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Mount Airy Village Fair draws crowds

The annual Mount Airy Village Fair centered around the Greene and Carpenter Street intersection in the Mount Airy section of Northwest Philadelphia featured a variety of vendors and organizations and exhibitors. It was full of  food, music, dance, crafts,  family and children's activities, contests, pets for adoption, farm animals (watch recorded Periscope broadcast here) and more on a sunny Sunday, September 11, 2016. Here are a couple of video interviews conducted by your Fair going correspondent.

Teaching Detroit Style Ballroom Dance

June and Audrey Donaldson learned Detroit Style ballroom dancing at a dance conference in Cleveland in 2010 where they were teaching Philly  bop.  June relates that the style  originated in a very large ballroom in Detroit called the Graystone. The dancers move smoothly and closely and incorporate the "step-in-1-2-3" of the cha-cha. The self-called "Bopologists" have been teaching Detroit style ballroom ever since and were dancing out on the street during the annual Mount Airy Village Fair in Philadelphia to promote their course through the Mount Airy Learning Tree. Watch video here.

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Silver Fork Club Ambassadors offer veggie skewer samples

Through the Silver Fork Club's online presence, eaters too busy to cook can browse the offerings of local chefs and have a home-cooked meal delivered to them or arrange for a pick-up. Young ambassadors at the Mount Airy Village affair offered free cooked veggie skewers to promote the service's imminent Philadelphia launch. Watch video here.


Meet these local soapmakers

They make soap and more

Watch video here.

Tim Minor and Theresa Peoples who originally were in IT fields started a bath and body business 14 years ago because they wanted soap where good ingredients like shea butter, coconut and olive oils were the primary constituents. Theresa concocts the soaps and Tim builds the molds to hold them. They experiment with new products: pureed cucumbers work just fine for their "cool cucumber" but not all fruits are amenable to the hot, lye using process. The couple also runs a mobile spa, giving massages and applying their fragrant essences. They were outside of Weavers Way Coop, one location where they market their locally produced products, as part of "meet the makers day."


Uber Pool confuses riders

Úber Pool confuses riders

I was the first of three riders and we were all a little confused about how many potential riders there could be, how far out of our way we'd be going, who would be dropped off first and how the fare would be split if we're all starting and ending at different locations. We did conclude that we saved some money, lost some time and our driver had to work harder with all the intermediate pickups and drop offs. Watch video interview here.


"Spite" fence goes up

Chestnut Hill Spite Fence

A tall chain-link fence recently appeared dividing the narrow walkway between two buildings on Germantown Avenue in the posh Chestnut Hill shopping district in northwest Philadelphia. And now, next to it a sign that reads "Snowden's Spite Fence." George Hobe says the fence went up between his antiques store and a building owned by Richard Snowden/ Bowman Properties after Hobe refused to sell his building to Snowden. Hobe maintains the walkway has long been a public thoroughfare, that the fence is illegal and that the Philadelphia Department of Licenses and Inspections has not addressed complaints against the fence. During our interview Hobe retrieved a working Monopoly boardgame from inside his store called "The Game of Chestnut Hill." Snowden, who owns a large and ever growing proportion of the properties along the corridor, is presumably the inspiration for the unique Chestnut Hill version of Monopoly. Watch video interview here.


Bee boys skeptical about flow hives

Bee boy with demo hive

Bee Boy  Ryan Williamson is happy for any technology advancement that raises the profile of beekeeping but has reservations about the so called flow hive with preformed plastic combs. New beekeepers who think all they have to do is turn the handle and out will come honey risk harming the bees. He also believes that comb building is in the bees' genetic coding and something that they are meant to do and is good for them. The Bee Boys  are organic beekeepers whose simple mission, according to their website  is to support the honeybees! At the right in photo is Bee Boy Kevin O'Connor. Watch Video here.

 

 


Nirvana restuarant opens- fills house

cu nirvana indian restuarant

Anita Chhantyal didn't know why the Nirvana Indian restaurant she and her husband had just relocated to Lafayette HIll from Conshohocken was filling up this opening night. But she suspected that others like your correspondent and his wife,  had simply seen the "Nirvana" and "Open" signs draped over the old sign, "The Lucky Dog." The dog's luck must have run out.

Natives of Nepal, Chhantyal and her chef husband, are donating 20% of proceeds the first few days to the Nepalese earthquake relief effort. More than 10000 people died in the disaster, Chhantyal reports, and a niece of hers is recovering from leg injuries.

When they were not pausing for impromptu interviews,two young American waitresses with enthusiasm for Indian food, bustled around filling orders from eager first night patrons.

Watch video here.


Moroccan Uber Driver's American Dream

Uber driver from Morocco near perfect

Adil Tijer, an immigrant from Morocco, drives a “black car” for Uber, a service which connects riders with drivers through its mobile apps. On your correspondent’s first trip with Uber, Tijer explained driver licensing, passenger insurance and Uber’s rating system. But for the occasional late night drunk, Tijer’s rating might be a perfect 5-star.  The rating system works both ways. Uber drivers get to rate their riders, too, and drivers can refuse to accept a fare. Watch video ride and interview here.

Tijer worked previously as a medical assistant and pizza deliveryman. He visits friends and family back home every year and describes his country as a democracy, tolerant of different religious practices, where the people love their king. Tijer, now an American citizen, came to the U.S. as one of the quota-set 2500 Moroccans who won the lottery some years ago and hopes to own his own store one day. He lives in Northeast Philadelphia where he says there is a sizable Moroccan community. Watch video interview here.


The Fresh Market Rises in Chestnut Hill

Helen Ambrose watches construction progress of The Fresh Market store and condominium complex in Chestnut Hill with mixed feelings. A few years ago Ambrose and her neighbors were commiserating about how dead the Germantown Avenue corridor seemed.  She is worried now about the increased traffic the development will bring but still welcomes it. She patronized The Fresh Market store when she lived in North Carolina. “They have amazing meats, seafood and specialty foods,” she says and welcomes more shopping options. She also shops at Trader Joes and Weavers Way Coop and really likes the Chestnut Hill Farmer’s Market (now “Market at the Fareway”) which she hopes can “hang in there.”  Watch video interview here.