Many of the businesses along Torresdale Avenue are long-standing specialty shops that operate on a 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. business model. That might be fine for older shoppers, but for working families with young children, it simply will not work. “I’m working with those business owners to help them improve their business and to look for ways we can help grow business here in Tacony,” Balloon said.
The effort to strengthen Tacony business is an initiative called the Historic Tacony Revitalization Project
. One of the business owners that Balloon is working closely with is Mark Whited, the owner of Bull’s Eye Darts Supplies at 6917 Torresdale Ave
. Whited brought his business to Tacony four years ago after opening in Frankford in 1997.
“This is a great place to do business,” Whited said. “It’s convenient to Center City. It’s close to I-95 and New Jersey, so it’s easy to get to.”
Whited said he hopes the revitalization efforts will lead to improved business for himself, as well as his fellow business owners in Tacony. “If we improve the storefronts, maybe people will take a little more pride in the neighborhood,” Whited said. “Everyone seems to be excited about it and everyone seems to be cooperating and pulling together to make this thing work.”
Balloon cited design, counseling and promotion as the keys to the plan. Small business counseling is available through this effort, and the neighborhood is seeking to enhance promotion through initiatives like ShopTacony.com
and the Tacony Hoagie Trail
, which is a collaborative advertising campaign featuring three of Tacony’s best sandwich shops.
The Hoagie Trail is one example of the attitude of current business owners in Tacony. The main objective is not competition. It is for all businesses to work together to strengthen Torresdale Avenue.
Though Torresdale Avenue businesses are getting much-needed attention, other aspects of the neighborhood are just as important to the community's well-being.
Tacony Civic Association
Vice President Joseph Sannutti pointed to the seldom-referenced historical side of Tacony. “We are in the process of placing plates on the historical homes, while reaching out to the people who live in this area to let them know about the history of our neighborhood," Sannutti said. “We’re trying to bring people together to have value for our neighborhood." Sannutti also pointed to the goal of fostering a community that asks what the leadership can do for them and what they can do for Tacony.