The Commercial District Advisor (CDA), in partnership with the Local Initiative Support Corporation (LISC), is pleased to announce the winners of our first annual 'Best Chain on Main' competition!! Click here for the press release.
These businesses were selected by a nationally recognized judging panel for their successful business model and their contribution to commecial revitalization. Congratulations to all of our winners!
In the coming weeks we will be profiling the winners on a dedicated website sponsored by Retail Traffic, and interviewing the business owners. So stay tuned!
Second Place Winner: Pamela's P&G Diner
The judges were particularly impressed by the attention to interior and exterior design detail – each location is designed and themed to enhance neighborhood ambiance and contribute to neighborhood character. The judges also recognized Pamela’s P&G participation in local commercial revitalization activities.
“We are proud of our commitment to walk able Main Streets” says Gail Klingensmith, owner of Pamela’s P&G. “Wherever we locate a store, we always make sure to belong to the local business group. We take pride in the fact that our stores have become a destination on Pittsburgh’s urban Main Streets.”
“They have been great partners since they opened about six years ago. For our annual Art and Stroll event, they helped close the block and brought in a 50’s band” says Becky Rodgers, Executive Director of Neighbors in the Strip. Rodgers adds “they are always first in line when we ask for help, donations, support or sponsorship. We are so pleased to see them getting the recognition they deserve.”
Third Place Winner: The Fresh Grocer
The dearth of fresh food options in urban areas is well documented. Philadelphia-based independent grocer The Fresh Grocer is helping to fill that market gap. The Fresh Grocer has been targeting urban markets in the Philadelphia area since 2001 at University City at 40th and Walnut. Their stores have helped catalyze commercial revitalization activities in many of the markets where they locate.
Honorable mentions were awarded to Mugshots Coffee House and Café, a coffee shop with 3 locations in Philadelphia, PA, and Gothic Cabinet Craft, a furniture retailer with 33 locations in and around New York City.
Mugshots Coffee House and Café: The first Mugshots Coffee House and Café opened over 6 years ago. They now have three locations in the Philadelphia area. Their newest location on Girard Avenue in Brewerytown opened in November of 2009 with support from The Merchant Fund’s ReStore Retail Incentive Grant program, among other grant programs. Owner Angela Vendetti is a local resident with a deep personal interest in seeing the neighborhood revitalized. She notes that Girard Avenue is still a street in need of investment, and that retailers remain hesitant to open stores in the neighborhood. However, she noted that the arrival of Mugshots has helped stir local buzz. Since Mugshots opened, a day spa and pharmacy have opened, and restaurants are beginning to add to the retail mix.
The judges were impressed by the impeccably renovated façade featuring brick, ornamental metal, French doors, and large original plate glass windows. These details make the storefront stand out as a model façade improvement along the street. The interior also reflects the attention to design, with a focus on restoring the original plan oak flooring and other period details. “The store is a gem” says Patricia Blakely of The Merchant Fund, who provided funding for the façade. The judges also commend the owner for a standout, high quality investment in a low/moderate income neighborhood, and anticipate that this investment will spur other similar investments in the area.
The judges were impressed by Gothic’s willingness to locate in underserved outer borough markets, where their clean, attractive merchandise displays often stand out on otherwise visually cluttered streets. While there are other small, budget furniture stores near the Jackson Heights location, Gothic’s arrival in Jackson Heights has helped elevate the quality of furniture offerings in the district and has also created improved opportunities for window shopping.