The Port Richmond Business Alliance: Sticking Up For the Little Guy
It’s tough out there for a small business owner. You have to find and maintain customers, balance your budget and create a sustainable business plan all at the same time. There are only so many hours in a day and after all that work just to turn a profit, it can seem impossible to find the time to represent and advocate for your business interests. Life may feel like a struggle as you try to to avoid feeling ”burnt out.” This is where organizations like the Port Richmond Business Alliance (PRBA) step in
Jon Frey, owner of Richmond Computer (3049 Almond Str.) and president of PRBA, helped start the organization when a group of business owners realized that they had no unified voice to represent themselves.
“In early 2014, several business owners in Port Richmond along the Allegheny Avenue and Richmond Street corridors recognized that there was no organization to represent the interests of business owners in Port Richmond and felt that a unified organization could help fill that void and contribute in a positive way to the community,” Frey said.
PRBA’s membership consists of businesses ranging from confectionaries to bars to family doctors to computer shops. In order to be eligible for membership, a business must be located in between Castor Avenue, Lehigh Avenue, Cedar Street and the Delaware River. On the group’s website, pbralliance.org, they break down their goal into five steps:
- Establish an organization of business persons representative of the business and professional interests of Port Richmond.
- Promote and encourage the creation and expansion of businesses in Port Richmond.
- Establish a business climate favorable to Port Richmond-based businesses.
- Encourage participation of local and regional business persons and organizations in all things related to Port Richmond business, professional, and industrial development.
- Unite the business community in Port Richmond and promote a greater sense of business and social unity in the PRBA membership.
Frey sums it up much more simply by saying, “The Alliance is focused on bringing business owners together who are interested in actively working to improve the business climate in Port Richmond and make a positive impact on the community.”
The PRBA holds a meeting on the second Wednesday of each month at 8:15 AM in the annex at St. Adalbert’s church (2657 E. Allegheny Ave.). Representatives from organizations and groups that may be of interest to Port Richmond business owners come to these meetings to speak to PRBA members about topics that concern them. For example, in the past they have had the city’s commerce department talk about how to apply for loans to improve their storefront and have had SEPTA talk about the improvements happening to Route 15, a trolley that travels through the heart of Port Richmond’s business district.
They also help organize neighborhood events like Port Richmond Second Saturdays, put together by Wayne Bullock, owner of Sweets & Treats (3138 Richmond St.) and Vice President of the PRBA. Second Saturdays feature food, local performers, music and vendors from locally-owned small businesses coming out and celebrating the day on the 3100 block of Richmond Street. It’s Port Richmond’s answer to the First Fridays that each month draw crowds to 2nd Street in Olde City and Frankford Avenue in Fishtown. The next Second Saturday is happening September 12.
The PRBA is also looking towards the future in their actions. One of the projects the group is currently working on is establishing a scholarship that will benefit students who attend the local parochial schools. The group is organizing a “Taste of Port Richmond” event to raise money for the scholarship. The event will feature neighborhood favorites from 15 local establishments as well as red carpet photos and surprise performances. Tickets for the October 14 event cost $25 in advance or $30 at the door.
They also want a say in what the Port Richmond of tomorrow will look like and have a plan for exacting their vision. “In the long run, the Alliance hopes to establish working relationships with other neighborhood organizations such as PROPAC, and the City Planning Commission to be involved in helping shape the future of Port Richmond,” said Frey.
Interested in becoming a member of the PRBA? It’s easy! Simply attend one of their monthly meetings and ask a member for an application. Alternatively, you can also download the application here and mail it in. Membership is $50 per annum.