East Falls businesses say economy is picking back up

After years of a slow economy, many business owners in East Falls feel like things are turning around.

Prince Johnakin and Kevin Bradley, owners of Schuylkill Falls Barbershop on the 4200 block of Ridge Avenue, said business for them has been steady.

“People are worried about their appearance and personal hygiene, they are concerned about what they look like,” Johnakin said.

They started their business about 12 years ago to address the lack of barber shops in the area. Johnakin said they are trying to give back to the community by providing quality service.

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They have old-style amenities like shoe shining along with classic barber chairs in a modern shop, he said. They get a lot of regulars, but recently have had an increase in walk-ins. His customers are still working, Johnakin said, and they still want their hair cut.

Jim Joyce, owner of Slices Pizza also located on the 4200 block of Ridge Avenue, said his business is still going strong. Much hasn’t changed, he still gets many college students and young to middle-aged clients. They did have to increase their delivery charge because of a rise in gas prices, but that’s the only change, Joyce said.

“Deliveries fell off a little bit, but not too bad. We raised the delivery charge from $1.50 to $2,” he added.

The owner of the Trolley Car Cafe, Ken Weinstein, which is located on the 3200 block of South Ferry Road, said business is on the rise.

“It has been a tough economy, obviously people have less to spend, but people are starting to spend again,” Weinstein said.

He added that small businesses are a good indication of the economy’s improvement. “It’s going to take a little to get back to where the economy was, but revenue is back up,” he said.

Jon Ristaino and Kailey Meitzler are students at Temple University. Philadelphia Neighborhoods, a NewsWorks content partner, is an initiative of the Temple Multimedia Urban Reporting Lab.

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