The Student News Site of Springside Chestnut Hill Academy

The Campus Lantern

The Campus Lantern

The Campus Lantern

Business grows on Germantown Avenue

Griffy Whitman
The Multiverse comic store is new to Germantown Avenue within the last year.

Germantown Avenue has fifteen vacant storefronts and they stick out like a sore thumb. 

With help from the business district, however, the Avenue’s shops have displayed impressive resilience, even despite the challenges retail faces in today’s economy. 

Empty storefronts line Germantown Ave (Antonin Zappala ’25)

Over 31 new businesses have entered Germantown Avenue since January of 2022, with more coming in the following months.  

So, how does the Chestnut Hill Business District support businesses?

The Executive Director, Courtney O’Neill, described the organization’s role as “to be advocates and help in any way we can to support both landlords and tenants [on the avenue]. 

Ms. O’Neill explained that the business district’s job wasn’t just to foster the development of new stores, but also to make sure these businesses are sustainable. “Is this the right match? Will this be successful? You don’t want to just have a shop pop open and they fail. So you need to make sure that it’s the right match to succeed here in Chestnut Hill”.

In addition to finding the right matches for new business to the Avenue, the Business District provides financial aid and advice to its members.

For example, during the COVID 19 pandemic, Ms. O’Neill said that “a lot of our shops made it through” because “[The Business District] helped them apply for loans, government support, and grant money”. 

Assistance like this allowed Local Chestnut Hill Businesses to bounce back at an incredible rate compared to the rest of Philadelphia.

But why were all these storefronts empty in the first place? Courtney O’Neill again attributed part of the problem to Covid.

“There’s definitely a big impact [from COVID]”, said Ms. O’Neill. “We’re still bouncing back from it [the pandemic]. A lot of businesses were hit hard, and some unfortunately had to close”. 

Some shop owners also attributed the vacancies to a divide between upper Germantown Avenue and the lower parts.

Sarah Hughes, who runs the Comic Store Multiverse (located on the lower Avenue) with her husband said that, “One of the things we think about a lot is there’s a little bit of a top of the hill, bottom of the hill dynamic.” Mrs. Hughes believes that having a shop on the lower part of Germantown leaves “you out of sync [with the rest of the Avenue].” In fact, prior to leasing the property for her store, “the space was completely empty for the last six years.”

Susan Dannnenberg of Laurel Hill Gardens agreed, saying that “this part [Lower Avenue] of Germantown Avenue has always been ignored. They [the stores] just don’t get rented out”. 

Luckily, these vacancies seem to be vanishing, and quick. Over 4 vacant properties on the avenue are being filled in the coming months. Ms. O’Neill explained that “One thing that we’ve noticed is that momentum kind of builds on itself.” 

She laughed, “I hope that we can maintain it”.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Campus Lantern

Your donation will support the student journalists of Springside Chestnut Hill Academy. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
About the Contributors
Griffy Whitman
Griffy Whitman, Inaugural Editor-in-Chief
Griffy is a junior at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy and he revived The Campus Lantern last year. He loves lacrosse and writing, so you can usually find him either on the field or interviewing someone for a story. Outside of school, he loves to play with his dog, Wesley.
Julien Friedland
Julien Friedland, Staff Writer, Editor
Julien is currently a junior at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, and this is his first year on staff. Outside of school, he can be found playing golf, reading a book and trying to find the best places to eat. He also likes to play the electric bass.
Donate to The Campus Lantern

Comments (0)

All The Campus Lantern Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *