In today’s times, magazines face a new landscape. With one folding, there is another starting up. But for local magazines, there are few to speak about, especially for those local to South Philadelphia.
Luckily, there is one now.
Philadelphia Row Home focuses on businesses and “row-home grown” celebrities in the South Philadelphia and through the city-wide area.
“Our main reason for starting this magazine was to talk about the history, the families who live here and generations of families who have become famous because of the businesses that they ran here,” says Dorette Rota Jackson, a Temple University graduate and an editor and owner of the magazine. Her sister, Dawn Rhoades ,also shares in the ownership of the magazine. The magazine got its name from the row homes Philadelphia is known for. And in which its headquarters now reside.
Their celebrity spotlights have varied from Pat Croce, Tony Luke and Kerri-Lee Halkett to the local garbage men. “We had our trash men come in and we took pictures and did a story on them once,” says Rhoades. “Everyone has a story to tell, and we want to share it,” she says. Rhoades works with the business aspects of the magazine.
When the magazine launched in the spring of 2004, its popularity boomed nearly overnight. As a first edition, Row Home came out with 54 pages. By the time its third quarter rolled around and the third edition was printed, it was over 300 pages long. “The community really responded,” says Jackson.
Today, PRH distributes over 15,000 copies per quarter and has a pass-around rate of nearly 60,000 – meaning the magazine gets passed around to other people as well as the person who picked up the magazine. A huge boost for South Philadelphia residents and businesses alike, each see a turnaround.
“It’s the bible of South Philadelphia- they read it from cover to cover,” says Carmen D’Aquilante, owner of Swan Caterers, located on Water Street. “It’s prestigious for South Philadelphia… it’s something to be proud of.”
First conceived as an idea on a napkin in Venuto’s, a bar off of Oregon Avenue in South Philadelphia, the magazine and its concepts have come a long way. The sisters, who have dedicated their livelihood to the magazine, have developed a team, both working for the magazine as well as promoting it. Today, to assist the women are a team of contributing writers, who spotlight different businesses every issue, as well as photographers. The art director helps pull the final product together.
A group of interns, led by Internship Coordinator and Temple senior Lauren Gordon, has created a blog for the magazine, which incorporates stories from all over the city.