Frankford Business and Professsional Association: Taking Care of Your Business

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Heather Hanowitz, PIDC, addresses the April 2016 meeting of the FBPA

Bob and I have been to the last two meetings of the Frankford Business and Professional Association (FBPA) and I have been duly impressed with the content and resources of the bi-monthly programs. This is an organization that is serious about business and yours in particular! The FBPA meets bimonthly at Aria Frankford and I expect they need to be thinking about larger space because the meetings are overflowing. Today’s economy is so volatile that I’m convinced we have to be able to create our own jobs and our children will, too! Thus, connecting with others and learning what resources are out there is critical to your success. The FBPA is “a membership-based coalition of stakeholders that strive to stimulate economic development and provide support to the local business community of Frankford”.1 Members are business owners, entrepreneurs (a growing group), community organizations (Keep the Faith in Frankford), the service industry, religious leaders and neighborhood residents. That’s quite a coalition! You fit in this group!

April’s meeting agenda:

  • A presentation by Heather Hanowitz, Vice President, Market Manager, Commercial Business for the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation, (PIDC), whose motto is “Driving growth to every corner of Philadelphia”. Well, we have a nice long stretch of avenue and we’re ready. There are workshops for legacy businesses – family businesses passing on to the next generation and working capital and equipment financing monies at relatively low interest rates – 6.25%. In 2014, PIDC reports that they financed area businesses with over $1 billion.
  • Alice G. Dungee-James, MCA, Assistant Director of the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) in Philadelphia explained how to do business with the City through contracts and bids for work and selling your goods and services. Do you know what the city spends and all the different types of materials and services they buy? There’s a good chance the city needs what you have and you want a piece of that pie!! To get started, here’s the link – and if you’re a woman, a minority or disabled, there is no registration fee. City Registration Process! Once you’re certified and registered, the City’s department refers to the this list for procurement purposes. Ms. Dungee-James was very informative and her contact information is on the registration link if you need help. Alice also gave us two tips:
    • Here’s the list of agencies that will certify your business. It pays to shop around, it was mentioned New Jersey charges $100.00
    • It’s important to know your NAICS code for your industry because procurement (buying) orders are based on that code. It’s a good idea to put that code on your business cards.
  • We also heard from Jonathan Synder, Senior Manager, Commercial Corridor regarding the Storefront Improvement Program. Jonathan was “pitch hitting” for Giana Lawrence who had a scheduling conflict. I was really impressed with the transformation of some of these buildings. The program will reimburse you up 50% for exterior improvements that you make up to $10,000 for a store front and $15,000 for multiple addresses or a corner store. Your property must be between 1200 – 3100 Frankford Ave. and 4000-5300 Frankford Ave. There is also an InStore Program that is a “loan forgiveness” plan loaning you the money for equipment and supplies to expand your existing business or adding another location. Their latest online application states 4000-5300 Frankford Avenue businesses are eligible. 6200-8500 Frankford Avenue in Mayfair is eligible, too, if you would like to pass that on. Several Avenue businesses have taken advantage of this program. Once you’ve decided to apply, you’re assigned a Relationship Manager who will walk you through the process. If you want to take advantage of these programs, don’t do any work until you’ve been approved for it. Giana’s contact information is on the website.
  • The new 15th Police District Captain, Anthony Luca, along with Officer Matt Crosson, Community Relations, and Officer Sean Kennelly, who just received a PDAC award for his work solving crimes with a focus on burglaries. There was much discussion regarding loitering that businesses much cope with, recent robberies at fast food restaurants. The Captain responded that if 911 calls are not getting responses after several calls, ask for a supervisor. I know that the city establishes a priority response system and what you are calling about might not demand the quickest response. So you’ll have to use your judgement. But this is good to know for the times that require immediate response and it’s not happening.
  • The FBPA is hosting a Spring Networking Mixer on May 19, 5:30 – 7:30 PM at the Historical Society of Frankford. For more information , contact Ileana Garcia at igarcia.fcdc@gmail.com
  • There will also be a 3 mile fun run fundraiser in October to benefit the Northeast Frankford Boys and Girls Club and avenue businesses. More details will be forthcoming.

These are terrific ways to increase your business and your profits. Wouldn’t it be better for you to be there in person hearing about it? Membership is $60 annually and we would love to see join!