By John McDevitt
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Businesses and residents in a Northeast Philadelphia commercial corridor today were celebrating the renovation of 15 storefronts, done to attract more business to the Tacony neighborhood.
Aluminum siding stripped away, new stucco, fresh paint, and widows all replaced, De Nofa’s Italian Deli, on Torresdale Avenue near Disston Street, was the first business to go through the renovation.
The business has been there for 37 years. Owner Angie De Nofa says sales have increased since the work was completed about a year ago.
“A lot of the customers have come back and said, ‘Oh, we have found a gem hidden in Tacony!’ It makes you a little proud to be part of this whole operation.”
In the words of Tacony Community Development Corporation‘s executive director, Alex Balloon, “Good design translates to good business.”
“We were able to create a unique funding structure where the City of Philadelphia commerce department paid for half of the storefront project, we paid for 35 percent of it, and business owners paid for 15 percent,” he tells KYW Newsradio. “And we offered them complimentary technical assistance, including meeting with architectural specialists who could help translate their store into something that is inviting to potential customers.”
The organization says some of the owners who have made the improvements say business has increased as much as 20 percent.
The Tacony CDC has partnered with Waste Management of Pennsylvania to bring $850,000 over the next ten years to fund new neighborhood revitalization efforts.