Support Locally Owned Small Business This Christmas

Looking for a great gift?  How about a gift certificate to Pottstown’s number 1 rated restaurant on Yelp and Trip Advisor!  Shopping small returns dividends to your community.  Buying from a big box chain does not help the local economy.  Buying from a locally owned business does!

Click here to purchase a great gift for the special people in your life: http://www.icreatecafe.org/?deeplink_referrer=ess#!product/prd1/1602198915/30%24-gift-card

Also, check out the new iCreate store on Facebook.  Click on SHOP to purchase computer classes, Arabic language classes, cooking classes and more. Click here for a direct link to the store: https://www.facebook.com/iCreateCafe/app_196248510415671

New logo

New logo

Christkindlmarkt Bethlehem 2014 Re-Opens Thursday, 12/4 At 11am

Recognized by Travel+Leisure Magazine as one of the top holiday markets in the U.S., Christkindlmarkt Bethlehem showcases aisles of exquisite handmade works by the nation’s finest artisans, the heart-warming sounds of live Christmas music, delicious food and more.

Become an ArtsQuest member today and you’ll not only receive FREE admission to Christkindlmarkt but also an ArtsQuest gift card good for purchases at the ArtsQuest Center and the Stacks Shop at Christkindlmarkt!

Contact Samantha Kulp at 610-332-1365 for more information or visit http://www.christmascity.org/

HOOVER FINANCIAL ADVISORS EXCEEDS FUNDS FOR FOOD GOAL

Larry Welsch, Chester County Food Bank executive director, is all smiles as he accepts a check from Hoover Financial Advisors. Shown with Welsch (l to r) are Pete Hoover, Beth Hoover and Kelly Hoover.

Larry Welsch, Chester County Food Bank executive director, is all smiles as he accepts a check from Hoover Financial Advisors. Shown with Welsch (l to r) are Pete Hoover, Beth Hoover and Kelly Hoover.

Malvern, PA – Hoover Financial Advisors completed its fall Funds for Food campaign by raising     $12, 500 for Chester County Food Bank. The goal was $10,000. “We couldn’t be happier to exceed our original plan,” says Pete Hoover, CFP, president and founder of HFA. “The holidays can be tough for families who don’t have enough to eat. The Food Bank reports that more than 50,000 residents of Chester County are food-insecure. Last year, it distributed over 2.6 million pounds of food, including 800, 000 pounds of fresh produce, to 100 food cupboards. We are very pleased to be able to help and thank all our clients and business colleagues who contributed so generously to the fund-raising campaign.”

“Hoover Financial Advisors has been a wonderful partner to Chester County Food Bank, says executive director Larry Welsch. “The company supports us with both monetary contributions and through volunteering. HFA has hosted fund drives among its clients to strengthen this support. We are so very fortunate to have corporations like HFA, who are not only supportive of the efforts of the Food Bank, but are also genuinely committed to the Chester County community. HFA is a true ambassador of Chester County Food Bank,” concludes Welsch.

HFA, which is headquartered on Moores Road in Malvern, was launched in 2005 by Hoover, who has been an independent financial advisor for more than 30 years.  Since its inception, HFA has tripled in size. Employees include client relationship managers, financial planners, insurance and tax specialists, investment analyst and an information services manager. Two years ago, HFA was selected as 2012 Small Business of the Year by Chester County Chamber of Business & Industry. For more details, visit its website at petehoover.com or call 610.651.2777. Go to ChesterCountyfoodbank.org for Chester County Food Bank information.

Pittsburgh Restaurant Scene: Fast Food 2.0 Sizzling As New Restaurants Open

Look to this month’s openings for restaurants that are killing it in Pittsburgh. Last week, Burgatory opened its sixth location in Murrysville, the day after BRGR opened its fourth location in the Galleria of Mt. Lebanon. Earlier this month, Big Burrito opened the 13th Mad Mex in Erie. And in mid-December, the third location of Hello Bistro from parent company Eat’n Park will open Downtown.

These local restaurants are taking a page from national chains, borrowing from systems that streamline staff and menus, leading to higher profits than a traditional restaurant without the base ingredients of fast-food conglomerates. They also take measures to personalize experiences, blurring the line between fast food and full-service, offering satisfying meals and an inexpensive night out. And they’re doing better than ever.

Welcome to fast food 2.0, or maybe it’s 4.0, as the genre has been reinventing itself sinceMerriam-Webster added the definition in 1951. The trend here mirrors what’s happening around the country. Although the new breed doesn’t look like Wendy’s or taste like McDonald’s, it’s bringing fast food back in a big way. For years, the fast-food industry has received criticism for disconnecting people from community and culture as well as playing a role in the obesity epidemic. But the updated fast-food market is on a mission to revamp its image from villain to hero.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/life/dining/2014/11/27/Restaurant-Scene-Fast-food-2-0-sizzling-as-new-restaurants-open-here/stories/201411270057

Social Still In Bethlehem Set To Open As The Lehigh Valley’s First Distillery Next Month

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northampton C...

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northampton County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Adam Flatt’s mother, Elaine Pivinski, opened the Lehigh Valley’s first winery in 1981.

Flatt is now on target to open the region’s first distillery next month.

Flatt, who co-owns Franklin Hill Vineyards in Lower Mount Bethel Township with his mother, is just weeks away from opening Social Still distillery in Bethlehem.

“It’s cool we have that pioneering tradition continuing,” he said.

Social Still is on target to have a soft opening the first week of December, Flatt said last week during a tour of the new operation. Work on the building is about 80 percent complete and the company is planning its first batch of vodka and gin later this week, Flatt said.

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/bethlehem/index.ssf/2014/11/social_still_in_bethlehem_set.html

Der Belsnickel Craft Show In Boyertown, Coming Soon

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The 2014 Show will be held
November 28 and 29, 2014
at the Boyertown Senior High School
The hours are:
11:00 AM-6:00 PM (Friday)
10:00 AM-4:00 PM (Saturday)
$5.00 Admission
No charge for children 12
and under.

 

Belsnickel website: http://www.boyertownhistory.org/craftshow.html

Chester County Food Bank Needs Turkey Donations — Now

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Chester County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Chester County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Exton, PA – An anticipated donation of 500 turkeys fell through Friday morning and now Chester County Food Bank is scrambling to collect frozen turkeys by Monday.

“We have families and a number of our food cupboards that are depending on having these turkeys Monday afternoon and we are in need,” said Phoebe Kitson, the Food Bank’s manager for agency and community partnerships.

The Food Bank serves more than 100 organizations in Chester County. The yearly average distribution of turkeys is about 2,000, but this year requests for turkeys increased about 20 percent compared to previous years.

Read more: http://www.dailylocal.com/general-news/20141121/chester-county-food-bank-needs-turkey-donations-now

Update: Philadelphia Area Restaurant Openings

To update the crop of projected restaurant openings over the next eight weeks or so:

Mere hours old is The Crazy Sofa, a sushi/small plater, next to the Regal theater in Newtown Square (the former Roux 3).

Any day now, Collingswood will see the debut of Local Market and Cafe (714 Haddon Ave.), which will sell foods to go or eat-in and will have a coffee bar, deli, butcher, bakery and grocery sections.

Friday, Nov. 21 is day one for Latin Flavor, a Caribbean cafeteria at 627 South St.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/the-insider/Update-Restaurant-openings.html#kJeUoftlBK7KtdFG.99

ArtsQuest Looking For Bakeries For 2014 Cupcake Bowl

English: A cupcake

English: A cupcake (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

ArtsQuest’s Cupcake Bowl is the definition of a “sweet Saturday.”

The annual fundraising event brings together bakeries from around the area for a day of sampling.

The 2014 event will be held 12:30-2:30 p.m. Dec. 27 at ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks, 101 Founders Way in Bethlehem.

According to a news release, ticket sales have opened. Buy a ticket at artsquest.org or call 610-332-3378. Tickets cost $30, $25 for ArtsQuest members. Proceeds from the event will go to ArtsQuest’s Arts Education Programming Fund.

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/food/index.ssf/2014/11/artsquest_looking_for_more_ven.html

Gangster Vegan Organics In Jeffersonville Aims To Change Lives With Raw, Organic Food

Location of West Norriton Township in Montgome...

Location of West Norriton Township in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WEST NORRITON TOWNSHIP, PA – Gangster vegan?

Like “jumbo shrimp”, the two words are contradictory and seemingly incompatible,

After all, vegans are peace-loving, sandal-wearing hippie types, and gangsters are hoodlums who are prone to violence, so the two breeds have no business ever hooking up in any sensible world.

Welcome to Vince DePaul’s world.

The Norristown native admitted he set out to bedevil the traditional vegan stereotype by naming his specialty raw food market in Jeffersonville Gangster Vegan Organics. But playing around with incongruities is only a small part of DePaul’s story.

Read more: http://www.timesherald.com/business/20141117/gangster-vegan-organics-in-jeffersonville-aims-to-change-lives-with-raw-organic-food

Bottom Dollar Food Stores To Close By Year’s End And Be Sold To Aldi

The Belgium-based owner of Bottom Dollar Food stores plans to close its 66 store locations in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia markets and sell the assets to discount food competitor Aldi Inc. for about $15 million.

Aldi said the purchase is part of an expansion plan that will add 650 stores nationwide by the end of 2018.

Delhaize Group of Brussels said all stores are expected to remain open as Bottom Dollar Food stores until yearend. After that, banner will be retired. The sale of stores and leases to Aldi is expected to be completed by March 31.

Read more: http://triblive.com/business/headlines/7104718-74/aldi-stores-bottom#ixzz3ILGhsZ8R
Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook

Whole Foods Market Coming To Lancaster

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Whole Foods Market is on its way to Lancaster County.

But shoppers who have been waiting a long time to read a sentence like that could have to wait three more years before they actually walk through the doors of the natural and organic food grocer.

Whole Foods Market announced Thursday that it has signed a lease for a 40,000-square-foot store in the Shoppes at Belmont, a mixed-use development planned at the corner of Fruitville Pike and Route 30.

“The people in and around Lancaster have been asking for a Whole Foods Market for some time now — and we’re excited to make it a reality,” Scott Allshouse, Whole Foods Market Mid-Atlantic regional president, said in a press release.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/news/local/whole-foods-market-coming-to-lancaster/article_ecfe3a06-65c4-11e4-b17e-0017a43b2370.html

Easton Bacon Fest Hopes 30,000 Pounds Of Bacon Lasts Through Two-Day Festival

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northampton C...

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northampton County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The first year Easton hosted Bacon Fest, it sold out of bacon by 11:30 a.m.

The second year, all the bacon was gobbled up by 1 p.m. And that was with a crowd estimated at 17,000 people.

This year, the free festival will mark its third year by covering two days, Nov. 8-9.

And after Fest 300 named Bacon Fest as one of the top 300 festivals in the world in May, organizers are preparing for a crowd of 50,000. At a news conference Wednesday, Easton Farmers’ Market Manager Megan McBride says they expect guests to go through 30,000 pounds of bacon.

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/food/index.ssf/2014/10/easton_bacon_fest_hopes_30000.html

Dan DeLuca: Forbes Under 30 Fest A Big Sign Philly Is World-Class Cool

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia ...

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Way back in the 1990s, I started going to the South by Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas.

Every March, I’d go back to find not only that the festival had gotten bigger and bigger – too big, it became clear this year, when four people were killed by a runaway drunken driver – but also that the city was mushrooming along with it.

In Austin, the livability factor is high – warm temperatures, live music, BBQ – and the stream of transplants so steady it doesn’t take long for new residents to start moaning about how everything was better before people who arrived after them came to town.

Which brings me to the latest indicator that everybody has figured out Philadelphia is a cool place to live. It’s the modeled-after-SXSW Forbes Under 30 Summit, the money magazine’s inaugural gathering of boldface billionaires and tech titans (and upstart entrepreneurs who wish to emulate them) that will take place in its planned-to-be permanent home from today until Wednesday.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/entertainment/20141019_Dan_DeLuca__Forbes_Under_30_fest_a_big_sign_Philly_is_world-class_cool.html#L2smIJJ3RURuueoT.99

Oyster Festival Brings Food, Music To York Museum

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting York County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting York County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

York may not be known for its oysters, but according to the York County Heritage Trust, it hasn’t always been that way.

“When they were doing the restoration of the Colonial Complex, they found oyster shells in the ground surrounding the buildings,” said Melanie Hady, director of marketing and public relations at the trust.

“There was obviously some trade going on between our area and the Chesapeake Bay area.”

In tribute to that historic link, the trust is celebrating its 40th annual Oyster Festival 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

Read more: http://www.yorkdispatch.com/breaking/ci_26746337/oyster-festival-brings-food-music-york-museum

Pottstown Zoning Board Approves Variance For iCreate Cafe

iCreate Zoning Supporters

Front row: Left, Peter Dolan, Esquire, Right, Ashraf Khalil

POTTSTOWN, PA – Wednesday evening the Pottstown Zoning Board heard testimony from iCreate Cafe owner, Ashraf Khalil, regarding his request for a zoning variance to operate a cafe and computer training center at 130 King Street, Pottstown. The neighborhood is zoned TTN or Traditional Town Neighborhood.  After receiving a violation notice from the Pottstown Codes Department in August, a hearing was originally scheduled for September 17th.  However, Mr. Khalil’s attorney, Peter Dolan, requested a continuance to adequately prepare his case. The hearing was rescheduled for October 15th.

A large group of supporters gathered in the 3rd floor council chambers to hear the evidence be presented. After Mr. Khalil’s sworn testimony and some clarification questions from the board, the meeting was opened to public comment. More than a dozen people were allowed to speak in favor of iCreate Cafe and Mr. Khalil.

After the public testimony, the board met in Executive Session.  After a short recess, the board returned to the council chamber and rendered their verdict for Mr. Khalil and iCreate Cafe by allowing the variance.

First of all, we thank the Pottstown Zoning Board for being open-minded and seeing the value of this niche market small business that draws customers from all over the Delaware Valley and beyond.   Based on the passionate testimony made during the public comments, it’s obvious this is a very special place.

Secondly, we feel now that Pottstown is getting serious about economic development and tourism (by developing a Tourism District and leveraging all the attractions that surround Memorial Park and the Western Gateway) having a highly rated locally owned restaurant within walking distance is a win-win.  If you want people to come to Pottstown and “spend the day” they will need to eat.  They are not going to want fast food or chain restaurants.  They are going to want something they cannot get at home.  iCreate Cafe is the total package when it comes to something you cannot get just anywhere.  From the unique decor to the vegan/vegetarian food with a Middle Eastern flair, it’s far from ordinary.  Add a chef/owner with the gift of hospitality and you have a winning trifecta.

This was a great victory for small business and for Pottstown.  If Pottstown could attract more unique restaurants like iCreate and some funky boutiques so people could do some shopping while they are visiting, you would have yourself a destination.

Congratulations to Ashraf Khalil and iCreate Cafe.  We wish you much success.

Website: http://www.icreatecafe.org/