Notes from Merchant Breakfast Meeting
March 10, 2004

In an ongoing effort to reach out to as many constituencies as possible, a breakfast meeting with 40th Street area merchants was held on March 10, 2004 from 7:30 to 9:00 a.m. at the Rotunda. What follows are the notes from the meeting.

1. Who uses 40th Street?

o Neighbors
o Students
o People mostly from Market Street area and north.
o College professors to neighbors to people from the city and region.
o Tenants of 3901 Market Street, West Philly residents, members of the University community.
o Guests who attend functions at the banquet hall in 3901 Market Street (seats 250)
o Synergy created by magnets such as the FreshGrocer and Bridge Cinema.
o Web users (regional to national).
---- There are virtual users of 40th Street
o Commuters.
---- Staff of Penn and HUP.
o Users vary according to the academic calendar.
---- Required reading for course work.
---- Readers from city and region seeking non-standard material
---- Repeat business over the years.
o High school students.
o People who "hang-out".
o Specialist market customers.
---- i.e. Used furniture market
o Users of transportation hub and network at 40th and Market..

2. What uses are currently bringing people to 40th Street and how do people use the corridor?

o Repeat business and new workers and students.
o Service anchors create opportunity for synergy among other businesses.
---- Cleaner
---- Shoe repair
---- Barber
o Meetings
o The mix of uses draws people.
o Movies
o Restaurants
---- Strong ethnic mix
o People come to "walk" the area.
---- The connection/proximity to the shops at 34th and Walnut creates larger draw.
o Banking
o Availability of parking makes the area useable and attractive.
---- It was felt that this cuts both ways.
o The connection to cultural offerings
---- Annenberg
---- Bridge Cinema
---- Philadanco
o The uses that draw people to the street vary at different times of day and year
---- Day/night
---- Summer/Academic Year
o Professional services and governmental agencies
---- Doctor
---- Day care
---- Social Security

3. What supports and constrains the development of 40th Street?

o Mix of services, products and activities
o Availability of parking
---- Street and garage
o Safety
---- Activity and number of people on the street
---- Lighting
---- UCD and increased police presence
o Availability of parking
---- Street and garage
o The dynamic at the Market Street end
---- Junkies at 40th and Market
---- Relatively high vacancy rate
---- Perception
---- o Safety
---- o Panhandling
o Aesthetics
---- Merchandising
---- Grated shop windows
o History

4. What principles should guide the evolution of 40th Street?

o Create a mix of businesses that serve varying constituencies at different times of day and year along the length of the corridor.
o Ensure that the mix of class and race is positive and that the complexion of the corridor reflects this value.
o Engage in cross-promotion that will unite the corridor. This could include coupons, parking vouchers and a community bulletin board.
o Make the corridor safe, inviting and accessible, which includes addressing the drug problem at 40th and Market.
o Create a broad-based coalition of residents, merchants, customers and institutions to create and sustain the quality of the environment.
o Strengthen connections along the corridor and blur the sharp and distinct edges between the various sections. In order to be successful in smoothing out these sharp differences, focus on critical first-step measures at both the grassroots and institutional levels (i.e. drug dealing) that will improve the quality of the environment.
o Build on existing systems to effect positive change.


© 2004, 40th Street Community Forum and Serendip