Spruce Hill: Dollar Strollin’ in West Philly
These days, it’s hard to get much out of a dollar, especially in an urban area such as Philadelphia. Then again, a dollar can still cover a good bargain on certain occasions.
During the Baltimore Avenue Dollar Stroll on Sept. 12, great deals were everywhere along this busy street in West Philadelphia. Businesses located on Baltimore Avenue, from 43rd Street all the way to 51st Street, were offering great deals – only one dollar – to anyone fortunate enough to be in the area.
The Dollar Stroll ran from 5:30p.m. to 8:30p.m. on a rain or shine basis and offered local restaurants, artists and other businesses an opportunity to peddle their discounted foods and wares to anyone who happened to be passing by. As chance would have it, Philadelphia was hit by a rainstorm around 6:30p.m. but that did little to discourage the businesses and customers from enjoying the events of the Dollar Stroll.
The Dollar Stroll also played host to street performers, such as a guitarist, a bagpiper, tightrope walkers, fire dancers and hula hoop enthusiasts.
One such hula hoop enthusiast was Pete Tridish, who’s lived on Baltimore Avenue for 18 years. Tridish, who goes by the pseudonym ‘Petetri Dish,’ is a self-employed radio engineer who makes hula hoops on the side.
Tridish sold his handmade hula hoops at $20 for a standard hoop and $40 for a collapsible hoop but it was free to try out the hoops.
Tridish said the Dollar Stroll can have a positive impact on the community but he also voiced concerns over some unintended consequences it could create.
“It’s like a giant, invading horde,” he said. “I’m glad to see businesses doing well and a lot of people out enjoying themselves but I also worry about how it’s affecting property values and rental prices.”
Local artist Adolfo Burgos, who runs a home-based business called Amazing Buttons, set up a stand to sell his custom buttons.
“I’ve been doing the Dollar Stroll for the last three years,” he said. “A lot of the kids and the college students get a rush when they see my buttons.”
Burgos was joined by his job coach, Kelly Soltis, a graduate from the University of the Arts. Soltis is a member of Outside the Frame Collective, a nonprofit organization that works with local artists to help them promote and sell their artwork within the community.
This was the first time Soltis had attended the Dollar Stroll and she felt that the event was beneficial for the community.
“There was a ton of people walking around the whole night and a lot of cool deals and food,” she said. “It’s very cool that everyone came out and supported the local industries.”