Space available in the former Hohenadel office building — including a turn-key deli/market with many possibilities for success in our growing neighborhood.
East Falls’ secondary business corridor‘s been experiencing some growing pains recently. Neighbors are grappling to appreciate five modern townhomes at the corner of Conrad and Penn, while up the street at Sunnyside, once-promising businesses vacate — including the abrupt closing of a local favorite, Conrad Market.
What happened? And what could do better here, instead?
Folks on Nextdoor seemed bummed and, for the most part, surprised that the quiet little shop couldn’t make it. Perhaps if they’d sold hot food for take-out, someone suggested, they’d have done better?
Agree! When a friend of ours lived nearby, he RAVED about their empanadas. Neighbors clamored for more Latin specialties, but selling hot food would’ve required upgrades and zoning and blah blah blah.
Anyway: YES! The neighborhood could use another good takeout spot — authentic ethnic dishes maybe, or a featured item done really well like soup or hot dogs. Ready-to-go stuff like salads, muffins, sliced fruit, etc. along with corner-store basics like milk, coffee, and OJ.
Even just a deli would be great — that’s what it’s zoned for, and it’s still got all the equipment and everything from sinks to shelving to fridges & freezers to one of those big spinning blades for slicing meat and cheese…. The place may look empty from the street, but inside you get a sense of how much stuff “turn key” involves.
We checked the place out with Joe Petrone, who’s managing the building now for Joseph D. Petrone Realty. As a neighbor living & working in East Falls, Joe appreciated the convenience of a little market for the neighborhood, away from the traffic on the river.
“We could definitely use another deli/market in this space,” he told us, “Something gourmet or specialty –a step above Wawa, but still fast and handy.” He felt Conrad Market’s aisles of canned vegetables/cleaning supplies/etc. were largely ignored by customers popping in for a quick quart of milk or a sandwich. “I think less grocery, more grab-and-go, would do best.”
Hot food would also probably fare very well here, he said, “Not pizza ovens, more like meatball sandwiches and maybe a grill. Eggs and bacon! There aren’t too many places you can go in and say ‘Gimme egg and cheese on a roll,’ You can grab an orange juice, a coffee, and you’re out.”
But good food would be key to customers, Joe feels. Any kind, really, as long as neighbors like it. Joe feels strongly the customer base for this area is all local. “Drivers won’t be coming up from Ridge. A business here serves neighborhood people, walking to the tracks or working nearby in Germantown, North Philly, Roxborough, ” he said, “You won’t want to drive down to A-Plus if you can pop in here.”
Serving food would not only require a zoning variance, but also new exhaust fans out the back. A way around such upgrades could be sticking with cold food: fro-yo/ice cream maybe, or perhaps a “Foodery”-esque craft beer/sandwich takeout place like in nearby Roxborough.
Ouch, variances for alcohol take-out would probably be a challenge for this residentially-zoned area, but still… Joe feels people’s alarmist attitudes about beer especially are changing with the times. “That sort of place could definitely work here but let’s cross that hurdle when we come to it,” he told us.
Meanwhile, Conrad Market’s owners are eager to work with the right renters and get a business in here asap. Rent the place for about $1720/month or like $2100/month including rental of all the equipment for a turn-key convenience store that could easily bring in $1200 per day. Joe’s also happy to discuss possible options as far as upgrades and zoning for different enterprises he feels would succeed here.
Petrone Realty has been serving East Falls for over 40 years — from the same office on Conrad Street that Joe’s dad started before Joe was born. Joe Jr’s got a unique perspective on our area’s history and dynamics, his insights no doubt would be very helpful for any prospective local business owner.
If you’ve ever dreamed about being your own boss or running a cute corner store in the neighborhood, now’s a great time to talk to Joe! Not only is Conrad Market’s space available, but so is the former art gallery and also the pet shop/dentist office off Sunnyside.
Here’s hoping with all the new residential construction adding up, we’re ripe for a corresponding business boom in the heart of East Falls.