Keep up with all things Germantown! We post resources and opportunities for local businesses and entrepreneurs, news about community-driven planning efforts and the equitable development of Germantown, and relevant programs and events for residents.
Germantown United CDC is pleased to announce the second annual recipients of the organization’s Pillar of the Community award are civic advocate Reverend Chester Williams of the Chew and Belfield Neighbors Club and business leader Suzanne Quinn of Bargain Thrift Center.
With this award Germantown United CDC acknowledges those among us who have significantly contributed to the betterment of our community. Rev. Chester Williams is a dedicated roll-up your sleeves guy doing everything from networking with politicos to tutoring adults, to cleaning up the neighborhood and running Chew and Belfield Neighbors Club. Bargain Thrift Center is a stalwart mainstay in our community, thanks to owner Suzanne Quinn. The second-hand shop opened in 1985, and remains one of Philadelphia’s favorite thrift stores. Bargain Thrift is a buzz with shoppers and activity day in and day out, and is an important and positive part of Germantown’s business community.
As dedicated and steadfast champions for Germantown the award recipients embody the values of GUCDC. Toast the honorees with us at For the Love Of Germantown! Fundraiser on Thursday, April 27th at Rittenhouse Soundworks. Tickets are now on sale >>
“I love being a part of such a tight knit, vibrant, and historic neighborhood. The best part of my job is the people, and I’m so grateful for the relationships I’ve developed over so many years with customers and staff.” – Suzanne Quinn
Born and raised in Philadelphia, Suzanne Quinn graduated from Temple University (1992) with BA in Economics & International Business. Her father, George Chase, opened his first resale business in Germantown in 1977. Quinn began working in the shop at Germantown Avenue & Queen Lane in 1985 during summer breaks. Suzanne is married (Bill) with two teenage daughters (Brooke and Devon).
As a family-owned business, the core tenants of Bargain Thrift Center are a sense of community and family. Bargain Thrift Center is a place where many of the staff know customers by name and where everyone is welcome to shop in a clean, comfortable atmosphere. Whether you’re looking to snag a unique piece of home decor, a great pair of name brand jeans, or just need a practical kitchen item, Bargain Thrift Center is your source for affordable, quality goods and hidden gems just waiting to be discovered. From the Premium Goods Pop-Up Shop, to the $1 or less clothing section at Bargain Thrift Warehouse Outlet, the store has something for everyone.
Stop by one of Quinn’s two retail locations on Germantown Avenue and see for yourself why Bargain Thrift Center continues to be one of Philadelphia’s leading thrift stores.
BARGAIN THRIFT CENTER
5261 Germantown Avenue (at Queen Lane)
What you’ll find here: Brand name clothing and accessories, jewelry, housewares, linens, toys, games, books, artwork, vintage and collectibles.
BARGAIN THRIFT OUTLET WAREHOUSE
4530 Germantown Avenue (at Berkley Street)
What you’ll find here: All clothing, accessories, small housewares, and bric-a-brac for $1 per piece or less.
Rev. Chester Harold Williams works tirelessly to help his community, located in the Northwest section of Philadelphia. While “pastoring” is his number one calling, Rev. Williams wears many hats. He has served for over 30 consecutive years as Block Captain for the 6200 Block of Chew Avenue in East Germantown. Established in 1981, Rev. Williams is Founder and President of the Chew and Belfield Neighbors Club, Inc., serves as the Committee Person representing constituents residing in the 59th Ward, 10th Division, and works on countless issues that impact his community. He partners with neighboring civic groups, and works diligently to get the voices of his homeowner and renting neighbors heard and their needs addressed.
Recent issues he has represented his community on include: the replacement of SEPTA’s ailing Chew Avenue Bridge (at Walnut Lane) and improved safety measures at the SEPTA’s Washington Lane Regional Train Station; flooding in area homes and streets; identifying greening opportunities in the neighborhood; job opportunities, including for ex-offenders; rallying the community about the dangers of drugs; promoting exercise thru Happy Hollow’s boxing program; working within the area’s business corridor; and helping the Homeless.
Rev. Williams was the 5th child of 10 children, born to Tal and Florence Williams. He was born on December 24, 1946 on an Army Base in Pittsburg, California. He became an Ordained Minister during his high school tenure. Respectfully known as Rev. Williams, he served his nation in the Vietnam War from 1967-1969 as a Combat Medic in the Big Red 1/18th Infantry of the United States Army. He received numerous medals, among them, the United States Purple Heart, and was honorably discharged. In 1970, shortly after his return home from the war, he was called to the position of Ruling Elder, under the direction of Bishop H.D Wilson, in Winston Salem, North Carolina. Rev. Williams worked the majority of his professional career as a Custodian and was later promoted to the position of Acting Supervisor of Mail Handlers for the U.S. Postal Service.
In serving both his nation and community, Rev. Williams has received numerous forms of recognition for acts of bravery, outstanding leadership, and community service.
Rev. Williams’ life Moto is, “You have not, because you ask not.”
He is on a continuous journey to better himself spiritually and encourages others to do the same. Rev. Williams is always concerned with spreading good news throughout his community. He considers himself simply as, “One crying in the wilderness, spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ.” He is the proud father of Bryan Williams and Dontay Williams, ages 26 and 22.
Join us at Germantown United CDC’s annual fundraiser For the Love of Germantown! on Thursday, April 27 from 6 – 9 p.m.
This year’s party will be held at Rittenhouse Soundworks (219 W Rittenhouse St), a hub for live music housed in a former Chrysler automotive shop turned recording studio. Come out and socialize with your neighbors and supporters of this artistic, historic, and diverse neighborhood, bid on one of a kind auction items, and enjoy good music, food, and cheer! Tickets are now on sale >>
Show your support for the Pillar of the Community participants.
Use Code: PILLAR to receive 33% off your ticket purchase.
Event registration is $75.00.
First-time attendee tickets available for $35.
Germantown United CDC’s next Germantown Business Info Session, organized in partnership with The Business Center, will be held on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 from 8am – 9:30am at the Germantown Life Enrichment Center, located at 5722 Greene Street (across from Vernon Park). Start your day with us! Refreshments will be provided.
Creative Ways of Financing Your Business
A panel of experts will discuss various ways of financing your business, using loans, equity, and grants.
Bill Hughes, Citizens Bank
Veronica Williamson, Santander Bank
Kelbin KC Carolina, Citadel Bank
Calvin Tucker, West Philadelphia Financial Services Institution
Solomon Wheeler, Small Business Administration
Bill Dorsey, The Business Center
Anyone who owns a local business, or is interested in opening a business in Germantown is welcome to attend. This program is FREE.
Germantown Business Info Sessions are held bi-monthly and feature invited speakers who give brief presentations about resources that can benefit local businesses, and updates on GUCDC’s work as it relates to the local business community. All sessions include time for attendees to network, ask questions, and talk with Germantown United CDC staff members.
Save the date: The next Germantown Business Info Sessions will be held on Wednesdays, May 17, July 19, September 20.
GU’s Germantown Business Info Session series is made possible with support from First Niagara Foundation.
Join us at For the Love of Germantown! on Thursday, April 27, 2017 at Rittenhouse Soundworks! Germantown United CDC’s annual fundraiser supports our important work promoting and facilitating the revitalization of Germantown’s business district through a sustainable, creative, and community-driven approach to economic development.
Get your tickets today, or learn about sponsorship. Info >>
Germantown is in the news! Germantown United CDC staff pick your must-reads of the month, with a focus on business, economic development, and neighborhood revitalization news.
The third annual Germantown Second Saturday Festival, presented by Historic Germantown and Germantown United CDC, will be held at Market Square Park on Saturday, May 13, 2017. We will be seeking performers, vendors and community organizations to table at the event.
Philadelphia is home to strong musical traditions like Jazz, Gospel, DooWop, R&B, Rock and Hiphop. Our greatest strength has been the unexpected and wonderful blending and swirling of these traditions into new and fascinating musical creations. One place where this magic happens is Germantown. This community in the Northwestern region of Philadelphia was and continues to be a neighborhood rich in culture, history and diverstity. Many renowned Philadelphia musicians, writers, visual artists, media makers and dancers grew up, or made their homes in Germantown.
In the Spring of 2016, Philadelphia Jazz Project began a collaboration with Germantown United Community Development Corporation (GUCDC) and a group of talented Germantown musicians. The task: To record and produce a compelling CD, as a fundraiser for GUCDC. The goal: To celebrate the historical cultural strength and diversity of Northwest Philadelphia’s Germantown community. The culminating album – entitled “For the Love of Germantown” – is a compilation of nine great Jazz, Blues and Soul performances of new and classic songs. Featured album artists include: Jim Dragoni, Bethlehem & Sad Patrick, Karen Smith, DM Hotep (David Middleton), Kunu Bi with Papa Ed Stokes & Tom Lowery, Mélange Jazz Collective with Bert Harris, Tony Williams & Dave Posmontier, Rob Henderson, and John Blake & Steve Giordano Duo.
‘Tis the season to shop small and buy local! Make a donation of $15 to Germantown United CDC to receive your very own copy. “For the Love of Germantown!” is another great way for you to support Germantown’s burgeoning arts scene, and Germantown United CDC’s creative and community driven approach to economic development.
The album, produced by Philadelphia Jazz Project’s Homer Jackson, was released on October 30, 2016 and celebrated with a live jam session and album release party at Germantown’s Rittenhouse Soundworks.
Philadelphia Jazz Project is a sponsored project of the Culture Trust | Greater Philadelphia, with funding provided by The Wyncote Foundation.
Get up, get out and #ShopSmall on November 26, the Saturday after Thanksgiving. It’s a special holiday created so communities can show love for small businesses like ours. And it wouldn’t be a celebration without customers like you visiting Germantown businesses! Celebrate Small Business Saturday with us!
Every year Germantown United CDC commissions longtime Germantown business Karen Singer Tileworks Inc. to design a commemorative tile featuring an iconic G’town building. So far, we’ve created tiles of Town Hall and the YWCA. This year we’re asking YOU to help us pick.
The buildings we’re considering include the historic Loudoun Mansion at 4650 Germantown Ave, Germantown High School at 40 High St, and Vernon House (Black Writer’s Museum) at 4800 Germantown Avenue in Vernon Park. Vote on which building you’d like to see made into a tile this year! One lucky voter will win a decorative tile. Vote online here.
This holiday season, Karen Singer Tilesworks will celebrate 25 years in business in Germantown with a celebratory party and seasonal sale on Friday, November 25th from 4 – 8 p.m. at the tile studio, located at 90 E Church Lane, Philadelphia, Pa. 19144. ‘Tis the season to shop small and buy local! Read on to learn more about Karen’s contributions to the Germantown community and support this independent business.
Celebrate with KST, 25 years of story telling through art tiles, murals, and donor walls. 25 years of helping non-profits create a visual representation of their mission, 25 years of giving back to the community of Germantown and Greater Northwest.
Karen has her studio and home in Germantown for 25 years and is going strong. She is not only of this Germantown community but she is fully engaged in it. As a former Pa Arts in Education Resident Karen has conducted workshops engaging students in the art making process and installed tiled murals in Houston Elementary, Kelly Elementary among others and done the same at Project Learn and Henry School pro bono as part of her ethic of giving back to the community.
She is part of the fundraising committee at Germantown United CDC creating an annual tile representing an aspect of Germantown history, as a fundraising incentive for those who donate a certain amount thereby helping sustain the good works of GUCDC.
Please join us November 25th from 4 – 8 p.m.
Karen Singer Tileworks
90 E Church Lane
Philadelphia, Pa. 19144
Germantown, Philadelphia, PA – This is Germantown Heart & Soul, a project of Germantown United Community Development Corporation (GUCDC) and Just Act, will host a series of community gatherings throughout Northwest Philadelphia’s Germantown neighborhood this winter beginning on November 19, 2016. The Germantown community is invited to participate in a unique interactive group storytelling experience. Unlike traditional civic meetings and town halls, the events – called Story Circles – use theater as a planning tool and center on capturing the wishes, needs, and ideas of residents as they share personal stories of meaningful experiences in Germantown and what they view as essential for growth of the neighborhood’s vibrant but struggling shopping district. A calendar of events is included below, with additional dates to be announced.
Story Circles will be facilitated by a multigenerational “Storytelling Engagement Team” comprised of Germantown residents, with support from the Just Act Ensemble. The collected stories will guide Germantown United CDC’s future work and plans for successful, community-responsive business corridor revitalization and contribute to efforts underway to make the central business district a people-centered main street destination for the Germantown community and visitors from outside the immediate neighborhood.
“This is Germantown Heart & Soul aims to create a shared sense of belonging that ultimately improves local decision-making and strengthens social, cultural, and economic vibrancy,” said Emaleigh Doley, Commercial Corridor Manager at Germantown United CDC. “Germantown is one of the city’s largest neighborhoods, with a population of 44,000. It’s important to recognize that the immediate needs of residents living in the Chew and Belfield area of East Germantown might differ from those in West Germantown’s Penn-Knox section, for example. That doesn’t mean the Eastside and the Westside have nothing in common. We also all share the business district.”
A core goal of the project is to connect both the formal and informal networks contributing to community improvement efforts and operating at the micro level – from block captains to Registered Community Organizations (RCOs) and neighborhood civics with limited boundaries.
“These story sharing events build upon an interest and commitment in helping communities adapt and implement positive changes based upon the vision and experiences of all community members and create new opportunities for residents and community stakeholders to meet in-person,” said Lisa Jo Epstein, Executive Director of Just Act.
This is Germantown Heart & Soul made its public debut in the spring of 2016 through a series of successful pop-up story booths held along the business district at a variety of spaces, from the bustling intersection of Germantown and Chelten Avenues to the annual Juneteenth Celebration, the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States, organized by the Johnson House Historic Site. The Story Engagement Team was formed in the summer and fall of 2016 and has been meeting regularly to train for and plan the upcoming Story Circles events. The Germantown Life Enrichment Center, a community-oriented recreational and educational facility in the heart of Germantown at 5722 Greene Street, generously donated meeting space for the team and is one of several This is Germantown Heart & Soul sponsoring organizations.
With the addition of the more intimate Story Circles series, This is Germantown Heart & Soul will:
The collected data will also become the highlight of “Community Cataloguing Data Jams” – events in January 2017 where participants will listen to transcripts of stories from their neighbors to collectively identify and catalogue shared visions for what the community values.
The current calendar of events is included below. Additional dates will be added. All Germantown residents and community stakeholders are invited. Events are open to the public. Food and refreshments will be provided, along with live music and good cheer. Attend one or attend them all. For an up-to-date program calendar visit facebook.com/thisisgermantownheartandsoul. Contact Germantown United CDC at 215-856-4303 or email@example.com.
Saturday, November 19 from 4 – 6 p.m.
Location: Providence Baptist Church, 87 E. Haines Street, Philadelphia, PA 19144
Sponsoring Community Organization: Providence Baptist Church
Monday, December 5 from 7 – 9 p.m.
Location: Awbury Arboreteum, 1 Awbury Rd, Philadelphia, PA 19138
Sponsoring Community Organization: Awbury Arboretum Neighbors, Chew and Belfield Neighbors Club, and Awbury Arboreteum
Tuesday, December 13 from 7 – 9 p.m.
Location: Germantown Mennonite Church, 21 W Washington Lane, Philadelphia, PA 19144
Sponsoring Community Organization: Pastorius Community Garden, Men Who Care of Germantown, Germantown Mennonite Church, and Germantown Mennonite Historic Trust
Germantown United Community Development Corporation (GUCDC) is a community-based nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote and facilitate the revitalization of the business district in the Germantown neighborhood of Northwest Philadelphia through a sustainable, creative, and community-driven approach to economic development. Vibrant commercial corridors or “Main Streets” contribute to strong neighborhoods. They provide a place to work, shop, and meet your neighbors. Through our Targeted Corridor Management Program contract with the city’s Commerce Department, Germantown United CDC provides assistance to businesses, brings planning and resources to the corridor, oversees activities to make the corridor clean and safe, and works to attract new businesses to the area. We are actively working to bolster and reinforce the vibrancy of the business district to meet the needs of the surrounding community and attract visitors from outside the immediate neighborhood. Germantown United CDC is also exploring opportunities to strengthen and diversify the mix of commercial uses in the business district, the potential to reuse vacant or underutilized properties, business and job attraction strategies, and available sources of funding to support recommended revitalization strategies.
Just Act is a distinctive hybrid of artistic and community engagement committed to social justice. Our Ensemble of artist-educators facilitate unique theatre-based programs with non-actors that activate and nurture meaningful dialogue, reflection, healing and action around complex, often divisive social issues. Just Act is committed to building and fortifying inclusive, restorative civic engagement through partnerships across sectors and differences. Informed by Theatre of the Oppressed and other art and activist strategies, our work is a creative catalyst for community activism and personal change. In all we undertake, Just Act renews and deepens the capacity of social change seekers and makers to stand up for justice on personal, inter-group and systemic levels with compassion and renewed courage. In these times of anxiety, bustle and disconnection, Just Act offers refreshing, participatory “refuel zones” to creatively pause and attend to tension and fractured relations – particularly around race, culture, and socio-economic disparities – to reweave connections and grow empathy, understanding and action plans.
Commercial Corridor Manager, Germantown United CDC
Lisa Jo Epstein
Executive Director, Just Act
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