Neighborhood News

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 Business Info Session: Activate Your Storefront, Wednesday, Sept. 20

Germantown United CDC’s next Germantown Business Info Session, organized in partnership with The Business Center, will be held on Wednesday, September 20 from 8 a.m. – 10 a.m. at the Germantown Life Enrichment Center, located at 5722 Greene Street (across from Vernon Park). Start your day with us! Refreshments will be provided.

Meeting Topic

Activate Your Storefront, and Use Marketing & Social Media to Increase Business
Learn about the storefront improvement program and resources available to Germantown businesses to make façade renovations, and get tips on representing your business online.

Who can attend?

Anyone who owns a local business, or is interested in opening a business in Germantown is welcome to attend. This program is FREE. To RSVP call Germantown United CDC at 215-856-4303 or email edoley@germantownunitedcdc.org.

About the series

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. 


First Niagara Foundation color logo

GU’s Germantown Business Info Session series is made possible with support from First Niagara Foundation.

Power Up Your Business

Germantown United CDC is partnering with the Community College of Philadelphia and a diverse and collaborative team working to support the micro-businesses and small companies in Philadelphia.

The Power Up Your Business program has two levels of participation for entrepreneurs:

  • The Storefront Series includes free workshops on topics such as financial management, capital and credit, marketing, and other areas to help small businesses stabilize and grow their business.
  • The Peer-Based Learning Experience is a free 10-week 30-hour cohort based small business boot camp that provides training and coaching support. These programs will rotate to each of our regional centers and main campus throughout the year, targeting businesses in the commercial corridors.

In collaboration with Power Up, Germantown United CDC will host an exclusive Power Up information session in Germantown this fall for existing small business owners. Date TBD. Stay tuned! Learn more about Power Up Your Business programming >> 

Germantown Business Info Session: How to Define Your Target Market

Germantown United CDC’s next Germantown Business Info Session, organized in partnership with The Business Center, will be held on Wednesday, July 19 from 8 a.m. – 10 a.m. at the Germantown Life Enrichment Center, located at 5722 Greene Street (across from Vernon Park). Start your day with us! Refreshments will be provided.

Meeting Topic

How to Define Your Target Market
Who are your customers in Germantown? Learn about the consumers living and shopping in Germantown, and define the target market for your business.

SPEAKERS: Rojer Kern, Philadelphia Department of Commerce; and Meg Sowell, Real Estate Strategies, Inc.*

***Germantown United CDC has been working with Real Estate Strategies, Inc. (RES) to conduct a market study and develop a revitalization strategy for the Chelten Avenue commercial corridor in Germantown. The purpose and objectives of this study are to explore opportunities to strengthen and diversify the mix of commercial uses in the corridor, the potential to reuse vacant or underutilized properties, business and job attraction strategies, and available sources of funding to support recommended revitalization strategies. At the Business Info Session on July 19, Meg Sowell will speak about her findings thus far.

Who can attend?

Anyone who owns a local business, or is interested in opening a business in Germantown is welcome to attend. This program is FREE. To RSVP call Germantown United CDC at 215-856-4303 or email edoley@germantownunitedcdc.org.

About the series

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. 


First Niagara Foundation color logo

GU’s Germantown Business Info Session series is made possible with support from First Niagara Foundation.

Germantown Second Saturday Festival is Saturday, July 8, 2017, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Facebook-Cover-Photo-Germantown-Festival

Germantown Second Saturday Festival is Saturday, July 8, 2017 from 12 p.m. – 5 p.m. 
Eat, Shop, Play, Learn & Experience Germantown!
Presented by Historic Germantown & Germantown United CDC

Germantown, Philadelphia, PA – The Germantown Second Saturday Festival will be held on Saturday, July 8, 2017 from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. in Northwest Philadelphia’s Germantown neighborhood. The festival will take place along a one-block stretch of Germantown Avenue, between School House Lane and Coulter Street, and surround Market Square Park (5501 Germantown Avenue). Rain or shine. (Event rescheduled from previous date of May 13 due to weather.)

The community festival, presented by Historic Germantown and Germantown United Community Development Corporation, invites the public to experience Germantown. The festival celebrates the kick-off the Second Saturday series–when all 16 Historic Germantown sites are open monthly–and showcases the many thriving cultural, civic, and business attractions and activities that make Germantown an exciting place to live and visit.

Scenes from the 2016 Germantown Second Saturday Festival.

Performance

Throughout the day, musicians, poets, and creative performing artists will take to the main stage on Germantown Avenue.

The headlining performance by The Universal African Dance & Drum Ensemble will close out the event with an hour-long show. The troupe is sensational and electrifying, and features amazing stilt walkers, dancers, drummers, and ground masquerades with an exciting acrobatic performance. The Universal African Dance & Drum Ensemble represents the beauty of African culture and is considered one of the best of its kind by scholars and African Djelis (historians).

Musical talent includes popular local artists: Danie Ocean BandJim and Andrew Dragoni, and many others. Germantown resident Yolanda Wisher, the City of Philadelphia’s Poet Laureate, will host the festivities.

Pictured: 1. Yolanda Wisher, City of Philadelphia’s Poet Laureate
(Photo by Jill Saull); 2. & 3. The Universal African Dance & Drum Ensemble; 4. Jim Dragoni; 5. Twin Poets Nnamdi Chukwuocha & Albert Mills (Photo by Cylinda McCloud-Keal); 6. Wissahickon Dance School (Photo by Jill Saull).

Thank You to Our Amazing Lineup!

  • Yolanda Wisher, Host, City of Philadelphia’s Poet Laureate
  • Universal African Dance and Drum Ensemble, Headliner
  • Danie Ocean and Band (neo soul singer/songwriter)
  • Jim and Andrew Dragoni (guitar & percussion organ)
  • The Twin Poets (Nnamdi Chukwuocha & Albert Mills, Delaware’s Poet Laureate)
  • Wissahickon Dance Academy (dance performance)
  • Karen Smith and Friends (percussionist)
  • The Tia McNeil Band (R&B)
  • The Kama-Sahlor Group (hip/hop & modern inspirational dance)
  • Bria Jordan (youth poet)
  • And more!

Family Fun

The family-friendly Festival will also feature a Kid Zone with moon bounce, face painting, and many art-fueled interactive activities. The Germantown Artists Roundtable will invite festival-goers to create a work of art they can take home at the Imagination Station. The Free Library of Philadelphia’s Techmobile will be on-site with books and lots of learning opportunities.

History

Visitors will learn about Historic Germantown’s 16 extraordinary historic houses, destinations, and museums, including Awbury Arboretum, Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion, Grumblethrope, and Wyck.

The two sites located within the festival grounds, the Germantown Historical Society and Deshler-Morris House (The Germantown Whitehouse), will be open for tours. At the Historical Society, visitors can view the Elephants on the Avenue Gallery Show featuring work by Sonia Sanchez, Barbara Bullock, Benjamin Volta, Yolanda Wisher, Diane Pieri, Ife Nii Owoo and local community members. Learn more at freedomsbackyard.com.

PRESIDENT GEORGE WASHINGTON lived here twice, to seek refuge from the 1793 Yellow Fever epidemic in Philadelphia and as a summer retreat for the First Family in 1794. This National Park Service site also interprets over three centuries of Germantown history, the 1777 Battle of Germantown and former owners of this historic house, including the Morris family.

Eat + Shop

Over 25 vendors will participate in the Art & Craft Vendor Marketplace, coordinated by Germantown United CDC. Local eateries and visiting food trucks including Uptown BBQ Grill, Sweet Lavender, Hardy Funnel Cakes, and The Lunchbox will be serving up good eats. Attendees can also get to know many of Germantown’s civic and community organizations, including Friends of Vernon Park, Germantown Life Enrichment Center, and others.

This is the second year Germantown United CDC and Historic Germantown have partnered on the Festival to bring renewed attention and interest to a little-used neighborhood park and public space, and kick-off Historic Germantown’s monthly Second Saturday series.

The festival will be held rain or shine!

Festival Parking, Public Transit, and Road Closures

The festival is accessible by SEPTA. Bus Routes: 23 Bus, XH Bus; Chestnut Hill East Regional Rail: Germantown Station (150 E Chelten Ave). Visit http://www.septa.org for schedules.

Street parking is available near the festival grounds.

Limited free off-street parking is also available. Festival parking is permissible at the Citizens Bank Lot at 5500 Germantown Ave (enter from W School House Ln).

Road closures: Germantown Avenue between School House Lane & Coulter Street, and the unit block of E Church Lane will be closed to all traffic from 7 a.m.  – 7 p.m.

About

Historic Germantown
Historic Germantown is a partnership organization serving historic sites in Philadelphia’s Old German Township that works collaboratively to preserve its extraordinary historic assets, increase access, interpret them to the public and raise their visibility. Learn more at freedomsbackyard.com.

Germantown United CDC
The mission of Germantown United Community Development Corporation (GUCDC) is to promote and facilitate the revitalization of the business corridors in the Germantown neighborhood of Northwest Philadelphia through a sustainable, creative, and community-driven approach to economic development. Learn more at http://germantownunitedcdc.org.

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Press Contacts

To request interviews and high-resolution photos, please contact:

Emaleigh Doley, Commercial Corridor Manager, Germantown United CDC
215-856-4303, edoley@germantownunitedcdc.org  

Trapeta MaysonExecutive Director, Historic Germantown
215-844-1683, Ext. 101, tmayson@freedomsbackyard.com


Thank you to our generous sponsors!

Germantown Special Services District
Kurtz Construction Company
Univest
Germantown Friends School
Nolan Painting
Germantown United CDC is receives year-round support by:
Philly Office Retail, Post Brothers Apartments, Harvest Equities, Bracken Leadership, Elfant Wissahickon Realtors, Berkshire Hathahway-Lorretta Witt, Pik-A-Panel True Value Hardware,  Germantown Friends School, David Hamme, and the Drumcliff Foundation. Thanks also to PNC Regional Foundation, Allen Hilles Fund, 1772 Foundation, Philadelphia Activities Fund, Wells Fargo Corporate Foundation, Key Bank, and City of Philadelphia Department of Commerce

Germantown In the News: June 2017 Recap

newsboyGermantown 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.

Suggested reading

Important Weather Update About Germantown Second Saturday Festival May 13

Due to inclement weather, all outdoor components of the Germantown Second Saturday Festival, originally scheduled for Saturday, May 13 from 12pm – 5pm, will be postponed.

The indoor components of the festival are on as planned. An updated schedule is included below. The outdoor festivities, including Live Music & Performance, Art & Craft Vendor Marketplace, Kid Zone, and Food Trucks, will be rescheduled for Saturday, July 8 from 12pm – 5pm. Stay tuned for updated information about the rescheduled events.


Programs on as planned:

This Saturday, May 13, 2017, our event partner Historic Germantown invites you to experience the following indoor activities at the Germantown Historical Society (5501 Germantown Ave), starting at 10am.
  • 10am – 1pm Petitions and Social Justice with Artist Ben Volta
    Elephants on the Avenue artist Ben Volta returns for his second workshop and the final workshop of the Art, History and Engagement series, Petitions for Social Justice and Change, to take place at Historic Germantown. In this workshop neighbors will be introduced to the 1688 Petition against slavery. Register and learn more >>
  • 1pm – 3pm Elephants on the Avenue Gallery Show Opening Reception
    Artwork created over the 18 months of Historic Germantown’s Pew Center for Arts and Heritage project, Elephants on the Avenue will be on display in our gallery. View tunnel books, fans, haiku poetry and other pieces created around the topics of race, class, and community in Historic Germantown. This special exhibit, curated by Renny Molenaar, features commissioned work by Visual Artists Ife Nii Owoo, Diane Pieri, Barbara Bullock and Benjamin Volta and Poets Sonia Sanchez and Yolanda Wisher and by community members. Register and learn more >>

Tours:

Both historical attractions located within the festival grounds, the Germantown Historical Society and Deshler-Morris House (The Germantown Whitehouse), will be open for tours.

Trolley Tours 

Hop aboard a vintage trolley and discover the neighbor’s fascinating history. The adventurous can board free bus tours to other Historic Germantown sites, led by Historic Germantown’s Elephants on the Avenue project historians Abigail Perkiss and Molefi Asante, departing from the Germantown Historical Society (5501 Germantown Ave).

  • 1 p.m. Ride on Bus Tour of Historic Attractions
    This tour will only drive by the historic sites. Visitors will not leave the bus. Register in advance >>
  • 2:30 p.m. On & Off Bus Tour of Historic Attractions
    Visitors will tour Germantown and leave the bus at two stops. Register in advance >>

Announcing the 2017 “Pillar of the Community” Award Recipients

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 >>

About the Award Recipients

Suzanne Quinn
Bargain Thrift Center

“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)
Open Monday-Saturday
10:00am-5:45pm
p: 215.849.3225

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)
Open Wednesday-Saturday
10:00am-5:00pm
p: 215.843.1300

What you’ll find here: All clothing, accessories, small housewares, and bric-a-brac for $1 per piece or less.


Reverend Chester Williams
Chew and Belfield Neighbors Club

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.


Celebrate with us.

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 Business Info Session: Creative Ways of Financing Your Business, Wednesday, March 15

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.

Meeting Topic

Creative Ways of Financing Your Business
A panel of experts will discuss various ways of financing your business, using loans, equity, and grants.

Panelists

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

Moderator:

Bill Dorsey, The Business Center

Who can attend?

Anyone who owns a local business, or is interested in opening a business in Germantown is welcome to attend. This program is FREE.

To RSVP call (215) 247-2473 ext. 3 or email education@thebizctr.com & info@germantownunitedcdc.org.

About the series

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.


First Niagara Foundation color logo

GU’s Germantown Business Info Session series is made possible with support from First Niagara Foundation.