The Lead

How Made in America impacted Philly’s small businesses

By: - September 6, 2022 12:30 pm
OCF Coffee House on Fairmount Avenue from @ocfcoffeehouse Instagram

OCF Coffee House on Fairmount Avenue in Philadelphia (Image via @ocfcoffeehouse Instagram).

The Jay-Z founded, Made in America music festival returned to Philadelphia over the Labor Day weekend, hosting 30-plus performances, including global phenomenon’s Bad Bunny and Tyler the Creator.  

Over the years, the two-day festival has brought together thousands of tourists and Philadelphians to celebrate the holiday weekend. However, it has also had an impact on the surrounding residential community, especially small businesses.    

Fairmount Avenue sits adjacent to Benjamin Franklin Parkway where the MIA music festival takes place. The neighborhood houses local restaurants, bars, coffee shops and businesses.   

Heather Rodkey, general manager of OCF Coffee House, highlights the great amount of business the festival brings to the three different locations around the city. Fairmount’s location sees the greatest increase of customers due to the proximity of people in the surrounding area. The South Street location is a natural draw for tourists, but the Point Breeze location also generates a rise in customers due to people staying in Airbnb’s in that area for the weekend.   

“We prepare our locations for the holiday weekend by bringing in an increased stock of smoothie fruits, bagels and staff members,” Rodkey told the Capital-Star. “Our locations see a lot of festival goers stop in for a morning bagel or coffee, to get off to the right start prior to going into the day of music. By the second day, people are seeking a refreshing and healthy drink, which is why we make sure to stock up on smoothie fruits.”   

However, for Plant’s, Etc., a local plant and flower shop owned by Dana Kalins, the influx of traffic and crowds affects her business, as well as the neighborhood residents.   

“A lot of the residents in the neighborhood leave for the holiday weekend in order to escape the noise and crowds that the music festival brings. Even though the festival is a few blocks away, you are still able to hear the music and even see the large screens from some locations.” Kalins said. “I am closed during Labor Day weekend, but the traffic around the city prior to the festivities may have an effect on my end of the week deliveries.” 

Kalins said the music festival has been rolling in equipment throughout the week in order to set up. This has brought an influx of buses and noise down Fairmount Avenue during the daytime.  

 “Though my business sits close Parkway, Center City is likely to attract most of crowds in the evening after the festival ends,” Kalins told the Capital-Star. “I know of some businesses will even close early in the late afternoon to avoid any disruption from festival goers after the concert is over.” 

Despite the impact the music festival may have throughout the weekend, both Rodkey and Kalins emphasized that it is great to see the city come back to life this summer and look forward to the seasonal change.    

“Socially, this event is great,” Rodkey said. “However, with the amount of highly publicized crime in the city, I hope that this festival remains safe and fun for everyone in attendance.” 

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