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Whether store owners invest in a total makeover or a fresh coat of paint to improve their storefront facades, good design is good business. That was the overarching theme of the Citywide Storefront Challenge awards celebration hosted by the City of Philadelphia's Commerce Department and the Community Design Collaborative on October 10 to recognize great examples of how Philadelphia businesses are adding to the appeal of their storefront facades.
Even small projects can have a big impact on a merchant’s profits. “Some of the construction is quite substantial but, as many of the awards demonstrate, transformations do not always require substantial costs,” said Jonathan Snyder, manager of the Storefront Improvement Program for the Commerce Department, pointing to small businesses who had transformed their facades with paint, recycled materials, or container gardens.
In a show of imagination and resourcefulness, award recipients added signature signs and adornments, played up hidden historic details, re-opened window sealed during tougher times, and expanded the boundaries of reawakening neighborhood commercial corridors. More than 60 contenders were nominated by customers, corridor managers, community groups, contractors, designers, and businesses, representing over $1 million in façade improvements. Read more in Eyes on the Street and Generocity.
The Citywide Storefront Challenge is part of an ongoing partnership between the City of Philadelphia Commerce Department and the Community Design Collaborative to promote reinvestment in commercial corridors—the backbone of most neighborhoods—and to show the connection between strong design and successful neighborhood business development.
The bi-annual Challenge is open to any business or store owner who has successfully completed a storefront façade improvement project and can demonstrate the "before and after" effects of their investment. Many of this year's projects were leveraged through grants from the The Merchants Fund and City of Philadelphia’s Storefront Improvement Program. A recent survey by the Commerce Department indicates that 85% of SIP grant recipients saw an increase in customer visits, 79% saw an increase in sales, and 53% increased their workforces following reinvestment in their storefronts.
Bang for the Buck Award—Little Baby’s Ice Cream, 2311 Frankford Avenue Honorable Mention--Community Bikes and Boards, 712 South Street
Honor the Past Award—Manakeesh Café Bakery, 4520 Walnut Street Honorable Mention—Shenor Collection, 6511 Germantown Avenue
Protect to Perfection Award—Silk City Diner, 435 Spring Garden Street Honorable Mention—Buckminster Green, 428 W. Hewson Street
Creative DeSign Award—American Sardine Bar, 1801 Federal Street Honorable Mention—Fabric Horse, 1737 E. Passyunk Avenue
Up Against the Wall Award—Magpie Artisan Pie Shop, 1622 South Street Honorable Mention—Rue 52, 503 S. 52nd Street
Green with Envy Award (tie)—YIKES, Inc, 204-206 East Girard Avenue, and Adorn Boutique, 1314 Frankford Avenue
Window Display Award—Bicycle Revolutions, 756 South Fourth Street Honorable Mention—CRED Magazine, 325 South Street
Nightlife Award—Tria Wine Room, 3131 Walnut Street Honorable Mention—Ubar, 1220 Locust Street
Extreme Makeover Award—Askum, 4630 Baltimore Avenue Honorable Mention (tie)—Guacamole, 4612 Woodland Avenue, and The Cambridge, 1508 South Street
Corridor Catalyst Award—Jet Wine Bar, 1525 South Street Honorable Mention—The Pickled Heron, 2218 Frankford Avenue
Corridor Catalyst Group Award—52nd St. Business Development Corporation, 52nd Street between Market Street and Walnut Street
Painted Ladies Award (tie)—Virgin Hair Boudoir, 3874 Lancaster Avenue, and Reed’s Coffee and Tea House, 3802 Lancaster Avenue
Pardon Our Appearance Award—Shake Shack, 2000 Sansom Street
Overall Best Award—Frankford Hall, 1210-22 Frankford Avenue Honorable Mention—South Philly Comics, 1840 E. Passyunk Avenue