Lower Lancaster Avenue: Five Young Businesses Thriving in the Growing Commercial District
Lower Lancaster Avenue has attracted many new businesses in recent years as revitalization projects have inspired business owners to open up shop. The commercial corridor, which spans from approximately 37th Street to 44th Street, had been barren until the area received funding in order to give life into one of Philadelphia’s historical shopping districts.
Styles Inspired by Marc
Barber shop Styles Inspired by Marc opened up on November 2013 after owner Marcus Williams relocated from Delaware County. Williams made the move to Philadelphia to expand his business and surround himself with the art scene. His primary clientele since opening has been local residents and college students.
Reed’s Coffee & Tea House
Turning only two years old in March, Reed’s Coffee and Tea House has already become a staple of the community. The small cafe offers an assortment of pastries and sandwiches, all homemade by owners George and Kathleen Reed. Nothing in the store costs more than $5 and the couple says it’s important that everything in the cafe is affordable for the students and local residents they serve.
Wolf Cycles, the sister shop to Firehouse Bikes on Baltimore Avenue, is one of the longest operating bike shops in Philadelphia, with documents dating back to 1940. The shop was shut down due to the slower business in January but was reopened on February 4th. Aside from selling and repairing bikes, Wolf Cycles also hosts music events on the second floor, and even has a small metal shop in the basement.
TaxTime Financial Café
TaxTime Financial Café is run by Soncera LaMar and has been open on Lancaster Avenue since December of 2013. The business moved from its location on South Street, where it had been located for ten years, when her landlord lost the building to bankruptcy. According to LaMar, the relocation has not slowed business and her longtime clients remain loyal customers. LaMar opened the business as a café so that she could cook for her clients while also delivering financial help all year round. Among her favorite dishes to cook for clients are shrimp and grits and buffalo wings.
A Part of Me
A Part of Me , which opened in November of 2011, is both a consignment shop and a boutique of hand-crafted clothing and accessories. Owner Phyllis Jones-Carter purchases most of her store items from local residents and caters her inventory towards customers who frequent the store. The small shop also hosts regular meetings with the surrounding small businesses in order to strengthen the community in the growing commercial district.
– Text and Images by Katelynn Luczkow and Milena Corredor