Bottom Dollar could come to Brewerytown

Res­id­ents who have long fought for a su­per­mar­ket on Gir­ard Av­en­ue in Brew­erytown may fi­nally have found a ray of hope in Bot­tom Dol­lar Foods, a re­tail chain look­ing to take root in the Philly mar­ket.

@font-face { font-fam­ily: "Times New Ro­man"; }@font-face { font-fam­ily: "Cen­tury725 Bd­Cn BT"; }@font-face { font-fam­ily: "Frank­lin­Goth­ic"; }p.MsoN­or­mal, li.MsoN­or­mal, div.MsoN­or­mal { mar­gin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 10pt; font-fam­ily: Times; }table.MsoN­or­malT­able { font-size: 10pt; font-fam­ily: "Times New Ro­man"; }p.bylinetop, li.bylinetop, div.bylinetop { mar­gin: 0in 255pt 0.0001pt 0in; line-height: 12pt; font-size: 12pt; font-fam­ily: "Cen­tury725 Bd­Cn BT"; let­ter-spa­cing: -0.25pt; }p.byline­bot­tom, li.byline­bot­tom, div.byline­bot­tom { mar­gin: 0in 255pt 9pt 0in; line-height: 11.5pt; font-size: 9pt; font-fam­ily: Frank­lin­Goth­ic; let­ter-spa­cing: -0.25pt; }div.Sec­tion1 { page: Sec­tion1; }   @font-face { font-fam­ily: "Times New Ro­man"; }@font-face { font-fam­ily: "Bask­erville MT"; }@font-face { font-fam­ily: "Frank­lin­Goth­ic"; }p.MsoN­or­mal, li.MsoN­or­mal, div.MsoN­or­mal { mar­gin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 10pt; font-fam­ily: Times; }table.MsoN­or­malT­able { font-size: 10pt; font-fam­ily: "Times New Ro­man"; }p.bask­ervil­le­bo­dy­type, li.bask­ervil­le­bo­dy­type, div.bask­ervil­le­bo­dy­type { mar­gin: 0in 255pt 0.0001pt 0in; text-align: jus­ti­fy; text-in­dent: 11.95pt; line-height: 11pt; font-size: 10pt; font-fam­ily: "Bask­erville MT"; let­ter-spa­cing: -0.25pt; }p.trail­er, li.trail­er, div.trail­er { mar­gin: 6pt 255pt 0.0001pt 0in; line-height: 9pt; bor­der: me­di­um none; pad­ding: 0in; font-size: 8pt; font-fam­ily: Frank­lin­Goth­ic; let­ter-spa­cing: -0.25pt; }div.Sec­tion1 { page: Sec­tion1; } It may have been a long time com­ing — and plans are still far from fi­nal — but the Brew­erytown com­munity might fi­nally have ac­cess to a loc­al su­per­mar­ket.

Dur­ing a Thursday, April 28 meet­ing at Cel­eb­ra­tion Place, a church at Gir­ard Av­en­ue and 27th Street, state Rep. Michelle Brown­lee (D-195th dist.), City Coun­cil­man Dar­rell Clarke (D-5th dist.) and rep­res­ent­at­ives from the Bot­tom Dol­lar Food su­per­mar­ket chain presen­ted a plan to bring a store to the cur­rently va­cant site at 31st Street and Gir­ard Av­en­ue.

Ini­tially, there was some con­cern amid res­id­ents that the politi­cians might have wanted to sneak the meet­ing by, be­cause it was sched­uled on the last Thursday of the month, a typ­ic­al day for com­munity groups to hold their own sep­ar­ate meet­ings.

Also, Adam Lang, of the West Gir­ard Su­per­mar­ket Co­ali­tion, said his group wasn’t no­ti­fied of the meet­ing.

But, Clarke took blame for the mis­take, say­ing the date was moved at the last minute be­cause one of the presenters, Jeff Smith, real es­tate de­vel­op­ment man­ager for Bot­tom Dol­lar Food, couldn’t make a pre­vi­ous date.

Fol­low­ing the present­a­tion, Lang said he was sat­is­fied with Clarke’s reas­on­ing.

The plan shown that even­ing would see an 18,279 square foot su­per­mar­ket brought to the tri­an­gu­lar site that has been no­tori­ously dif­fi­cult to de­vel­op — many plans in the past have struggled with design con­cerns.

In fact, in 2008, the Com­munity Design Col­lab­or­at­ive, a Phil­adelphia-based vo­lun­teer design cen­ter, se­lec­ted the site as part of an “In­fill Phil­adelphia” design com­pet­i­tion spe­cific­ally be­cause of the chal­len­ging lay­out of the land at that 2.8 acre area.

This pro­posed plan would also in­clude an ad­di­tion­al 5,000 square feet for smal­ler ad­join­ing shops and a row of about 16 to 18 new town­homes in the rear of the com­plex. These homes would be built by Westrum De­vel­op­ment.

The design would also in­clude a park­ing lot for 94 vehicles.

Oth­er op­er­at­ors have at­temp­ted to bring a mar­ket to this site in the past, but all on hand said this one is dif­fer­ent.

Bot­tom Dol­lar is a branch of the North Car­o­lina based Food Li­on, which op­er­ates about 1,300 stores na­tion­wide and is it­self a branch of the lar­ger Brus­sels-based Del­haize Group.

That means, or­gan­izers said, this is a well-fin­anced cor­por­a­tion with the means to bring the multi-mil­lion dol­lar pro­ject — though rep­res­ent­at­ives wer­en’t sure of a fi­nal cost — to fruition.

It wouldn’t be the com­pany’s first for­ay in­to the Phil­adelphia area. Bot­tom Dol­lar has opened a few area stores, in­clud­ing one re­cently at Broad Street and God­frey Av­en­ue, in the West Oak Lane sec­tion of the city.

“It’s not a dol­lar store,” said Smith, eas­ing some ini­tial con­cern that the term “Bot­tom Dol­lar” meant lower qual­ity foods.

“We do get a little bit of con­fu­sion with that. It relates to our low prices. That’s what you’re go­ing to see,” he as­sured the audi­ence.

In fact, Smith said not only would the store not be a “dol­lar store” but it would carry at least 70 per­cent na­tion­al brands and would have a butcher on-site to pre­pare fresh meats.

And, he said, as Phil­adelphia is one of the re­gions in the coun­try where his com­pany sees the most de­mand for fresh foods, there will also be a large walk-in fruit and pro­duce cool­er to keep fruits and ve­g­gies as fresh as pos­sible.

“We try to of­fer what our cus­tom­ers want the most,” he said. “We want to be good com­munity part­ners.”

In fact, he said, the store wants to be act­ive in the com­munity — sim­il­ar stores hold fun­drais­ing events for sol­diers over­seas or loc­al schools, he said — and there will be a “com­munity am­bas­sad­or” at the store to or­gan­ize loc­al events.

While plans are early and there will be a fu­ture com­munity meet­ing to help fine-tune the pro­ject, Smith said the Brew­erytown store would be de­signed sim­il­arly to the one at Broad Street and God­frey Av­en­ue.

As with that store, he said, Bot­tom Dol­lar in­tends to hold a job fair in the neigh­bor­hood and ex­pects to hire about 100 people to staff the busi­ness.

Ann Horsey, a Brew­erytown res­id­ent who man­ages the Broad Street store, said she loves work­ing there and she’d be proud to have a Bot­tom Dol­lar in her com­munity.

“They don’t take away from the com­munity, they do give back,” she said.

Res­id­ents on hand ex­pressed a num­ber of con­cerns about the planned pro­ject, in­clud­ing wor­ries of in­creased traffic due to cus­tom­ers and trucks mak­ing de­liv­er­ies.

Or­gan­izers replied that the area was de­signed with smal­ler de­liv­ery trucks in mind, with de­liv­er­ies at the rear of the build­ing be­hind a new row of trees and fen­cing.

They said there would likely be one lar­ger tract­or-trail­er de­liv­ery per day. Rep­res­ent­at­ives were open to schedul­ing de­liv­er­ies to avoid in­ter­rupt­ing rush hour traffic flow.

The group is await­ing a meet­ing with the city’s Streets De­part­ment to ex­am­ine the im­pact on area traffic.

Also, some wor­ried Westrum’s planned homes might not in­deed be built.

However, Brown­lee re­dir­ec­ted con­cern, re­mind­ing the res­id­ents that they were there to talk about a plan for a su­per­mar­ket.

“What we want to­night is feed­back,” she told the audi­ence. “We are not go­ing to be mak­ing a lot of moves without com­munity in­volve­ment.”

At the end of the meet­ing, it seemed most of the room favored the idea, with Lang, of the su­per­mar­ket co­ali­tion, say­ing he es­pe­cially ap­pre­ci­ated that the com­pany already opened a mar­ket in Phil­adelphia.

He said that in­stead of of­fer­ing res­id­ents a look at a store in an­oth­er state, he ap­pre­ci­ated that they poin­ted to the West Oak Lane Bot­tom Dol­lar as a tem­plate.

“This seems to be the most pol­ished pro­ject I’ve seen so far,” said Lang. “It’s a prom­ising start.”

Mark Smith, a lifelong Brew­erytown res­id­ent, said that the last time he re­mem­bers a su­per­mar­ket in the com­munity, was when he worked in a loc­al shop as a young man.

Without a loc­al mar­ket, he’s seen res­id­ents — es­pe­cially the eld­erly — strug­gling to make long trips on pub­lic trans­port­a­tion to shop for gro­cer­ies.

“This area needs this second chance,” he said.

Jean Gei­ger, a Brew­erytown res­id­ent for over 48 years, was es­pe­cially con­cise when asked if she ap­proved of the plan.

“Bring it on,” she said with a grin.

After the meet­ing, Clarke said in the com­ing weeks, the de­veloper will be meet­ing with city and state rep­res­ent­at­ives to find out if there are any eco­nom­ic de­vel­op­ment funds avail­able for the pro­ject. 

They will then re­turn to the com­munity in an up­com­ing meet­ing to dis­cuss fur­ther spe­cif­ics of the plan.

If ap­proved, the pro­ject will take about nine months for con­struc­tion and pro­ject rep­res­ent­at­ives said if everything goes well, they hope to open some­time in 2012.

“Yes, I do sup­port this,” said Clarke when asked about the pro­ject. “I think every­body wants something to be de­veloped there. We want to make sure it’s a pos­it­ive and not a neg­at­ive. But, I think this is a pos­it­ive thing.”

Also, no po­s­i­tions are yet avail­able at the pro­posed store, but Bot­tom Dol­lar is look­ing for ad­di­tion­al staff at its Broad Street and God­frey Av­en­ue loc­a­tion.

For more in­form­a­tion, vis­it­tom­dol­lar­­reers.asp

Re­port­er Hay­den Mit­man can be reached at 215-354-3124 or hmit­ 

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