Originating in Philadelphia in 1910, the New York-style Bain’s Deli, has set up shop in downtown Wilmington.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held inside the deli at lunchtime Thursday, which is located on Market Street between 2nd and 3rd Streets, in what’s called the LOMA District.
“A lot of energy went into it, a lot of hard work and today, to me, it’s real. It really happened today. With the city here, and my neighbors, my storekeepers and customers – it’s an exciting day for us,” said General Manager Ken Friedman.
A native Delawarean, Friedman, who left the state for a little while to work in sales, is happy to be back home, and believes the up and coming LOMA district, short for Lower Market, will draw a strong lunchtime business.
“The LOMA, number one, this particular block – 200 block – is 100 percent occupied. People are drawn to it,” said Friedman. “It’s a fun section of town, and it does have a good draw and I see a good future in it.”
Bain’s Deli falls in Wilmington City Councilwoman Hanifa Shabazz’s district – a district that’s welcomed several new small businesses.
“Wilmington, the whole entire city, is just on the verge of revitalization. People are seeing what we’re trying to do and they’re putting their money where their mouth is,” Shabazz said.
“Downtown Wilmington has enjoyed tremendous growth over the last few months, with nearly a dozen new restaurants and retail shops opening for business,” said Wilmington Mayor Jim Baker.
But is the revitalization happening quickly enough to draw customers who will help keep these restaurants and businesses in the black? Councilwoman Shabazz says yes.
“Not only is there businesses growing, also but even our residential… So we’re in need of even more residential space because there’s a drive, and an interest and a passion for people to come and live in a vibrant, growing city. So it’s like a Catch-22. If you don’t have the services, then people are not gonna come. So we got the services, all our residential areas are full, or occupied, it’s definitely a win-win.”
Shabazz admits some naysayers have little faith in the downtown renaissance, but says, instead of criticizing, people need to be part of solution.
“The negativeness is not what’s gonna… make it happen,” said Shabazz. “You know, they need to come and be part of the revitalization and stop being what we call “haters.”