Mar 8, 2016

Jerry and The Cookie Lady


I'd usually pull in around 6:30 a.m., Jerry had the coffee made and maybe a deputy sheriff or two had already arrived. Downtown is nice in the early morning, most of the unsavory characters are not early risers. Jerry had opened the coffee and cold sandwich shop in around 2004 in the 500 Block of Hamilton Street. By 7:30 several City Councilmen, a few cops, a couple of gadflies and other assorted early morning types would be pontificating on solutions for Allentown. It sure didn't hurt Allentown to have twenty or so gainfully employed people start their day on Hamilton Street. Jerry had started his shop the old fashion way, with his own money. Toward the end of 2005, to accommodate several customers, Jerry made a few eggs on a flat George Forman Grill. Come 2006, the new regime insisted on a code compliant grill, exhaust and fire suppression system, for a couple eggs; The necessary architectural drawings alone would cost thousands. Because his location in the building didn't lend itself to a feasible exhaust system, Jerry was forced to relocate. Again, totally with his own money, Jerry moved his shop up to the corner of 7th and Hamilton. I'll spare all the details, but he could have built a nuclear reactor with no more bureaucracy. Jerry will never recoup his investment (his life savings) because the city closed the building in 2008 because of violations on upper floors which were not in use. That abuse of power is chronicled on several posts on this blog.

Vicky, the cookie lady, opened her very small shop about the same time the city was forcing Jerry out of business. Her shop, Vicky's Sweet Spot, opened in a building operated by one developer who received multiple facade grants from the city. These locations are easily identifiable from the same appearance, stained wood fronts. Although Vicky's shop is only about 250 sq. ft., only sold coffee and cookies, she received a $10,000 restaurant grant from The City of Allentown. Her grant and other similar ones are chronicled on several posts on this blog and of course she was introduced on Allentown Good News. I patronized her shop several times. The last time, right before she closed the business earlier this year, I noticed she was making eggs on a small grill.

I shouldn't have to elaborate on the conclusions, but there are so many apologists in this city, let me spell it out. One man invests his life savings, works his butt off, and gets nothing but grief from City Hall. Another person gets set up for a free ride at taxpayer expense. Vicky's, even after first opening, kept irregular hours and was often closed. I doubt if the whole show; rent, equipment, etc. used up the 10 grand; maybe that's why she called it the Sweet Spot.

This post is reprinted from August of 2009, and is a prelude to tomorrow's post. Study it well, there will be a quiz.

ADDENDUM: My take on Allentown's new retail program,  Cookie Crumbs For The Little People, will publish about 10:00AM

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great piece - love the ending!

Anonymous said...

Michael,
I was one of the regulars at Jerry's first location, as well you remember. It was a "rollicking" good way to start the day, as I had just retired from business....Vicky's had good baked goods. I didn't know know she was "underwritten" with a tax payers grant.
"The Old Allentown Curmudgeon" Paul Fiske

Anonymous said...

Allentown.
What can you say.

Anonymous said...

Vicky we have another 15k in Upside Allentown. Upside Allentown?

Anonymous said...

Been to New York. Uptown ,upper east side, the village, downtown. What the hell is an upside?

michael molovinsky said...

@8:41, Upside is an organization for the promotion of center city allentown, the city without limits

Anonymous said...

Why don't we just have a 150k kegger and bonfire with the money? upside wow.

alfonso todd said...

MM, I was there, during that time, and interviewed both businesses and, unfortunately, the irregularity and unfairness goes on. I just saw the article regarding the new "contest" and all I can say is we really need to give the City a lesson on Business 101. You can't create a need or demand by just hoping they appear. Even back then, with all of the places forced closed and displaced, the only ones who survived were us organically made with a purpose.


Alfonso Todd

Dreaming of Justice said...

I think you should write a made for TV series. I really do.

michael molovinsky said...

alfonso@9:43, i suppose it's another lottery for the little people, and they're fashioning the contest/program after a reality television show. i suppose that they don't realize that those shows are fake. this post is an introduction to that nonsense, which i will present later this morning around 10:00am

alfonso todd said...

They also don't realize Macys, Walmart, and other brick and mortar stores are closing at a ridiculously fast rate. Unsure why they chose retail and made a closed market contest? They could have left it open and given opportunity to all industry ideas as well as those who don't have a 100.00 entry fee. Smh....

Alfonso Todd

Anonymous said...

2:28 Shark Tank is legit. They , the Sharks, use their own money. Once again taxpayer money is being used by a group of bureaucrats to social engineer another of their ideas. Who in their right mind would jump thru all the hoops for 15 k. You will be told who to hire, what to pay. Name all the taxpayer subsidized businesses ( non niz) that have succeeded in Alentown. Go.

LVCI said...

The "Upside" Program
Grants are like a game show having a panel of judges picking winners and losers. Often times these awards are handed out to those ineligible for bank loans because they are too high a risk. Grants tend to favor creating supply greater then market demand. More appropriately it should be called "The Upside Down Program".

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush
If we're going to absolutely insist on handing out grants they should go towards helping current local small business owners run their business better. Things like teaching them how to do their own bookkeeping. How to go about applying for a loan or what regulations are required of them.

Anonymous said...

This latest scam is a bunch of useless people using my money to rent their friends empty store fronts to people that don't have a snowballs chance.

michael molovinsky said...

@10:01, if i'm unclear in this or the next post, i couldn't think less of the program or the people endorsing it.

Anonymous said...

Still miss the Mornings, at Jerry's. shame what happened.


Ted Yost