The Frankford Civic Association meets monthly on the first Thursday of each month. Meetings are held from 7 -8 PM at St. Mark’s Church, Frankford, 4442 Frankford Avenue, with convenient parking in the lot which can be accessed via Frankford Avenue or Griscom Street. We’re on the main strip!!
This month, we held a meet and greet with Ellie Vamos, the Commercial Corridor Manager for the Frankford Community Development Corporation. Welcome, Ellie, and we’re glad you’re here! Ellie joined the staff there in September. She comes to us with a varied range of experiences and skills that she developed as a community engagement specialist. Ellie has done much to build partnerships using effective communication strategies to further foster a sense of community. Ellie shared with us her vision and what she is currently working on in her new position.
Ellie is a great listener and endeared herself to the group at large immediately. Ellie would like to build and develop our local business organization by recruiting new members and helping them to see the importance of their investment in Frankford and how it can improve their own business success. Partnering with the greater community, the Frankford Civic Association agreed to co-sponsor the Monster Bash on Halloween which was held at the Pause (Pink) Park. Due to a recent fire on Paul St., the planned movie had to be canceled unfortunately.
Ellie is scheduled to return for this month’s meeting, too, to continue our discussions of how we can support the CDC’s effort to revitalize our commercial corridor.
We also discuss upcoming issues for the Neighborhood Advisory Committee such as zoning, expansion of existing properties and other issues directly affecting the community. Christine DeJesus serves as Co-ordinator of the NAC.
So join us at our next meeting on Thursday, December 6! There’s always something new to learn about Frankford!
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 email@example.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!
Diane Richardson has been active in the Frankford business community since she established the Richardson Group Senior living facilities on Bridge Street in 2004. That facility serves as a home for about 19 men in an assisted living environment. It is a very comfortable place that I visited back in April of this year to interview Diane for this story.
She was in the midst of a successful career as a para legal when in 1999 her brother had to enter an assisted facility. The experience of visiting him in that facility made her think that there had to be a better way. Over time she developed her ideas and sat down and wrote a business plan. She eventually entered that plan into a competition and it was recognized with an award. Her legal background and organizational skills were helpful in getting funding and the first property at 1750 Bridge Street was acquired and became operational with the first four residents in 2004. She expanded and added on with the acquisition of the adjacent property in 2007.
Your first impression when entering through the front door is warmth and hominess. It does not feel at all institutional. Richardson says that the each resident has different needs. Some are relatively independent while others need more help in managing medications and coordinating medical appointments, etc. All meals are served family style and the facility is staffed by a total of 7 to meet the needs of their clients 24 hours a day.
As many of half of the men are veterans which means their services may involve working with the VA. They are in the process of becoming an approved veteran’s home.
The Richardson Group was recognized by Governor Corbett this year as a finalist for the Governor’s ImPAct award in the area of Community Impact.
This award is given to a company that exemplifies the tenet of “doing well by doing good.” The winners in this category show a sustained commitment to the growth and development of its employees and the community(ies) in which it does business.
In addition to her duties running the Richardson Group, she also serves as President of the Frankford Business and Professional Association. The 60 plus membership association meets every other month for a lunch and a program on business issues. Membership in the association has been up and down over the years but now is on the upswing again under Richardson’s leadership.
The association also sponsors varies activities throughout the year in cooperation with the Frankford Community Development Corporation.
Diane Richardson is a petite dynamo who is both entrepreneur and someone who does good work. We are fortunate to have her here in Frankford.
Mark your calendars – the Frankford Business & Professional Association 2013 meeting dates are set! All meetings will take place from 12:00n to 2:00p at Frankford ARIA Hospital, 4900 Frankford Avenue, in the second floor conference rooms.
We hope to see you throughout 2013! Please email Michelle Feldman, firstname.lastname@example.org, with any questions or concerns!
2013 Meeting Dates:
Tuesday, January 22nd
Tuesday, March 26th
Tuesday, May 28th
Tuesday, July 9th
Tuesday, September 3rd
Tuesday, November 19th