As part of her reporting for Philadelphia Neighborhoods and PlanPhilly Alyssa Saylor checked in with a few new businesses along West Girard Avenue that are hoping to see a revived retail environment along this busy street.
A recent spike in the opening of local businesses and small shops has had Girard Avenue looking a bit different lately. On Girard Avenue, specifically between Sixth and Front streets, a handful of businesses have recently been added to the stretch, bringing more shoppers and community members to the area.
One local businesswoman, Jennifer Waszak, opened her boutique, Once Wed Again in February. Once Wed Again is a shop, located at 219 W. Girard Ave., dedicated to selling new and gently used wedding gowns, as well as wedding accessories and more.
Waszak said, “I started my business here because I’m trying to change the life of Girard. It needs a lot of work.
“People have the perception that Girard Avenue has been more focused on restaurants and bars. I think that more retail shops need to be embraced. Now that more shops have opened up, I get more people walking by, more local people,” said Waszak.
Longtime business owner George Ofidis, of George’s Pizza, agreed with Waszak that more shops have been sprouting up along Girard.
“I’ve been here for so many years now, it seems like Girard is having a lot more businesses coming in and opening up. Not just bars or restaurants, but places for people to shop and buy. It’s all over Girard, even further down toward the Fishtown area,” said Ofidis.
Some organizations in the past have tried to initiate what is now going on along Girard Avenue..
“Girard still has a long battle of challenges, but it’s definitely becoming more commercialized, and that’s great for the community. More development along Girard would be great for all the rest of the local businesses along here as well. More money in the community can really help build up Girard,” said Waszak.
Ofidis said he’s been seeing new customers come his way because of all the new traffic.
This spring Alyssa Saylor and Sara Khan are bringing Eyes on the Street and PlanPhilly dispatches from South Kensington as part of their work for Philadelphia Neighborhoods, a publication of Temple’s Multimedia Reporting Lab. PlanPhilly is a Philadelphia Neighborhoods partner.