Caffeinated Activism in East Falls


When NewsWorks interviewed us last month about just what on earth we were up to with our blog, we were kinda flummoxed.

What were we doing? What is the point of all this? How did we even start…?

And after some deep, heavy thought, we’re pretty sure it’s all about coffee. Or rather, lack thereof. Stay with us here…

Sure, there’s reliable ol’ Dunkin Donuts on Ridge but sometimes you don’t just seek a buzz: you crave something warm & luxurious in a relaxed setting that doesn’t smell like gasoline.

Good luck finding coffee in East Falls after 3:00 pm, though. What’s the deal?

You can’t swing a drunk cat in Fairmount or Chestnut Hill without hitting a coffee joint. Manayunk’s got Volo, Starbucks… Roxborough even has Starbucks. But us? We’re on our own, kids.

How does an average citizen go about begging a cafe to set up shop?

How does a place like East Falls court new business, anyway? Compared to neighboring areas like Manayunk & Northern Liberties, East Falls doesn’t offer much consumer research at all, which is unfortunate because market studies are a great way to woo investors. Even Roxborough has done its homework.

But such studies are expensive, and some would argue outdated. Isn’t market research just an antiquated term for crowd sourcing? Thanks to the internet, any idiot with a Facebook account can crowd source these days: it’s all about building an audience to profile.

So we picked the coolest part of East Falls we could think of — the Hohenadel mansion — and made as much noise as possible in the hopes of connecting with as many neighbors as we could. We had faith that just getting everyone together would lead to community improvements (like a proper coffee shop!). But then the house thing turned into a beer thing, turned into a music thing and a history thing all rolled into one big party in October when we came THISCLOSE to a Fire Marshal citation, d’oh. But what a great take-away:

East Falls loves to dress up and party! Give us a shindig, we’ll bring the roof down.

Which is great, but it’s not coffee. So what else attracts new business? Schools!

Go figure, but a community’s school is a huuuuuuuge reflection of its core, its stability, its growth potential. Unfortunately, Mifflin School’s ranking is not so great, plus there’s quite a bit of neighborhood baggage; times have been difficult in the past. But the building is beautiful, and the kids & faculty are lively & bright & ready to move forward. The community, too, sees opportunities here.

So once again: we’ve been making as much noise as we can about events at Mifflin from football player visits to winter concerts, Wishlists and more. Goal is to share positive happenings at Mifflin, engaging students, teachers and neighbors. This way, when potential new businesses google our area, they’ll find more than Mifflin’s unfortunate ranking and media coverage. They’ll see something more powerful than statistics: the daily reality of a community that cares.

Positive light shined on Mifflin reflects upon our neighborhood. The more we promote our area’s assets, the more attractive we become to investors. Hopefully the kind that sell coffee! And maybe a bakery, a grocery or laundromat. Surely, we’ve all got neighborhood wishlists. 

The cost of a cup of coffee in East Falls isn’t counted in dollars and cents, to us, but in miles walked through these streets, and the hours spent trumpeting how much there is to appreciate here. And how ready we are for more, please.

Thank you for getting online, for getting involved. The best part about social media activism is how easy it is — your comments, likes and shares help support EastFallsLocal‘s efforts to attract growth we can all appreciate, and new enterprise to enrich & preserve our unique, diverse community.

Meanwhile, we’ll keep covering East Falls history, characters, businesses and neighborhoods. We hope you’ll agree there’s much to love about our colorful corner of Northwest Philly.

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