Post-recession revitalization of Brewerytown has been on the rise, and Meg Hagele, owner of Mt. Airy’s High Point Café, is set to open a new location of her coffee shop on 28th Street and Girard Avenue.
“I think that is what’s a really exciting opportunity for these kinds of commercial corridors that have sort of gone fallow over the last 40 or 50 years. As people have gotten busier and as neighborhoods change, there is excitement in bringing [the people] back and serving the community that we’re in,” said Hagele.
Hagele stated the community is what makes her local business.
“For me, that’s what it’s about. For me, the people that walk in the door are why we’re here,” said Hagele.
High Point Café is not the only new business to move to Girard. Rye Brew, Shifty Tacos, Philly Salvage and a new record store have all made their way to the area as well.
But not all local businesses have found luck in the neighborhood. Mugshots recently left the location High Point Cafe will be moving into due to a lack of foot traffic on the street.
“It was marginally profitable. With new competition and sales down 20 percent from the year before, I wasn’t seeing evidence of ‘revitalization’ in the form of increased foot traffic from our target demographic,” said Angela Vendetti of Mugshots.
Developers MM Partners and Westrum Development Company hope to bring increased foot traffic and consumer residents to the community.
“Our focus has always been in the first-time to moderate-priced homes that are affordable, but not ‘affordable housing,'” said John Westrum, CEO of Westrum Development Company.
Affordable, reliable businesses are drawn in because of the type of people moving in, according to Westrum. “New residents are coming who will demand that type of a product.”
MM Partners, a community focused, smaller development company working in Brewerytown, aims to find businesses that the entire neighborhood can enjoy.
“Who doesn’t like three tacos for five dollars? Or a thing of soup or any kind of meal for five or six bucks?” said Aaron Smith, a partner of MM Partners. “That’s really our goal: to make sure everyone can utilize West Girard Avenue. It’s a beautiful commercial strip.”
Westrum agrees that the area is not only beautiful, but perfectly situated in the city. “The Brewerytown area is significantly undervalued from other parts of the city based on its proximity,” said Westrum. “When the momentum changes, it will have incredible growth potential in value.”
Another goal of MM Partners to preserve the great neighborhood foundation that already exists in Brewerytown.
“We would really prefer to see the people who have lived here for a long time to stay here. We don’t want to change the community at all,” said Smith, “we want to preserve the community.”
High Point Cafe’s Brewerytown location will be open to the public beginning on Dec. 1 at 7 a.m.