Calling All Entrepreneurs

With the just-announced closing of Weitzenkorn’s, I find myself a little puzzled, to be honest. There is so much happening along High Street, I can’t for the life of me figure out why our friends at that fine Pottstown institution would cut the cord and run right now.

In the last twelve months, several new businesses have opened on our main street and nearby, including Pottstown United Brewing Company, Splitting Edge Axe Throwing, Aye Carumba and the new wine bar inside the Farmer’s Market, The Avenue, the Ice Cream Shop, and my personal favorite, Studio 36, a lovely bead store, among several others. We have health food, a bakery, a beautiful bridal shop, divine doughnuts, vegan food, handmade woodwork, antiques, and many of my old favorite eateries (Grumpy’s, Lily’s, Argento’s, Juan Carlos to name a few).

I will concede that Weitzenkorn’s is probably too big to compete in this Amazon era, but its target demographic has never been foot traffic. Its loyal customers have always been the people who have shopped there for years. Moving to Phoenixville will likely alienate most of those customers. My family moved here last year, and we loved Weitzenkorn’s from the very beginning, but I never shop in Phoenixville. In fact, other than the occasional art house movie and some really amazing Thai food, I rarely go to Phoenixville. I’m so sad to see Weitzenkorn’s leave our lovely downtown district right as it is beginning to wake up. Why not move to a smaller space on High Street, or lease out part of the existing store and stay with its loyal customers?Downtown High Street

The revival has begun, but what we now need are more entrepreneurs. Having recently moved downtown, I walk to do many of my errands, and it has brought to light a few of the holes in our retail selection downtown. While remodeling my house, I have used Rich Ranieri’s Flooring and Lastick Furniture, but we need a small hardware store. I’m not talking about a place that competes with Home Depot or Lowe’s, I just mean a place I can buy a packet of screws, a tube of caulk, or some light bulbs.

Last month, I needed to choose a wedding gift, but other than a booth inside the Farmer’s Market (which is great), there wasn’t anyplace downtown that had new gift items. A gift shop would be great. A little book store would be wonderful…preferably one with a place to grab a cup of herbal tea and visit with a friend! Since Connections is transitioning, there is a coffee shop sized hole on High Street, as well. How about a small grocery store or co-op?

What are some of the things you would like to see on High Street?

13 thoughts on “Calling All Entrepreneurs

  1. Nobody wants to see the downtown thrive more than I do. That being said you fail to mention the ones closing. Mostellers, The Flower Shop, Connections on High. My suggestion would be for something big like a 1000 seat theater where the Hippodrome once stood, in the empty lot that has been there since the 70’s. I walked High Street last night and didn’t realize how bad it was. I was panhandled 3 times within a 3 block radius.

    1. You are right about Mosteller’s and The Flower Shop, Tom, but Connections will be reopening as a restaurant soon. It’s interesting what you say about being panhandled. My husband and I walked downtown for dinner Tuesday night when it was so warm and weren’t approached even once. Maybe because there were two of us, or maybe because it was such a beautiful night and everyone was in a great mood. Who knows. Actually, come to think of it, in three years working downtown, I think I have been asked for money maybe once? Vacancy is still high, but many of the buildings on High Street have changed hands this last year, and so many new places have opened, I think things are definitely turning around. I am really enjoying these new places! I movie theater would be awesome, but with the AMC in Pottsgrove, it would probably have to be an arthouse theater to compete. I’m just so please we have Steel River. It has amazing shows! Have you been?

      1. Yes I have been, many times. I am not speaking about a movie theater but a Performing Arts Center, something that could hold 1000-1200

  2. I would like to see better parking, and eliminate the back in parking and put in pull in parking instead

  3. I did not know that “Connections” was going to e-open as a restaurant. That is great news.

  4. We are still working on a Children’s museum for downtown! It will draw families and be a great addition to the community. I’d like to see a card/small gift shop and another craft type store, like yarn crafts, a jewelry store, a children’s shop.

    1. I’m so excited for this! We are the perfect location for it…walkable, centrally located, great freeway access, good parking! related to your requests, I’d love to see something like this: It’s one of my favorite destinations in Philly, and with ArtFusion, it would be an awesome resource in Pottstown. Maybe it could go in the old pharmacy that closed next to ArtFusion?

  5. I am aching for a good wood fire pizza place. Don’t get me wrong, the pizza at Argento’s slaps; but a wood fire pizza place is a perfect date night destination.

  6. A personal note to Sue Repko. Glad to see that you’ve taken a renewed interest in the Positively Pottstown blog, after your hiatus at the Hill School.
    I am still partially active with Score, mentoring entrepreneurial wannabees Your interests and mine are quite similar, and suggest we get together for lunch, some day. soon, for a chat.
    dick heylmun

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