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Vern, new owner of 1520 Arrott, former site of Primo’s Sports Bar, please contact the Frankford Civic Association

After much speculation and commenting on a few of our posts, the apparent new owner of 1520 Arrott Street has checked in with a comment.  According to “vern new property owner”:

it is unfare to judge me or wat im doing if u have not stopped to talk with me. That was the the past let it go this is a change for the good

There’s no signage posted on obvious renovating; if it’s going back to a bar, there’s no posting of the liquor license.  Vern, would you please check in with the Frankford Civic and let them know what’s going on with the building.  We’d all love to frankfly.  According to their webiste, you can reach them at and at (215) 821-9124.

It would also be awesome if you could check in with Jason Dawkins in Counselwoman Sanchez’s office, who seems to be running point with this civic issue.  His number is 215-686-3448.

And I’d really like any contacted parties to keep The Frankford Gazette in the loop so we can accurately relay information to concerned residents.  The worse thing for this neighborhood is rumor and inuendo.  We’re at


30 thoughts on “Vern, new owner of 1520 Arrott, former site of Primo’s Sports Bar, please contact the Frankford Civic Association

  1. From Karen:

    I wanted to post on your blog but laughingly I noticed that the option was removed.
    In reference to your article about Primos Sports bar, I’d like to ask a question. Has anyone from the community thought to save their money and purchase said property? Do these people PERSONALLY know the gentleman who is trying to invest in a lucrative business to support his family?
    I read the article and some of the comments and found it daunting that a lot of the individuals have opinions but no resolutions. No one has a “crystal ball” to peer in and predict what the future may bring. I’ve taken note on some of the comments that some of the moderators allowed which were severely biased and detrimental to the characterization of the owner and employees of an establishment that hasn’t even opened yet. To answer one of the questions posed, The police officer stopped to asked if the owner was aware that people were slandering his name in your community paper. Really people? Is that fair?

    Someone made a comment about the bartenders slinging dope behind the bar. Wow! Well… I’ll address that as well since it would be pertaining to MY reputation. 1.) I work 60 hours a week for one of the major labs in the country, have done so for 15 years. 2.) I’ve never taken nor sold any type of narcotics or drug paraphernalia in my life. 3.) This will add to my income while I put my 3rd child through Tuskegee University, who is in his 2nd year. I was able to put my older two through college the same way. My daughter’s are both productive citizens in society WITHOUT collecting a government check.

    The gentleman everyone is brow-beating wanted to invest his money into a legal business to add to his income. He’s been with his company for almost 10 years. I support his efforts as long as he is following the lines of the law and pertaining everything needed to operate his business. The point of the matter is People tend to complain while they sit on their behinds and do nothing. Someone comes along to try to better their lives and here come the crabs to drag them back down to the bottom of the slacker’s barrel. An empty building is doing nothing but dragging down the value of the neighborhood. I agree that a bar is NOT the greatest option but let’s face it, it is a money maker. People drink, people spend money to drink. I know that Vern has hired a security team but nothing in life is guaranteed. He is willing to try and I’d rather see him invest his money as opposed to throwing it away.

  2. Given the history of the area (short excerpt below this post) –

    Vern has made an investment. He has a RIGHT to make a living, and a RIGHT to the same Police Protection every Philadelphia business owner receives.

    If Vern has the “Cojones” to place himself on the front lines of the battlefield, willing to risk his life to make a living in Frankford – I say: God Bless you Vern.

    You are a brave man.

    When you do open, I will personally have your name mentioned at a Sunday Mass – so that others may also include you in their prayers.

    Ghost of miseries past Posted on the History of the location:

    “The type of weaponry we face on the streets today — both police and citizens — is horrendous,” Fox said.

    “There is no legitimate use for an AK-47 on the street, no place for an assault weapon on a city street.
”It’s a frightening situation and it’s something that we have to get a handle on.”

    Gun violence and drugs have been a problem for many years on the 1500 block of Arrott St. and surrounding blocks. It cost one former owner of the same bar — then called the Jolly Post — his life.

    On May 29, 1999, Bruce Goldberg was gunned down in the street outside the business at about 3:30 a.m. after closing up for the night.

    Two men were later convicted of the murder and are now serving lengthy prison sentences.

    The bandits shot Goldberg in the back and stole some cash from his pockets, according to a city prosecutor who handled the case.

    But three years later, with the bar still closed and a new ownership group attempting to acquire the frozen liquor license, some neighbors claimed that Goldberg was really targeted because he had tried to run a “clean” business with no place for drug dealers.

    Goldberg had the bar for only about five months after longtime owner-operator Seymour Sampson sold it to him and retired to Florida.

    After Goldberg’s death, Sampson retook the property as a creditor and, in 2002, sold it to a group headed by West Oak Lane resident Weymouth Lewis, who is still listed as owner, according to city tax records.

    In fighting to keep Lewis’ group from acquiring a liquor license in 2002, neighbors cited the area’s long history of violence.

    Between 1991 and 1999, authorities documented 13 robberies, 15 burglaries, 10 aggravated assaults, five auto thefts, one rape and two murders on the 1500 block of Arrott St. alone.

    Adjacent blocks, including 4700 Oxford Ave. and 4700 Griscom St., had similar tallies.

    In 2002, the police department identified the corner of Arrott and Penn streets, at the opposite end of the block from the bar, as an Operation Safe Streets location with full-time police presence.

    That anti-drug program, criticized for its heavy use of costly police overtime, no longer exists.

  3. In short I think what Ghosts of Miseries Past is saying; ‘When and if Vern opens this place, a few months from that time there will be a lot of people saying SEE I TOLD YOU SO.’

  4. When and if Vernelle files a liq lic app for his strip club/bar/resturant, whatever he is planning, I will be filing a petition to intervene with LCB. I encourage all civic leaders to send letters to LCB lawyer, Robin Coward the DAs nuisance bar task force, Matt Mueller-215-686-5858 and State liquor control enforcement, Sgt. Latour. To at large city council people. Ask for their help in keeping this location closed before the bodies start to pile up this time. You have 30 days after the stickers are posted to file. Robin Coward at LCB can be reached at 610-940-1200. The hearing will be in Plymouth meeting if needed I will provide transportation to residents who have filed timely petitions.

  5. NW Resident Says:
    June 21st, 2011 at 2:38 pm
    In short I think what Ghosts of Miseries Past is saying; ‘When and if Vern opens this place, a few months from that time there will be a lot of people saying SEE I TOLD YOU SO.’

    That may be one way to interpret it, but not what i ment.

    I really was saying I will pray for Vern, and perhaps he will be saying: “SEE I TOLD YOU SO!”

    No one can predict the future.

  6. I see no reason why its such a problem for a black man to open a bussiness to to support his family, and if so many ppl have such a”concern” why none of those ppl purchased the property?????

  7. @missthang- Are you trolling, genuinly obtuse or is Vernelle putting people up to posting here to make it look like he has support or is it Vernelle himself posting? The writing style is the same along with the similarity in content.

  8. If the man wants to open a nice restaurant, I think the neighborhood will come out and support it.

  9. I think Vernell is writing these post in favor of his strip club himself. They are written in the same style as his posts and contain the same irrelevant comments.

  10. What evidence is there that he’s the property is going to become a strip club?

  11. The original plan he wanted zoning for was a strip club. You can verify this with city hall.

  12. I haven’t been able to post a report yet, but Jason Dawkins confirmed the story about his intention to make it a strip club at the Northwood Civic meeting last night. He said that was shot down by zoning. It is zoned as a restaurant now. The owner has said he intends to apply for a liquor license.

  13. @Pat- that is the same info I learned at City Hall. The immediate neighbors within 500 feet of the property are planning to file petitions to intervene and testify at the hearing of those petitions at LCB. I was told that Jason is having a meeting at Aria on June 30th at 5:30 for discussion. What evidence do you have that the man wants to open a nice resturaunt btw? Just curious how you came to that conclusion.

  14. See u dont know how to spell my name thats y its just vern and no im not posting anything but this and u still havnt stoped to talk to me

  15. Hello, Frankford and People surrounding the 1502 Arriott area. I just wanted to comment on the negetive feed back about The Old Primos Bar. It is hard for someone to try to do what is right when every time you turn around the people who is suppose to be law-bidding citizens treat other law bidding citizens like criminals before they know what is going on. People don’t know what is going on in any of the buildings on 1502 Arriott. People don’t ask questions. They convict people even if there is no crime being commetted. First of all Mr. Vern chases the drug dealers off the corners not just in Frankford but in other parts of the city also. That building was an eye-sore. Do the people of our area know the real history of that building? Please do your research. That building has been around for a very long time. It was known as one of the most popular Post in Philadelphia where traverlers use to stop to get a drink when they when thirsty and needed a place to sleep. Did anyone stop to think that if one building is restored and looking beautiful that someone may purchase more buildings in the area. That will bring up the value of the neighborhood. Mr. Vern did not know the history of that building before he brought it. They told him that the bar was not a bad place. How can you be mad at a person who wants a better life for his family? I worked for people my whole life. I’m tired of making people who don’t care about me rich. Vern has that same idea. Did you know that vern gatherd people in the neighborhood and paid them to clean the alleyway and the corners of Griscom and Arriott. He is giving back to the community already. I have been going around that area for about month in a half and the only people that have been cleaning up is Vern’s… What do any of you people do for the neighborhood besides try to keep one another down. When is it going to stop. Today I saw a lady jump on the car to stop robbers. She took a stand. Why don’t you take a stand and remove the the drug dealers off the corners and help clean up our neighborhood. You won’t and you don’t. You would rather mess with a man who is try to earn a living by the law! We should all come together and enjoy the life that GOD has giving us… Where is the real Brotherly Love. We need to learn how to forgive and leave the past the past. How do you expect GOD to forgive you if you can’t forgive. I hope that you try our food…coming very soon…Thank You

  16. The building has not been around for a very long time. The bar named “The Jolly Post” was named after the original Jolly Post Tavern and Hotel. 1502 Arrott Street is not the original Jolly Post. The original building was located on Frankford Ave and torn down decades ago.

  17. Is that the only comment you can make. We are also talking about rebuilding, cleaning up and taking back our neighborhood. Where are your comments about you helping???????????

  18. Also it has been a bar since 1940 do your research

  19. @Shawn-Do your homework that building was not the original Jolly Post which was located on Frankord Ave. Vernelle did not buy the building (according to the brt records) to improve the neighborhood. His plan was t o open a strip club which is not appropriate to locate in any residential area. According to city records that building has not changed hands so if it is the still owned by the same people as before why do think it will be run any better with a new manager?

  20. @ Vern do you spell your name: Weymouth Lewis like the listed owner of that building?

  21. It’s possible Vern is leasing the building and doesn’t own it so the BRT records wouldn’t reflect that info. Vern is showing good faith by appearing at a meeting next week so we will hear what his intentions are and can then judge. I see promise in a restaurant, but the addition of a liquor license just smells like trouble if the place has a standing bar as that is where the bulk of the business will end up. I’ll wait now until Vern speaks and leave my previous speculation aside. It’s probably good for Vern and Frankford residents that the Gazette was on top of this and got this the attention it needed.

  22. @Lyndad….. Like I said I have been going around there for at least a month in half and I never met you! Why is it that everyone who comment pull at the negative… No one responded about trying to clean up the neighborhood or form a group to push the drug dealers off the corners….. And nothing is posted on BRT right away…. I see you are just one of those internet lovers with no real life……Why don’t you pick up a broom and clean your neighborhood and then you will see who selling drugs, who his cleaning up the hood… Why don’t you really get involved……Take a real stand… Why don’t try to give some input on how to up lift the frankford. Don’t just pint fingers at someone who trying to better themselves. He is trying to find away to earn a honest living… The realitor came pass to grab his for sale sign yesterday. You are working really hard to stop someone from opening something.. who many drug sdealers have you chased of the corners today… How many times have you called the police and pointed out a drug dealer/dealers???? Your neighborhood is what you make it. you are one of the people who let the chlidren take control of your streets.. Yes you need to blame yourself……. That location is a very good area to do business…Why didn’t you try to make something positive out of that building. To be honest with Vern didn’t do anything to that once apon a time bar but clean out the trash… If have seen anyone they weer family or friends trying to help out… He have hired some people from the neighbor hood also to help clean their own neighborhood. There have been a great deal of people looking for jobs… How can someone not be helping if he is trying to hire people in the neighborhood and mostly locals…. How many jobs have give out to people… Did you know that he hired a homeless man to help clean up your neighbor hood…. I didn’t say that it was the Jolly Post Jim did and 1940 until now is a long time……… May Peace, Love and Happiness be apon you….

  23. To whom it may concern no this is not vern speaking, i am just saying that i have known him for many years and know that he has good intentions, its unfair to go on your own understandings when you have not even attemped to go to this man and speak with him. Furthermore he dont need to pretend that he has support, he has family and friends that love him and will support him reguardless, as a people we should stop judgeing one another befor knowing the facts.

  24. @Shawn you have no idea what you are talking about. I have been involved in this community for over a quarter of a century. I have seen the people who pretend they want to do somehing good for the community but only want t make a buck at any cost. This guy didn’t come here to make the community better, he wanted to open a strip club/bar. If you think that will help clean up the burnuda triangle area or get drug dealrs off the corner, you are delusional. The person who owns that building is the same owner from Primo’s. If you were in Frankford when he or the other two prior owners were around you would know that there is no way to run anything but a nuisance bar in that location. If he wanted to open a resturaunt like the Griscom House (where Alyas is now) used to be with no liqour license and a new owner this conversation wouldn’t be taking place. The people who are involved with Frankford and care about the community dont want this. It will be up to the LCB to decide if they will allow a bar there again. There is no point arguing about it here or acting like you know what is going on or who you are talking to.

  25. Lets make this clear I am the owner of this location. My paper work will be with me old owner lost building for not paying the bills back in 2008 city owned building now its mind no need for me to lie about who i am hope to meet u thursday

  26. Listened to Vern speak about his restaurant last night; and also listened to a handfull of people who seem to be against everything and anything. I’m wondering if these same people have any plans to invest their money in the neighborhood, open businesses, make any attempt to improve the quality of life; other than just screaming about how bad everyone else is. I heard one good idea last night and that was to open the restaurant first and seek to obtain a liquor license second. Being in business, and having a network of friends in business including restaurants, I know it is vital to have wine & spirits to make a decent profit. Take a $13 bottle of wine and sell it for $8 a glass is just good business. As for people offering up ideas for what business Vern should be in was laughable; a soup kitchen, a senior center, job training center. Please tell me how Vern is to make money on any of these, do any of these generate tax revenue, create profit and return his investment? After listening to Vern and his cousin speak last night; and then listening to the handful of residents with a total of zero ideas on how to revitalize this area, I believe Vern should be left to explore his business venture. What would be really helpful is if other buildings on this block followed suit and opened similar legitimate businesses and make this an area where people are willing to travel for a night out. The traffic is there from the M-F Line and the negative element will go away on it’s own if the traffic was there and stayed there for the right reasons, instead of hurrying home. I’m guessing what the people of Frankford want is a few more hand painted $10 Car Wash signs going up on their streets; by the way, these illegal businesses create no tax revenue for the city. Good luck Vern and hopefully the people with the proper vision on how to improve a neighborhood will support you; and those that think peace marches and picket signs will move the dealers along will one day see why their battle has been going on for 20 and 30 years.

  27. I think that vern may have a hard time obtaining a liquor license for a Bar or Night Club, but may have no trouble obtaining a Eating Place (E) Liquor License.


    Restaurant (R)
    Club (C) & Catering Club (CC)
    Distributor (D)
    Eating Place (E)
    Hotel (H)

    Amusement Permit (AP)
    Extended Hours Food (EHF) Permit
    Sunday Sales (SS) Permit Related Information

    vern, I wish you success and will provide some silent prayers.

    the ghost

  28. I’ve noticed that the work at the former Primo’s Sports Bar has stopped and there is a sale sign posted at the bar location and a For Rent sign posted on the property next door. Anyone have an update on this property?

  29. Haven’t seen any activity there either. One thing that I thought was funny, and disappointing at the same time, was when I took my daughter to Chuck E. Cheese a couple weeks ago at Welsh & Boulevard. Posted on the window was a big orange sticker for a liquor license which they have to reapply for due to their expansion. I asked why Chuck E. Cheese needed a liquor license and they informed me that they sell beer. I found it hilarious that a kids themed establishment served beer. On the other hand it made me wonder if the alcohol consumption was the problem; since I can’t recall Chuck E. Cheese having any nuisiance issues, or is it the people that consume the alcohol? I’m left to believe that whether Vern gets his liquor license or not, the people in that area are going to be a problem either way. By the way, I refuse to take my daughter to Chuck E. Cheese because of their senseless business decision; and yes I do drink on occasion. I just do it at the appropriate times and places.

  30. @ Lorraine-The property next door was owned by a couple that lives in North Carolina. They used to live there but they had to move due to the crimmial activity at the then “Jolly Post” bar and the scum that frequent the burmuda triangle area. The last straw was when some tweaked out crack head robbed the husband at knife point of his watch, wallet and wedding ring as he stepped off his porch to the sidewalk. Their names are Kurt and Christine Sellers. They made the choice at the time to rent it out because it is unsellable due to the location. It was a beautiful house at one time. It may have changed hands since the last time I was inside. I remember a nice exposed brick wall two kitchens. 2 bathrooms and huge rooms with nice crown mouldings and trims. But who knows what is in there now after years of renters. I stopped to look at the sticker posted on the house and it said the owners were ordered to seal it up. I observed two for sale signs one on each side of 1520 Arrott St and I saw people going in and out of the alley sawing boards on a saw horse with a circular saw. One of them saw me reading the sticker and asked if I knew if the house was for sale or not. (AS he was clearly using electricity from the house for his saw) I don’t know if it is for sale now but who would want to own a house on that block? They need the national guard there to keep the peace and get a cease fire going with the drug dealers as far as I am concerned. That corner has not been quiet since operation sunrise had a police car on the corner 24/7.

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