Northern Liberties: Girard Avenue Batting Cages a Home Run

A selections of bats for hitters leaned against the middle cage.
Retrofitting the former silent movie theater to accommodate batting cages took about three months.

It’s the first business of its kind in Philadelphia. This former home to the Sixth Street Farmers Market, a silent film theater and a scratch-and-dent appliance store, has been transformed into an indoor, three-stall automatic batting cage offering hitters anything from slow-pitch softball to fast-pitch baseball. Everybody Hits, which opened on May 4th, at 529 West Girard Avenue.

“I was a baseball player and a softball player on three different teams and my teammates were always looking for ways to go to batting cages,” Everybody Hits owner David Gavigan said. “We realized pretty quickly that the closest convenient batting cage was in New Jersey.”

Aside from his love for baseball and the lack of batting facilities nearby, Gavigan’s inspiration to open an indoor batting cage in the city came from observing and spending time in the area now home to his business.

May 4th was opening day at Everybody Hits.
May 4th was opening day at Everybody Hits.

“I’ve been living in South Philly and coming up to Fishtown to hang out with friends and noticed a lot of empty warehouse spaces around. The idea got planted because I grew up playing baseball in these indoor batting cages.”

The idea has been a long time coming for Gavigan, who wrote a business plan three years ago, worked with the small businessĀ development center at Temple University to finalize it and then presented it to the South Kensington Community Partners. Even after composing a strong business plan and garnering community support, Gavigan faced the challenge of finding the right space for his batting cages. Acquiring a piece of real estate that met the business’s unique requirements was no easy task.

“I looked at maybe 20 different places before this one. The history behind this place was kind of a bonus. I was just excited that it had the right ceiling height and dimensions to be a batting cage.”

Once Gavigan found the space, he enlisted friends to help him retrofit the venue for its new purpose. After three months of renovations, Everybody Hits, complete with concessions, a pinball machine and picnic tables for spectators, was ready for business. Though it opened less than two months ago, the business’s target market has responded quite well.

A selections of bats for hitters leaned against the middle cage.
A selections of bats for hitters leaned against the middle cage.

“I get a lot of kids coming in here after school as well as teams from the neighborhood. I also have a lot of parents coming from South Philly, Center City, Fairmount and the Northeast.”

Everybody Hits is open to the public from noon to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Sundays. Facility rentals and hourly single-cage rentals are available by appointment, with special discounts available for team rentals.