‘Twas the season to be jolly (and still is). With that in mind, members of the South Street West Business Association (SSWBA) celebrated their annual Christmas Party recently December 21st.
And they celebrated the SSWBA in proper style: by hosting it at one of the businesses that belongs to the association, the Fiso Lounge, at 1439 South Street. So, of course, the party’s buffet style fare was provided by local eateries such as Govinda’s Gourmet Vegetarian, as well as the soon-to-open Sweet Freedom Bakery, among others.
In the midst of celebrating the year’s end, members like President Jessie Frisby, of Jessie’s Herbal Essence; Vice President Jack Prince of Bob and Barbara’s; Jim Campbell, of Campbell Thomas & Co, Architects; Jamaican Jerk Hut owner, Lisa Wilson; Haryasva Dasa, owner of Govinda’s Café; as well as 30th Ward Leader Marcia Wilcoff and active SSWBA member Eve Lewis, looked forward to positive developments along the corridor. They also took note of improvements the business corridor still needs to make.
Among the accomplishments the SSWBA looks forward to are the opening of at least three new businesses in 2010: the Jet Wine Bar along the 1500 block, a Walgreen’s at the 1900 block, and the Vegan Bakery along the 1400 block.
The Vegan Bakery, which will be run Alison Lubert and Heather Esposito, will serve sweets that are not only free of gluten, eggs and corn syrup, but are also made with soy and unrefined sugar.
"It will be a nice resource for people with a sweet tooth but who can’t eat traditional sweets due to food allergies," explained Lubert.
Both Lubert and Esposito suffer from said food allergies. Both, having earned Masters degrees in Counseling, have a history of wanting to help those in need. Esposito also has certification in nutrition.
"We’re determined to make products as good as the regular stuff, if not better," Lubert added.
Augmenting the corridor’s retail life remains a constant goal for SSWBA.
"For the new year we are all looking forward to the return of a better economy," said Jim Campbell, in the hope that this will help revive business. And then there’s "the reopening of the South Street Bridge next fall," Campbell added.
"People don’t even realize how much the bridge has impacted business along South Street," interjected Eve Lewis. According to Lewis, at least three businesses have closed as a result of the bridge closure. They include: The cleaners on 17th Street, the Haberdasher Shop also on the 1700 block, as well as Perry’s on the 2100 block.
"There needs to be more development between the 1900 and 2100 block to make the corridor more cohesive," Lewis continued, in reference to the fact that she thinks the western end of South Street West and its eastern frontier (which doesn’t extend below 13th St.) aren’t adequately connected in their goals and overall objectives.
SSWBA needs to allocate the funds, "to hire a corridor manager," continued Lewis, noting the success Passyunk Avenue has enjoyed since hiring one.
But Lewis hopes that the opening of Walgreen’s on the 1900 block will help provide the corridor with an anchor between its two bustling ends.
For more information on South Street West, www.sswba.org or 215-735-0458.