PlanPhilly

Storefront Challenge winners

At Eyes on the Street, we're suckers for a great storfront - from sleek contemporary design to revamped classics. The best storefronts catch your eye, add life to the streetscape, and are creative expressions of commerce. So it's with great pleasure that we show off the winners of this year's Storefront Challenge, hosted by the Community Design Collaborative and the Commerce Department.

Back in August EOTS helped spread the word about the contest, geared at showing off examples of recent storefront improvements that serve to strengthen our city's commercial corridors and promote local businesses. To be eligible for this year's awards, construction must have been completed since October 2010.

A panel of all-star design judges picked the winners from more than 60 nominees. Several of the city's resurgent commercial corridors - Frankford Avenue, South Street West, East Passyunk - were well represented among this year's honorees. The awards were handed out at a ceremony on Wednesday, held as part of DesignPhiladelphia.

And the Citywide Storefront Challenge winners are...

BANG FOR THE BUCK: Little Baby's Ice Cream, 2311 Frankford Avenue

Little Baby's won this category for their new storefront. They spent about $2,000 on facade renovations, making a big splash for a relatively low pricetag. Honorable mention went to Community Bikes and Boards.

  • Little Baby's Ice Cream - After

HONOR THE PAST: Manakeesh, 4520-22 Walnut Street

Manakeesh won for their storefront restoration of an historic bank building, which returned their large window opening to its original height, and added tasteful signage and entry awning. Honorable mention went to Shenor Collections.

  • Manakeesh - After


  • Manakeesh - Before renovation. | Google Street View

PROTECTION to PERFECTION: Silk City Diner, 5th and Spring Garden streets

Security grates are often not terribly creative, but the judges appreciated Silk City's creative take on their 5th Street driveway gate. Honorable mention went to Buckminster Green.

  • Silk City's grate - After


  • Silk City - Before

CREATIVE deSIGN: American Sardine Bar, 1801 Federal Street

American Sardine Bar has a fabulous projecting sign of an open sardine can over the corner of Federal and 18th streets. Honorable mention went to Passyunk's Fabric Horse.

  • American Sardine Bar - After


  • American Sardine Bar - Before | Google Street View

UP AGAINST THE WALL: Magpie, 1622 South Street

For best flat signage, South Street West newcomer, Magpie, won over judges with the large-scale placement of Magpie's round logo across the facade - doors, windows and all. Honorable Mention went to Rue 52 on 52nd Street.

  • Magpie - After

GREEN WITH ENVY: (tie) YIKES, 204-06 East Girard Avenue and Adorn, 1314 Frankford Avenue

YIKES, in a LEED certified building on East Girard, tied with Adorn on Frankford Avenue. Both are storefronts designed with sustainability in mind. [Corrected: Adorn was previously listed as an honorable mention.]

  • YIKES - After


  • YIKES - Before


  • Adorn - After


  • Adorn - Before

WINDOW DISPLAY: Bicycle Revolutions, 756 S. 4th Street

Bicycle Revolutions' large window decal earned it honors for best window display. Honorable mention goes to CRED Magazine's temporary space on South Street.

  • Bicycle Revolutions - After


  • Bicycle Revolutions - Before

NIGHTLIFE: Tria, 3131 Walnut Street

Tria's outpost in University City got high marks for their wood-walled terrace that activates the building's ground floor at night. Honorable mention goes to Ubar - the reimagined Uncle's at the corner of Locust and Camac.

  • Tria Wine Room - After


  • Tria - Before

EXTREME MAKEOVER: Aksum, 4630 Baltimore Avenue

Overall, the best total makeover was Aksum. Honorable mentions go to both Guacamole Mex-Grill and The Cambridge.

  • Aksum - After


  • Aksum - Before

CORRIDOR CATALYST: Jet Wine Bar, 1525 South Street (individual); 52nd Street Business Development Corporation (group)

Jet Wine Bar invested in the look of South Street West near Broad pretty early on, perhaps motivating others to follow suit recently. Honorable mention goes to The Pickled Heron in Fishtown. The 52nd Street Business Development Corporation earned honors as a group for changing the commercial corridor's overall look after the long sidewalk canopies along 52nd were removed.

  • Jet Wine Bar - After


  • Art of Beauty on 52nd Street - After

PAINTED LADIES: (tie) Virgin Hair Boutique and Reed's Coffee and Tea, 3800 block of Lancaster Avenue

Two of Lancaster Avenue's Victorian storefronts got creative paint jobs that really shine - Virgin Hair pops with orange and violet, while Reed's keeps a coffee and cream scheme.

  • Virgin Hair - After


  • Reed's Coffee - After

PARDON OUR APPEARANCE: Shake Shack, 2000 Sansom Street

During construction Shake Shack showed us how plain plywood could be dressed up.

  • Shake Shack's temporary green wall during construction.

BEST OVERALL: Frankford Hall, 1210-22 Frankford Avenue

The judges thought Frankford Hall had it all - it's been a catalytic presence on Frankford Avenue, adds great life after dark, and made the best out of a once-hostile facade. Runners up included: Tria Wine Room, The Cambridge, Locust Moon, Hipster Home, Will, and South Philly Comics.

  • Frankford Hall wins Best Overall.


  • Frankford Hall - Before


 

 

Photo credits: If not Street View, photos provided by the Community Design Collaborative.

About the author

Ashley Hahn, Contributor

Ashley Hahn is an independent writer with a background in historic preservation and city planning. She started Eyes on the Street for PlanPhilly in 2011 and was PlanPhilly's managing editor from 2015-2017. Ashley has lived in 12 zip codes that she can think of, including neighborhoods in Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, and New York. She is a Philadelphian by choice.

Contact Ashley via email or find her on twitter: @ashleyjhahn.



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