Fairhill: Asian Business Struggles on El Centro de Oro

Molly Chen of Sylvan Professional Nails is an Asian business operating in a Hispanic business development district.
Molly Chen filed paperwork at Sylvan Professional Nails, an Asian business operating in a Hispanic business development district.

The Sylvan Professional Nails salon, located on the 2900 block of North Fifth Street, is an anomaly in the Fairhill neighborhood.

Located on the commercialized El Centro de Oro, the center of Philadelphia’s Hispanic community, is the salon and an Asian-owned business, which opened a mere two months ago.

The business keeps its doors propped open, letting the loud ethnic music from the streets waft into the empty salon, a stark contrast from the vibrant scene outside.

The Hispanic Association of Contractors and Enterprises designated the area of Fifth Street where Sylvan is located as a center of economic development for the neighborhood which, according to their neighborhood development plan, wished to create a “stronger Hispanic identity.”

The street was to be the “primary Latino commercial corridor in Philadelphia.” On this Latino commercial corridor is Sylvan Professional Nails, an Asian-owned business, which has failed to receive the business of the local community.

According to the U.S. Census, 7.8 percent of businesses in the city of Philadelphia are Hispanic-owned, while 9.6 percent of businesses are Asian-owned.

Contrary to HACE’s goals, salon employee Molly Chen said there have been few new businesses in the area, and business has been slow.


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