Upscale Eateries Give Struggling Malls A Lift

After perusing a few boutique stores and getting her hair done at Rizzieri Salon & Spa at Moorestown Mall, Jamie McCulloh-Martin decided to go for dinner at Osteria a few doors down.

“I’ve been here more in the last 1½ years since [Osteria] opened than in all of my 22 years living in Moorestown,” said McCulloh-Martin, 50, owner of a physical therapy chain, who ate outdoors with her administrative director, Kelly Casio. “The mall is really changing, and for the better.”

In the new mall world order, you can taste Jose Garces’ tacos at Moorestown Mall, Bobby Flay’s burgers at Cherry Hill Mall, and filet mignon at Morton’s – the Steakhouse at King of Prussia Mall.

The mall and high-end restaurants have struck up a marriage that’s holding on to shoppers longer and generating a better return for powerhouse owners such as Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust (PREIT) and Simon Property Group.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20150524_Upscale_eateries_give_struggling_malls_a_lift.html#61pW5raHst0VyXYE.99

10 Reasons To Visit Downtown York This Summer

If you love bacon, beer and the beach, then a trip to York City might be worth your while this summer.

Downtown York might not be the island vacation you’ve been dreaming about, but you will be able to feel the sand between your toes during at least one York event this summer.

We spoke with Downtown Inc. marketing director Meagan Feeser and some downtown businesses about some of the events, attractions and activities coming to the city in the next few months.

See all ten reasons by clicking here:

http://www.flipsidepa.com/region-yorkhanover/ci_28145589/10-reasons-visit-downtown-york-this-summer?source=most_viewed

Boscov: Mall At Steamtown Changes Must Get My Approval

Repurposing the troubled Mall at Steamtown as a Reading Terminal-style market, a casino or a skating rink will remain a dream.

That is because the mall’s lease agreement with Boscov’s Department Store allows the anchor tenant to veto significant changes like that, said department store chairman Al Boscov in an interview at The Times-Tribune, a Times-Shamrock newspaper, on Monday.

Boscov’s Department Store will likely be among bidders in the June 1 – 3 auction of the Mall at Steamtown and the goal will be to buy the mall and keep the mall all — or predominantly — retail, he said.

Boscov wants to keep people with ideas of re-purposing the mall, some of whom he called “cranks,” away from the auction scheduled by LNR Partners, the mall’s caretaker since it was taken over by lenders following foreclosure.

Read more:

http://citizensvoice.com/news/boscov-mall-at-steamtown-changes-must-get-my-approval-1.1883885

In The Lead: Carnegie / The Comeback Continues

Hans and Virginia Gruenert wanted to start a theater company when they lived in New York City. That’s where you’d do something like that.

But Off the Wall Theater Co. was destined to be born in Western Pennsylvania when Mr. Gruenert’s work brought the couple here in 2007. And after five years in Washington, Pa., they found a better fit in Carnegie.

Their decision happened to mesh with the borough’s trajectory of late.

The economic doldrums that gripped the region for years didn’t miss Carnegie. Then in 2004, when Chartiers Creek overran the business district as a remnant of Hurricane Ivan, dozens of businesses were damaged and many did not return.

Read more:

http://www.post-gazette.com/in-the-lead-2015/reports/2015/05/14/In-The-Lead-Carnegie-The-comeback-continues

Conshohocken AMBUCS’ Ninth Annual Restaurant Rally Set For May 17

CONSHOHOCKEN, PA – According to one French proverb, “A good meal ought to begin with hunger.”

Conshohocken Restaurant Rally organizer Vince Flocco isn’t about to try one-upping the French when it comes to matters of cuisine. But Flocco would add this for food-lovers who plan to participate in Conshohocken AMBUCS’ ninth annual Restaurant Rally Sunday, May 17 from noon to 4:30 p.m.:

“You really have to pace yourself. You’re not getting a full meal at these restaurants, but when you have 20 or so offering a very generous taste, it’s a substantial amount of food by the time the day ends. People can always use the shuttle buses (provided as part of the Rally) to get from restaurant to restaurant. But, maybe, it’s best to just walk it off.”

Walk or ride, no one leaves hungry. Restaurant Rally tickets are $60, and you’d be hard-pressed to find more bang for your buck.

Read more:

http://www.timesherald.com/lifestyle/20150512/conshohocken-ambucs-ninth-annual-restaurant-rally-set-for-may-17

Braddock’s Backers See Lots Of Potential In Community’s Future

When talking about Braddock, Molly Rice and Jeffrey Carpenter avoid the word “revitalization.”

The term, they say, implies what already exists in the community isn’t vital, and, therefore, doesn’t apply to the historic town.

“Braddock isn’t what you might think it is. There are so many elements and varieties of colors and layers and things to see,” says Rice, a playwright who’s working with Carpenter’s Bricolage Production Company and Real/Time Interventions to bring her “Saints Tour” immersive theater experience to Braddock in May and June.

The show is one of many efforts to draw outsiders in while the community continues to move forward from its unstable past.

Read more: http://triblive.com/aande/moreaande/8147634-74/braddock-sousa-theater#ixzz3ZrLDNYdB
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Royal Square Development Scores More Stores For Downtown York City

It isn’t supposed to be official yet, but a map of the Royal Square district in downtown York includes four new businesses expected to open later this year.

The map of the district was being distributed Sunday at district businesses during the annual Olde York Street Fair.

Dylan Bauer, the vice president of real estate development for the company, said the maps were not supposed to be released yet, but that he would soon be able to comment on the new businesses.

Read more:

http://www.ydr.com/local/ci_28089775/royal-square-development-scores-more-stores-downtown-york

Olde York Street Fair Packs Downtown York City

Benefitting non-profits and showcasing local artists was the fair’s original goal 40 years ago and remains so today.

The 40th Olde York Street Fair sprawled over several blocks Sunday afternoon, stretching between Pine and Pershing streets east and west and King and Philadelphia streets north and south.

Pop-up stands lined the streets and they clustered around Continental Square.

Some vendors sold the typical wares: food, clothes and jewelry. But others sold unique crafts and represented local businesses

Read more: http://www.ydr.com/local/ci_28089011/olde-york-street-fair-packs-downtown-york-city

Lancaster Businesses Find CRIZ Paperwork Cumbersome, Time-Consuming

Downtown business people say they support Lancaster’s City Revitalization & Improvement Zone, or CRIZ.

But boy, they sure wish the paperwork were less of a hassle.

“The process is very painful,” said David Leaman, senior manager of finance for the Isaac’s restaurant chain, which has its headquarters and one of its restaurants in the CRIZ.

Moirajeanne FitzGerald, who owns Here to Timbuktu on North Prince Street, says, “The CRIZ paperwork is cumbersome. The directions are difficult to understand.”

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/news/local/city-businesses-find-criz-paperwork-cumbersome-time-consuming/article_f9428c5e-f5cf-11e4-a572-83e1416c6222.html

Progress 2015: Wilkes-Barre, Pittston Lead Charge In Revamping Downtown Ecomomic Atmosphere

Shopping outside from store to store has almost become a thing of the past in some areas. But don’t tell that to downtowns in the Wyoming Valley, especially Wilkes-Barre and Pittston.

Downtown shopping in both communities is thriving thanks to the advancements each city has made over the past several years. Couple that with the excitement and enthusiasm of business owners and residents and youv’e got a recipe for success. The success in downtown Wilkes-Barre starts with Public Square.

Downtown Wilkes-Barre Business Association President John Mayday, who is a resident of South Wilkes-Barre and does all of his shopping in the downtown area, said the excitement and enthusiasm is something he hasn’t seen before. And it can only get better, he said.

“New businesses are constantly moving in,” he said. “Our mission is to create the opportunities for our customers and residents to come downtown. They’re been absolutely well-received by the public.”

Read more:

http://www.timesleader.com/news/business-home_top-local-news/152539268/Downtowns-looking-up

Costco, Whole Foods Shopping Center Groundbreaking Set For This Week In Lower Macungie Township

A Whole Foods executive is slated to join Hamilton Crossings developers and local officials this week for the shopping center’s groundbreaking ceremony.

Whole Foods Market Executive Coordinator David Pinkney will be on hand for the Thursday afternoon event to be held at the future site of his company’s first Lehigh Valley store, developers announced Monday.

Representatives from The Goldenberg Group, of Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, and TCH Development, of Staten Island, New York; state Rep. Ryan Mackenzie; a representative from state Sen. Pat Browne’s office; Lehigh County Executive Tom Muller; Lower Macungie Township Board of Commissioners President Ryan Conrad and Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corp. President Don Cunningham are expected to attend the 2 p.m. ceremony, as well. It will be held at 4972 Medical Center Circle near the Wescosville Recreation Center.

Read more:

http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/lehigh-county/index.ssf/2015/05/costco_whole_foods_shopping_ce_5.html

A MATCH MADE IN…….POTTSTOWN!

#1In the fall of 2008 Ron Garza, chef-proprietor of Juan Carlos Fine Mexican Cuisine on High Street in Pottstown, was scouting locations to realize his dream of opening a fine dining restaurant.  Classical guitarist Russell Ferrara was, at that time, in the eighth year of disability from his lifelong music career. He was taking baby steps, post spinal surgery, to reactivate his performance activities.  He had just accepted an invitation join the music faculty of the soon to be opened Steel River Playhouse.

In early 2009 Ferrara began to notice construction activity at the northwest corner of High and Penn Streets just three doors down from Steel River Playhouse.  Spring brought signage which indicated that the storefront was becoming a Mexican restaurant. When work was nearly complete he walked in unannounced and began playing amidst the construction. Garza hired him on the spot and the two have remained close since.  Ferrara returned to Juan Carlos on Friday nights a few weeks ago after an eight-month absence during which he was on the road with his group Lackawanna Sky featuring Native American Flute player David Rose. Lackawanna Sky broke out at the April 2014 Launch Festival in Lancaster, PA where they were signed by Spirit Wind Records.  They subsequently toured in Georgia and Wisconsin, returning to PA to perform at the Kipona and Spirit of Oneness festivals in Harrisburg and in a continuing series of weekend performances in the Central Market of Lancaster. They are finishing up their first album and will return to Georgia in June.  Surprisingly, Ferrara credits much of this success to his tenure at Juan Carlos.

“I was introduced to the Native American flute at Juan Carlos,” Ferrara states. “On a quiet night I noticed a woman had lingered long past dessert. She approached me asking if I could wait ten minutes until she returned. She returned with a case full of flutes, chose one, announced the key and off we went!”  Within three weeks, the duo had made a demo and been accepted to perform at the 2010 International Native American Flute Association festival.”  That partnership did not work out long term but the recordings circulated and came to the attention of David Rose of Elizabethtown. Ferrara again: “David contacted me in June of 2013 as I was leaving for a tour with Candace Keach, Principal Flute of the Macon Symphony. Not long after I returned David and I gave our first ever performance at Juan Carlos.”

For his part, Garza was busy during Ferrara’s absence as well. Juan Carlos was nominated in two categories of the WPHL 17 ‘Hot List’ competition.  Garza brought home a win in the “Best Mexican” category as well as a second place in the “Best BYOB” category.  In addition, Garza collaborated with Steve Armstrong of Armstrong Ales in East Pikeland to create the first ever Mexican-style lager brewed in Pennsylvania.  Garza credits Ferrara with lending a hand in the first year the restaurant was open. “I guess we were a little green when we first opened.” Garza stated. “Russ introduced me to Anthony Bellapigna of sister restaurants Ariano and Fellini’s in Media, PA.  We met with him on a night that Russ was playing at Ariano.  Anthony helped me to streamline the menu.  He sent one of his best managers to Juan Carlos and made lots of great suggestions. Russ has been with me since the beginning.”

The two often talk about their goals and display a genuine regard for each other’s artistry. “I’m a foody,” Ferrara states. “My father owned restaurants and cooking is my hobby. I immediately noticed the passion and creativity that Ron displays in the kitchen.” Garza’s response to that was simply, “Yes, Russ and I are the same in that way.”

Juan Carlos, 235 E High St. Pottstown is open 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM Tuesday through Saturday. Catering is available anytime in the Wine Cellar.  Ferrara holds forth every Friday night.

From Beers To Burritos, Cinco De Mayo A Big Boost For Restaurant Owners In York County

Cinco de Mayo may be a relatively minor holiday in Mexico. But for restaurants in York County, the holiday is a big boost to the bottom line.

El Serrano’s two locations in Springettsbury Township and Lancaster, for example, are expected to do three to four times the business they do on a typical Tuesday, said Melanie Torres, who manages the Lancaster location.

Read about Cinco de Mayo celebrations in our area.

Mexitaly, a Springettsbury Township eatery whose menu features Mexican food, pizza and craft beer made on the premises, is bringing in extra help for Cinco de Mayo and ordering 20 percent more food ingredients than usual, owner Greg Skirboll said.

Read more: http://www.ydr.com/local/ci_28047513/from-beers-burritos-cinco-de-mayo-big-boost

Event Packed Weekend In Pottstown

Every now and then there are those weekends that are jam-packed with activities.  This warm and sunny weekend was just such a time.  If you live in the TriCounty Area here’s what went on.

Saturday and Sunday in Memorial Park a Native American Powwow took place.  There was music, dancing, food etc…  Nice write up in the Mercury about it with pictures:

http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20150502/pottstown-jam-packed-with-saturday-full-of-fun

Saturday night was the first Nostalgia Night of the season on High Street, downtown Pottsown.  The first Saturday of May, June, July, August and September you can find hundreds of classic cars downtown along with music and food.  To learn more about Nostagia Nights, click here:

http://www.pottstownclassics.com/

This weekend was the opening weekend for “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” at the Steel River Playhouse in downtown Pottstown.  The show continues next weekend.  Click here for details and to buy tickets: http://www.steelriver.org/current-season/4438-2/

Today, Sly Fox Brewing Company held their annual Bock Fest and Goat Races in Pottstown at the site of their brewery on the Circle of Progress.  Thousands of people attended.  The event featured live music, food, beer and goat races.  Here are some pictures from this afternoon:

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CEO Takes The Blame As Sales Continue To Fall At Vitamin Retailer GNC

Mike Archbold fell on his sword Thursday, calling an unexpected drop in first-quarter sales at GNC a “self-inflicted wound.”

Archbold, who was hired as CEO in August to turn around a yearlong slump in sales and profit, said he mistakenly cut the Downtown-based vitamin and supplement retailer’s advertising budget by $5 million.

“We intentionally did not deploy a full slate of marketing. … This caused us to talk to our customers less, a lot less,” he told analysts. “To be clear, this was a mistake.”

Not a factor in the decline, he said, was negative publicity from a probe by the attorney general of New York that questioned the purity and authenticity of some herbal supplements sold by GNC and other retailers.

Read more: http://triblive.com/business/headlines/8253719-74/sales-million-cents#ixzz3YuG3RfYW
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Easton To Get More Apartments After Two Projects Turn To Office Space, Mayor Says

As Downtown Easton began its resurgence in recent years, first came nighttime foot traffic from people going to restaurants.

After the Pomeroy’s Lofts opened in the 300 block of Northampton Street, that added to the evening surge on the city’s sidewalks and into the city’s bars.

The Crayola Experience on Centre Square has for years provided a daytime tourist presence, and new retail locations and the farmers market have put some feet on the streets during daylight.

When Pomeroy’s developer Mark Mulligan bought the Wolf Building on North Second Street for conversion to apartments after Northampton County moved its human services operation to Bethlehem Township, the daytime/nighttime equation seemed to slide further out of balance.

Read more:

http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/easton/index.ssf/2015/05/easton_to_get_more_apartments.html

Bethlehem Businesses Being Recruited For Allentown’s Neighborhood Improvement Zone

Many Bethlehem businesses are being recruited to move to Allentown’s Neighborhood Improvement Zone, which at least one Bethlehem official finds distressing.

NIZ developers — chiefly City Center Lehigh Valley — have approached at least a half-dozen Bethlehem businesses in recent months, the merchants said. Lynn Collins Cunningham, the senior vice president for Bethlehem initiatives for the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce, said she’s disappointed by the recruitment effort — arguing it runs contrary to the stated goals of the Allentown Neighborhood Improvement Zone Development Authority.

“I remember ANIZDA Board Chairman Sy Traub saying that the purpose of the NIZ was to redevelop Allentown, not to hurt other communities. With the outreach to so many of Bethlehem’s downtown businesses, it doesn’t seem like that philosophy is being followed,” Cunningham said. “I have been and continue to be a big proponent of the NIZ, but not at the expense of Bethlehem.”

Read more:

http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/breaking-news/index.ssf/2015/04/bethlehem_businesses_being_rec.html

Three Pop-Up Beer Gardens This Year From PHS

The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s Pop-Up Garden has been annual warm-weather hit – what with the transformation of a vacant lot into an urban oasis, complete with beer and great food.

Why not do three of them this year?

PHS plans to set up in new spots in East Passyunk and Logan Square and to return to 1438 South St., starting the first week of June. The closing date for each beer garden is October 1.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/the-insider/Three-pop-up-beer-gardens-from-PHS.html#eLQfqpkxFaEqp1Mz.99

Hotel Bethlehem Named Among Top 100 U.S. Brunch Restaurants

Hotel Bethlehem has earned a hat trick of brunch awards.

For the third year, the hotel’s Sunday Musical Brunch in the Tap Room has earned a spot in the top 100 brunches list from OpenTable Diners’ Choice Awards.

The list is compiled by five million reviews through the last year from OpenTable diners, according to a news release.

Read more:

http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/food/index.ssf/2015/04/hotel_bethlehem_named_among_to.html

Hazleton Alliance Predicts Revitalized Downtown With Strategic Plan Completion

HAZLETON, PA — If the strategic plan for the continued revitalization of downtown Hazleton becomes a reality, the planner believe Broad Street will again be filled with shoppers, students, employees and neighbors, bringing fresh blood, an improved streetscape and a much needed increase in economic activity.

The five-year plan, which outlines specific strategies for achieving goals, was finalized last week after nearly a year of meetings, surveys and pubic input.

Krista Schneider, executive director of the Downtown Hazleton Alliance for Progress, the non-profit organization which commissioned and coordinated the effort, credits its Board of Directors, area leaders and Hazleton residents for their support of the project and willingness to “think outside of the box” when it comes to the city’s future.

Schneider said the effort reflects goals directed by Pennsylvania’s Main Street Program, a four-pronged approach that includes organization, promotion, restructuring and design.

Read more:

http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news-news/153007106/