Dec 29, 2015

A Supremo Christmas

While I've never shown much enthusiasm for J.B. Reilly's attempt to revitalize downtown through his high end shops, neither has the marketplace. Christmas day, I visited the new Supremo Market on 7th Street, occupying the former Levine's Fabric store. The market was attractive, large, well stocked and mobbed.

There is an old saying that there are more nickels than quarters. I suppose that it should be no surprise that in a city populated by a large percentage of low income people, a well run store geared for that demographic can prosper. What's interesting is that while the taxpayer ponied up a $Billion dollars, so far, for the NIZ, the thriving Supremo costs us nothing. While the Morning Call writes one promotion after another for Reilly's portfolio, there is nothing said about the real success story in Allentown.

Let me provide some history.  Once upon a time,  that was the busiest block on 7th Street. The building was built as a Sears and Roebucks in the early 1950's, using a plan duplicated in other cities. The store did well competing with the three local department stores, and was first to go suburban.

Talking of history, some may notice a new item on this blog's sidebar. It's a picture of a Mack Truck Magazine cover, which was printed each month. I have titled the new insertion, LOCAL HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE.  Hopefully, the local political shenanigans will slow down, so I can devote more posts to our rich history.

stock photo from Supremo website


Dave said...

Glad to read that the Supremo market is doing well. Haven't been in that building since Sears left for the Whitehall Mall in 1966, although I grew up in that neighborhood.

This shows that the law of Supply and Demand works, even in the era of crony capitalism.

Anonymous said...

Nice photo. A 'neighborhood' is made up of local people doing local things. Not people driving miles and miles for 8 hours of work and then heading home to pick up the kiddies at daycare. It would be nice to see the establishment of a local diner/restaurant that the locals can take their families too on occasion. Nothing like breakfast out after Sunday morning church services.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad it's far enough north from the NIZ that when JB puts a supermarket in (which I hear is being discussed), then Supremo should be fine and not more roadkill to the "Allentown Renaissance."

Best of luck to them!

The Banker

LVCI said...

My own experience in that building-- When I was a young un my dad worked there for a time in maintenance. He took me there to visit. I remember pulling the levers in the freight elevator above the two loading docks to the third floor away from the public areas on the first two floors. I had the opportunity to visit the roof which had water to help cool the building where ducks resided & the elevator control house.

On the third floor was a rather large cafeteria, conference room and some stock areas. There were two advertising rooms where they'd make the newspaper ads by hand and where two operators would patch the calls to areas below for the store.

I also was allowed to spend time in the shoe area where they had a x-ray machine where you could see your feet for shoe fitting (unbeknownst to the health dangers at the time).

Sears was the very first company in the world to introduce 'revolving credit' which was what we refer to as credit cards these days. Up until that time people would have to go to banks to open installment loans for each purchase they wanted to make.

Anonymous said...

FREE ENTERPRISE has always been alive and well in Allentown, PA. THe problem is the "Powers That Be" want to control it...

Alfonso Todd

Anonymous said...

i admire any business competing and winning against the crony capitalism at 7th and Hamilton sts. I work at Weinstein Supply at 250 W Hamilton which has been here since 1980 when there was nothing left of the neighborhood between 2nd and 3rd sts except the old Wm H Taylor building, in which we reside. We presently deal with the sorry condition of the Terminal RR station across S 3rd st from us, abandoned and derelict once again. Litter strewn about the premises, and three blocks west, Shangri-La... reminds me of Atlantic City in 1977.