensington Ave is about to get a little buzzier.

Shift Capital launched its Kensington Avenue Storefront Challenge back in early September to hear city residents’ ideas in “reimagining Kensington Ave as the safe, innovative, inclusive heart” of a neighborhood suffering from blight and the opioid epidemic.

Fourteen business concepts were chosen by the social impact real estate development firm last month to be finalists, and last night, nine winners were announced to receive financial and technical support in setting up shop at some of Shift Capital’s unused properties along the commercial corridor.

Here are the winning businesses:

  • AC // Sounds — Boutique audio design and production studio
  • Caphe — Specialty Vietnamese coffee roaster and retailer
  • Drummond’s Kiddie Kollege — 24-hour daycare center
  • Juggarnaut 3000 — Artist incubator space, glass studio and gallery
  • Naturally Sweet Desserts & Insomnia Vegan — Vegan bakery and late-night delivery service specializing in desserts made from locally sourced produce and herbs
  • Philly Pretzel Factory — A second location from a franchisee who’s been in business for more than 10 years
  • Pound Cake Heaven — Local, family-owned and operated business specializing in homemade sweets
  • Soil to Soul and Juice Jawn — Restaurant focusing on healthy soul food and fresh juices
  • Riposo Café — Traditional Italian restaurant also serving coffee and homemade baked goods

To help get these businesses off the ground, Shift Capital, along with its partners New Kensington Community Development Corporation (NKCDC), Impact Services Corporation and the city’s Department of Commerce, promised the winners up to one year of free rent, funding to help improve the interiors and exteriors of the spaces and business advice.

Maria Sourbeer, VP of development at Shift Capital, told us a couple months ago these kinds of rewards and services were being provided in the hopes that the business owners would stay committed to the neighborhood for the long run. The businesses aim to open their doors by Summer 2018.

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