West Reading Avenues

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Greater Reading’s hub for arts, shopping and entertainment Winter 2014


Delaney Brown


with Delaney Circle

Holiday G low ON THE AVENUES

Location 5th Avenue Lobby FREE Valet Parking

The Best of The Friends Returns Gift Baskets, Christmas Ornaments, Freshly Decorated Wreaths, Santa’s Attic, Handmade Jewelry, Candles, Crafts, Toys, Pet Merchandise, Gourmet Foods, Cookies, and Baked Goods.

Holiday Sale –

Thursday, December 4 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Something for everyone on your list! Looking for the perfect gift? Shop the 5th Avenue Lobby for Great Selection at Affordable Prices. For more information, call 484-628-8477.

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Escape to the Avenues for some fresh air shopping and give yourself a break from the season that we typically spend in box stores. Far from a mall experience, small businesses and eclectic boutiques are nestled along the Avenues that spread in an accessible walking distance among restaurants, salons, fitness studios and more. During West Reading’s Holiday Glow Celebration, every weekend is an invitation to participate in evening fare and activities. Bring your children out for the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus on the West Reading Fire Truck the night of the annual tree lighting or send your fellas to Men’s Night Out on the Avenue! Around here, personalized shopping is always in season, and as far as celebrations go, there are always plenty of reasons. In this issue, we celebrate new business arrivals, anniversaries and reflect back on seasonal memories. Get swept away by the Avenues’ unique balance of modern day business and old-fashioned charm. Though the weather outside may be less than delightful, the amazing restaurant selection and entertainment offerings for all ages are endless. Being a hub of cultural arts, the borough is lit up with street activity that winds into warm theatres, art galleries, performance centers, fine restaurants and yes – even taverns. On the Avenues, you may just find yourself bumping into Scrooge, winning a Mrs. Claus Contest – or embarking on a caroling pub stroll – whatever makes you merry!

• Sweets and specialty foods • Pet supplies & treats •


ake a walk through West Andréa D. Much, Editor Reading’s winter wonderland Avenues Magazine and see why “It’s a Wonderful andrea@hoffpubs.com Life” on the Avenues! Despite the chilly temperatures, West Reading has its way of warming the heart and soul. Whether it’s as simple as a decadent hot chocolate at one of the charming cafes or a symphony concert at a historical performance venue downtown, there are plenty of reasons to see why even Mrs. Claus loves to run around this charismatic town. With plenty of activities to ring in the most wonderful time of the year, plan to visit the Penn Corridor for a weekend stay and eat, drink and be merry!

It’s A Gift! is stocked with high-quality items perfect for special occasions or a bit of self-indulgence. Many of our items are unique, one of a kind and artisan made. We have an incredible selection of infant, children’s, women’s and home decor items. Thanks to the efforts of more than 60 dedicated volunteers, our nonprofit shop has been able to contribute the proceeds from our sales to local charities—many of which benefit women and children. A gift from the Woman’s Exchange is definitely a gift that gives twice!

720 Penn Avenue, West Reading, PA 19611 | 610-373-0960 Tues., Wed., Fri., Sat. 10-6, Thurs. 10-7, Closed Sun. & Mon.

Hostess gifts • Pottery • Pillows • Glassware


Jewelry • Home décor • Wedding gifts •

Christening gowns • Toys • Baby & toddler clothing •

WELCOME //// from the editor

Nobody Does “I Do” Like London Blue

Nobody Does "I Do" Like London Blue

See you on the Avenues! 639 PENN AVENUE, WEST READING, PA 610-378-1111 LONDONBLUEJEWELERS.COM

Nobody Does "I Do" lovewestreading.org Like London Blue


Helpful Arts, Culture & Business Links Art Plus Gallery artplusgallery.org Berks Arts Council berksarts.org Berks Jazz Fest berksjazzfest.com The Gallery Above Penn Square galleryabovepennsquare.com GoggleWorks Center for the Arts goggleworks.org Greater Reading Chamber of Commerce and Industry greaterreadingchamber.org Greater Reading Convention & Visitors Bureau gogreaterreading.com

We provide personal and commercial coverage.

Greater Reading Economic Partnership greaterreading.com RACC - Miller Center for the Arts racc.edu/MillerCenter R/C Reading Movies 11 & IMAX rctheatres.com/loc_reading.asp

Edward J. Kuhn Funeral Home Located in West Reading for over 75 years,

Edward J. Kuhn Funeral Home

has been providing caring, professional care to their community for three generations.

Reading Downtown Improvement District downtownreading.com Reading Public Museum readingpublicmuseum.org Reading Symphony Orchestra readingsymphony.org Santander Arena (Previously Sovereign Center) santander-arena.com Santander Performing Arts Center (Previously Sovereign Performing Arts Center) santander-arena.com Schuylkill River National & State Heritage Area schuylkillriver.org West Reading Community Revitalization Foundation wrcrf.org West Reading Main Street lovewestreading.org

Edward J. Kuhn, Jr., Supervisor 610.374.5440


Avenues Winter 2014

739 Penn Avenue, West Reading, PA 19611 kuhnfuneralhome.com

Wyomissing Borough co.berks.pa.us/wyomissing The Yocum Institute for Arts Education institute-of-arts.org

CONTENTS //// winter 2014

CONTACT INFORMATION Publisher, Tracy Hoffmann Hoffmann Publishing Group, Inc. Design, Kim Lewis 2921 Windmill Road Reading, PA 19608 HoffmannPublishing.com 610.685.0914 Avenues@HoffPubs.com

ADVERTISING 610.685.0914 ext. 1 Sales@HoffPubs.com

BOROUGH BUSINESS West Reading Borough 500 Chestnut Street West Reading, PA 19611 WestReadingBorough.com 610.374.8273

WEST READING MAINSTREET PROGRAM West Reading Community Revitalization Foundation 500 Chestnut Street West Reading, PA 19611 WRCRF.org 610.685.8854 View the Digital Version of West Reading Avenues online at lovewestreading.org The opinions expressed in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. All rights reserved. No portion of this publication may be reproduced electronically or in print without the express written permission of the publisher. West Reading Avenues is published quarterly {Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter}.


Holiday G low





32 Economic Development

New & Improved On the Avenues

10 20 Years of Sisterhood 11 The Other End of the Penn Corridor Avenues

12 Building New Bridges in West Reading

13 A Retailer’s Perspective

in West Reading

ARTS & CULTURE 34 Art Plus Gallery: Wearable Art


From the Editor

14 Winter on the Avenues

HOLIDAY GLOW 18 West Reading’s Holiday Glow

19 Lighting Up the Holiday Season Delaney Circle Dedication

20 Holiday Glow Celebration 22 The 4th Annual Run Santa Run 24 A Christmas Carol 26 Tips for Healthy Eating Over the Holidays

29 A Day in the Life of... 30 Nostalgic Business Stories lovewestreading.org


IN THE KNOW & ON THE GO //// new & improved

New & Improved on the Avenues ANNIVERSARIES

5 Years of Hello Bluebird Five years ago, Alex McCarty set out to create a business on her own terms. Hello Bluebird is an indie brick and mortar boutique that offers handmade goods that seem to make the world better – at least that’s what McCarty was hoping for when she opened this shop full of quirky gifts.

A community bank. Funding community projects.

Sounds like a good formula to us.

It’s hardly possible to leave Hello Bluebird without mixed feelings of wanting to take home so much more and becoming inspired to create some crafts of your own. The cheerful merchandise is an eclectic blend of handcrafted, eco-friendly and socially-conscious goods supplied by local artists. It’s the type of merchandise that can save one from having a bad day. “My grandmother worked in retail for thirty years,” McCarty explains. “It was her dream to have her own shop. I opened Hello Bluebird for her.” Since she was familiar with the Avenues and found the area adorable in its renaissance, McCarty set up shop in West Reading. Since its opening in 2009, Hello Bluebird has represented about 250 independent artists. After spending years as a sales rep, McCarty has been able to return to the idea of incorporating a more real approach to buying while building greater communities. “It’s a cycle of people helping people,” McCarty explains. “When you open a gift made by a real person, there are layers of thoughtfulness that the gift recipient feels.” Starting Black Friday through the holiday season, each week a local artist’s pop-up shop is featured at this shop. Step into Hello Bluebird and let your imagination take flight in finding a quirky treasure! Like Hello Bluebird on Facebook and check page for seasonal store hours.

Offering a wide variety of business banking services.

1-888-238-3330 | www.VISTBank.com Member FDIC


Avenues Winter 2014

Hello Bluebird

609 Penn Avenue, West Reading, PA 19611 610-750-6642

Integrative Massage & Reiki Healing Arts Studio Celebrates One Year on the Ave West Reading is a fun place to live, work and play, so why not take care of your mind, body and spirit while you’re here? Through extensive training in various massage and bodywork techniques, owner and holistic practitioner Christina Rossi leads clients down a peaceful, relaxing path of self-healing. At the Integrative Massage & Reiki Studio, enlighten you Christina Rossi is a Licensed and Nationally Certified Massage Therapist, Reiki Master/Teacher and Certified Taoist Yoga Teacher. She says, “Learning such healing techniques gives you control to take better care of yourself.” Integrative Massage & Reiki Studio is a soothing, dynamic space that offers a wide variety of massage services to help maintain health on multiple levels. Additional services include reiki, raindrop therapy, crystal healing and aromatherapy. This studio is also an Approved Provider for continued education classes, including Taoist yoga, reiki and massage therapy education.

Pick Someone When Buying or Selling Your Next Home Fine Homes & Estates are my specialty, and Extraordinary homes deserve Extraordinary attention. As the premier Realtor in Berks County, I have used my professional eye, my marketing savvy, my enthusiasm for the business, and my understanding of the process to quickly match buyers and sellers. My sales and marketing skills have made me the most successful agent in Berks County, and I would like to share that success with you. When you are ready to sell or to buy, pick someone who can give you Extraordinary results!

Lisa Tiger

Special Hours and by appointment only. Online booking available at www.integrativemassagereiki.com.

Integrative Massage & Reiki

632 Penn Avenue, West Reading, PA 19611 610-451-9577

LisaTigerHomes.com 610.779.2500 • 610.207.6186 (direct)

Taste of Crepes One Year Anniversary for New Owner The only café of its kind in Berks County, Taste of Crepes has been a West Reading favorite since 2010. Created to bring a taste of France to the Avenue, crepes are handmade before your eyes and embellished with mouth-watering ingredients, from breakfast ham and mozzarella to fresh fruit with caramel and maple syrup. Major decisions come down to whether to limit your taste buds. Before she became the owner of the Corridor’s very own crepe café, Carmela Borelli loved dining at Taste of Crepes with her daughter, Gabriella. Together, they enjoyed savory breakfast crepes and sweet crepes served with powder and whipped cream until Carmela’s daydreams began to run wild. This September, Carmela celebrated her one year anniversary of owning Taste of Crepes, allowing one of her biggest dreams to come true. “Each morning, I walk in and it feels like it’s my first day,” says Carmela. The crepe burners begin heating up before doors even open so that the hot temperature is perfect for the first breakfast serving. Here, the skilled crepe creators expertly handle the culinary utensils to dish out fabulous French crepes with a side of friendly customer service. Mouth-watering flavors are seen before they’re even experienced since the crepe making bar/station is featured behind an open-air window within the café.

Indulge in the Holiday Crepe, available for a limited time in November and December. Turkey, stuffing, gravy, mozzarella cheese and cranberry sauce combine in a freshly baked crepe topped with walnuts to delight the diners in the flavors of the season. Hours: Monday – Thursday, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. and Friday - Sunday, 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Taste of Crepes

617 Penn Avenue, West Reading, PA 19611 610-685-2001



IN THE KNOW & ON THE GO //// new & improved NEW ON THE AVE

Au Production and Management

Bilingual Services Added

“West Reading is like a tiny New York City, so it’s the perfect setting for what we do,” explains Karen Wittmeyer, co-owner of Au Production & Management, where she and business partner Lisa Emkey run Acting up Studio. New to the Avenues, the business aims to provide extraordinary training and truthful talent management to aspiring actors. Stop by and see the new studio to learn about additional workshops and services, like athletic recruitment video production!

Educating customers on the right type of insurance can help protect what matters most in unexpected times. Rothenberger Insurances Services, LLC announces the addition of insurance agent Iris Pantoja who brings helpful bilingual skills to help Spanish-speaking customers select the best coverage plans.

Acting up Studio

326 Penn Avenue , West Reading, PA 19611 859.801.2625 Website coming soon!

Rothenberger Insurance Services

436 Penn Avenue, West Reading, PA 19611 610.406.5827 risquote.com

PRESERVING YOUR PRECIOUS MEMORIES! We convert fading photos and outdated audio, video and film media to high quality DVDs and CDs. • Videotape • 8mm movies • 16mm movies • Slides • Photos

• Cassettes • 8-Track • Reel-to-Reel • Records

Monarch Dance Studio Opens

& Albums

We can produce custom printed discs, dust jackets and covers for quick reference or gifting ideas, and can create multiple copies for the entire family or party. There's still plenty of time before the holidays! We also invite you to inquire about our newest service, Custom Laser Engraving. It's great for novelty ideas and special promotions. Visit our website for file preparation guidelines and hours of operation.

encompassmedia.net 610.372.1010 97 South 5th Avenue West Reading, PA 19611


Avenues Winter 2014

A new dance studio found its home on the second floor of the Fred Astaire Dance Studio, an iconic art deco style building that boasts the corner marquee location in West Reading. Monarch Dance Studio is a non-competitive studio focused on dance as an art form created in the courts of kings – not a sport for winning trophies. Offering a wide variety of dance classes, including a program for dancers with special needs - there's a pair of dance shoes for everyone!

Monarch Dance Studio

603 Penn Ave, 2nd Floor, West Reading, PA 19611 610.816.8434 www.MonarchDanceStudio.com


Bolder Than Before A courageous way to start your day, recharge from shopping or break for business on the Avenue – the BOLD corner at 6th and Penn Avenues continues to become bolder and better here in West Reading. This unique location shares a home to two businesses – Bold Realty, LLC and Café Bold, combining a real estate company with an in-house café. Bold Café is a comfortable, relaxed atmosphere for shoppers and professionals to meet between the dozens of places to visit in the neighborhood. Bold Café, now catered by Cucina Banquet & Catering of Reading, serves up a rotating selection blending French and Italian baked goods. Although Cucina Banquet & Catering is new to the Ave, their services have been catering in Greater Reading for years. Bold Café uses the healthiest selection of ingredients to deliver fresh, delicious treats like cupcakes and scones for the afternoon grind. BOLD was born from the desire to change the ways of doing real estate. The lobby at BOLD is conveniently high-tech – a paperless office with intrepid professional style amidst an aroma of freshly baked pastries, brewed coffees and savory specials in the café below.

Put Us on Your Wishlist This Holiday Season! • Furs & Leathers for Men & Women • Wools

• Accessories • Sizes 0 to Plus Size 643 Penn Ave., West Reading, PA 19611 www.pollackfurs.com Call for Hours: 800-635-4417 or 610-781-4099

“West Reading is somewhere that inspires you to feel creative and do what you want to do,” says Debra, owner of Cucina Banquet & Catering. “We are keeping things bold and out-of-the-box.”

Café Bold

550 Penn Avenue, West Reading, PA 19611 484.651.1049 www.CafeBold.com Hours: Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saturday & Sunday, 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. *Extended hours during 2nd Fridays and other events


Individual & Group Percussion Instruction Reiki Healing Energy Archetype Reading NEW! Brazilian Drumming Class Explore four rooms EXPLORE FOUR ROOMS of unique gifts and enjoy OF UNIQUE GIFTS AND ENJOY playing our musical instruments


641 penn ave. AVE. earthrhythms.com 610.374.3730 641 PENN west reading, pa PA 610.374.3730 earthrhythmsllc@comcast.net WEST READING, lovewestreading.org



20 Years of Sisterhood:

Breast Cancer Support Services of Berks By Francine M. Scoboria


t all started during conversations among women at their kitchen tables. “Breast Cancer Support Services of Berks began in 1994,” said Kathy Kolb, Executive Director and a breast cancer survivor. “It was started by a group of breast cancer survivors who literally discussed the need for this organization around their kitchen tables.” This year, BCSS celebrated its 20-year anniversary of providing hope and friendship to local women diagnosed with breast cancer. Programs include a support phone line for women to call, special events, educational seminars, an annual conference, a library of more than 200 books and DVDs, and Pink Power Nights – free, upbeat support group meetings. The non-profit is powered by donations and more than 100 volunteers, most of whom are breast cancer survivors. Marianne Adam, of Sinking Spring, is one of those volunteers. In 1998, Marianne received the jarring news that she had breast cancer. Her journey included a mastectomy, chemotherapy, and the loss of her hair. Soon after she was diagnosed, Marianne joined a support group at BCSS. Sixteen years later, Marianne’s support group is still gathering to help each other. “Several times a year we have lunch together,” she said. “We have given each other support throughout our lives. It is a special bond. ” Marianne, now 65, served on the BCSS board for several years. She also helped develop and currently directs one of the organization’s signature programs – the Comfort Bag. Many local survivors first discover BCSS when a doctor or nurse hands them a Comfort Bag on their first post-diagnosis visit. The Comfort Bag, put together by BCSS volunteers, includes books about surviving breast cancer, a pink nightgown, a soft pink pillow, a CD of relaxing music, and other items intended to comfort a woman dealing with shock and fear. “They are beautiful and they represent the care and concern that others have for women facing breast cancer,” said Marianne. Volunteers put together the Comfort Bags and deliver them to local hospitals and doctor’s offices. High school students and senior citizens contribute to the Comfort Bags by creating pillows, pins, bracelets, bookmarks and other items.


Avenues Winter 2014

Photo by Gregory P. Pancerev

Marianne Adam, a 16-year breast cancer survivor, surrounded by the Comfort Bags she and other BCSS volunteers create for women who are diagnosed with breast cancer.

“Over the years, our Comfort Bags have reached more than 2,000 newly diagnosed breast cancer patients in Berks County,” said Marianne. Theresa “Terri” Pfennig, of Muhlenberg Township, received one of those Comfort Bags . “I remember, literally, when they told me I had breast cancer, they handed me the Comfort Bag,” said Terri, who was diagnosed one year ago. “When I went home, and I was looking through the bag, it really did make me feel better. I used the pillows constantly, and I still wear the nightshirt. The Comfort Bag made me feel like I was not alone.” With the help of BCSS, and a strong network of family, friends, and neighbors, Terri has survived a double mastectomy, five sessions of chemotherapy, and reconstructive surgery. “I went to a Pink Power Night,” said Terri, 55. “What I found at BCSS was understanding. I knew, if I kept going back, I would feel better. And I did.”

Breast Cancer Support Services of Berks 529 Reading Ave., Suite C, West Reading 610-478-1447 www.bcssberks.org


The Other End of the Penn Corridor Avenues Sinking Spring Grants Move Revitalization Closer


he Borough of Sinking Spring Revitalization Committee (BOSS 2020) has been awarded $783,000 from the State Government to reconstruct the intersection at Penn, Columbia and Cacoosing Avenues. The reconstruction is scheduled for 2016 and will dramatically improve traffic congestion in the Borough’s downtown.

“This is a big leap forward toward building a new downtown for the Borough,” said Charles Coleman, President of the Committee which was created by Borough Council in 2008. “Since then, BOSS 2020 has established an Official Map for new roads, created modern zoning regulations to fit the plan and has completed Land Use and Traffic studies that position the Committee to apply for grant funding,” he said.

Sinking Spring has received three additional grants from the State totaling $621,000 that will focus on the western Penn Avenue area. “In 2015 construction will begin on pedestrian safety improvements that include better traffic controls, new and widened sidewalks, enhanced crosswalks and storm water controls,” said Sam Loth, BOSS 2020 Coordinator. “We also have $5,000 grants for property and business owners along western Penn Avenue to be used to improve storefronts and residences.” For more information on the project or to apply for the private homeowner and business grants contact Sam Loth at 484.269.4902 or samloth@comcast.net.

Our focus is you! We welcome you to unwind in our relaxing professional environment that is truly focused on you. Your complete image and total satisfaction is our goal. We offer a no-tipping environment that ensures a stress free experience that will bring you back for more. You are the reason we are in business and you will continue to be our top priority.

Custom hair design • Coloring & Perming • ComPlete nail Care skin Care • wig Center • Professional salon store free Consultations

Mon. thru Fri. 8:30AM to 8PM ~ Sat. 8:30AM to 5PM ~ Sun. 8:30AM to 2PM 3459 Penn Avenue ~ Sinking Spring, PA 19608 ~ 610-927-3772 Visit us at hotasalon.com for a full list of services and salon details.

eleVen t ime reCiPient

reCiPient eleVen ConseCut iVe years



Building New Bridges in West Reading


f it’s one thing worth cringing over, it’s traffic. No one ever wishes for the extra delays in driving to our destination, but a trifecta of bridge projects in the Greater Reading area over the next few years is guaranteed to bring some heavier volumes to the Avenues. Here are some helpful tips to guide you through the Buttonwood Bridge project that’s soon underway:

There’s plenty of accessible parking! Can’t find a space on Penn Avenue? Look for ‘parking in the back’ at many local businesses. Score spots in the bigger lots – like 6th and Penn or the VF Outlet Village. Depending on what brings you to town , walking the short distance in this pedestrian-friendly borough may be a much brighter idea. Especially if you’re looking to enjoy any neighborhood holiday decorations! There are other tickets to town! Berks Area Regional Transportation Authority (BARTA) operates a public transportation system that provides access to and through the borough for employment, shopping, medical and recreational visits. For more info, visit www.bartabus.com. For more on the Greater Reading bridge projects, visit www.readingbridges.net From Allentown






































Avenues Winter 2014

Take I-78 West to 222 South towards Reading. Continue on 222 South towards Lebanon/Lancaster. Take 422 East towards Pottstown. Take the Penn Avenue, West Reading, or Penn Street, Reading exit.

From Philadelphia E






Take I-76 West to the PA Turnpike (toll road 76W). Take 76 West to the Morgantown exit 298. Proceed through the tollbooth to I-176. Continue for approximately 10 miles and take the 422 West exit. Take 422 West to the Penn Street, Reading, or Penn Avenue, West Reading exit.

From Baltimore Take I-95 to Baltimore Beltway (I-695W), then to I-83 North to York, PA. From there take Route 30 East, to Lancaster, then 222 North to Reading. Merge on to 422 East towards Pottstown. Take the Penn Street, Reading, or Penn Avenue, West Reading exit.

From Harrisburg

Take the PA Turnpike East to Reading exit 286. Continue on 222 North to Reading. Merge on to 422 East towards Pottstown. Take the Penn Street Reading, or Penn Avenue, West Reading exit.


A Retailer’s Perspective:

Prom Season Prep

by Juli Cleaver, Owner, Bella Jules


t’s July. School’s out and summer is in full gear, when what appears in the mail but the World of Prom post card. My initial thought is “wait – prom season just ended,” but really, it’s time to go preview and purchase gowns for next year’s season! I book my flight and hotel for the biggest prom market in the country, Atlanta’s America’s Mart, and in August prepare for five days and numerous floors of everything Prom.

Beads, sequins, fabrics, various styles and hundreds of designers to choose from – just for a prom dress. I spend the first couple days at market taking it all in – watching runway shows, seeing which lines excite me. Being in the business for 10 years, sometimes I wonder how designers continuously create new prom dress designs, but they always deliver. After reviewing the top lines, I finalize my designers, dress styles, colors, sizes, shoes, and accessories to buy for the boutique. If only I had a crystal ball to know what the girls like this coming prom season. It’s now December and it’s all about to start. Our website is updated with all the new gowns; the billboards and mailers are ready to deliver the message: find your perfect dress at Bella Jules! Our registry book with all the schools’ names is ready, because at Bella Jules, we protect our prom customer. We won’t sell your dress to someone else at your school! The last piece of preparation begins when the prom dresses begin arriving. I’m probably not a favorite on my UPS driver’s route. When the truckload of gown boxes arrives, my employee Emily and I are eager to open them and begin steaming. It’s like Christmas opening all of them, marveling at the details and remembering how pretty they looked at the market.

During prom season, our goal is to help girls find the dress that they love. Some girls start looking in January, but February seems to kick off the season, which lasts through May. The internet has made a big impact on shopping for a dress, so many girls come in with pictures of dresses on their phones, with an idea of what they want to try on. Others aren’t quite sure and browse the racks. When looking, my best advice is to try on numerous dresses because so many times it is the dress that isn’t liked on the hanger that goes home. The smile is always the giveaway for when they have found their dress. Dress alterations, jewelry, shoes, hair and makeup all can be found at West Reading shops on the Avenues. And finally, it’s Prom Day. We anxiously wait for the day after prom to see what pictures the boutique has been tagged in on Facebook and Instagram. Many of the girls who shop at Bella Jules have gone to more than one prom, so I have seen many grow into young adults with their own distinctive style over the years. Prom has changed over the years because of technology. But it still starts with the perfect dress, and it is also so much more. It’s an experience! Bella Jules Fashion Boutique, LLC 700 Penn Avenue West Reading, PA 19611 610-208-0600 www.bellajulesboutique.com



IN THE KNOW & ON THE GO //// events

WINTER avenueS on the

Reading Royals Hockey

The King & I

Santander Arena, 700 Penn St., Reading (Wednesday, November 26th at 7:30 p.m.) (Friday, November 28th at 7:30 p.m.) (Saturday, November 29th at 7:05 p.m.) (Friday, December 12th at 7:30 p.m.) (Saturday, December 13th at 7:05 p.m.) (Saturday, December 27th at 7:05 p.m.)

Genesius Theatre, 153 N. 10th Street, Reading (Friday, December 5th – Sunday, December 14th)

Head downtown to see the Reading Royals – 2013 Kelly Cup Champions – take the ice to battle league competitors. www.royalshockey.com

Quick and Dirty TEA Factory, 580 Willow Street, Reading, PA (Saturday, November 22 and December 20) Improv and Sketch Comedy Performance from the Reading Theater Project. Tickets are $10 and available online or at the door.


shop for holiday gifts and fine art by local artists. special exhibits: November-December: Holiday Art

604 Penn Avenue West Reading, PA19611 610-375-9122 www.artplusgallery.weebly.com


Avenues Winter2014

January-February: Guest artist Mary Button, bronze reliefs Outreach art from Alvernia students * Reception January 9, 2015

One of the longest-running shows in Broadway history, The King & I relates to a British schoolteacher, Anna, hired as part of the King’s drive to modernize his country. While much of Anna and the King’s relationship is marked by conflict, it’s also filled with a love neither can admit. See Rodgers and Hammerstein’s fifth musical come to life at the Genesius Theatre in Reading. For tickets and show times, call 610-373-8151 or visit www.genesiusdifference.org.


Holiday Happenings at the Scottish Rite Cathedral Scottish Rite Cathedral, 310 S. Seventh Avenue, West Reading

Live Nativity... (Saturday, December 6th & Sunday, December 7th from 5:00- 8:00 p.m.) (Saturday, December 13th & Sunday, December 14th from 5:00- 8:00 p.m.) Great for grandparents and grandchildren! See the Live Nativity outside the Scottish Rite Cathedral beside the beautiful grounds of the Reading Hospital and Reading Public Museum. Inside, a huge train display that fills two rooms will be running to delight children and train lovers of all ages.


903 Morgantown Road, Reading, PA 19607 610-823-0269


Tuba Christmas (Saturday, December 6th) It’s the sound of the season! Bring your own brass and take part in a tradition happening all over the world. Registration for Tuba Christmas is at 5 p.m. and the show starts at 7 p.m. All music enthusiasts are welcome to this free event! For more info, call 610-373-0104.

Two Act Play (Saturday, December 13th) Catch a two-act play, The Last Full Measure, which portrays Abraham Lincoln and presented by the Scottish Rite Players. For more info, call 610-373-0104.

Frozen Party

550 Penn Ave, West Reading, PA 484-651-1049

Monarch Dance Studio, 603 Penn Ave, 2nd Floor, West Reading (Saturday, December 6th from 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.) Moms and Dads can get 4 hours of kid-free holiday shopping done on the Avenues while children play games, win prizes, enjoy activities and lunch! Open to ages 4+ (boys and girls both welcome), kids will learn a dance to show their parents. The event is a fundraiser for both the studio dancers to help with recital costume costs and food drive for the Greater Berks Food Bank. Tickets are $50 per child or $45 with a non-perishable food item/ cash donation to GBFB. For more info, call 610-816-8434 or visit www.MonarchDanceStudio.com.

Gloria Trevi Santander Performing Arts Center, 136 N. 6th Street, Reading (Sunday, December 7th at 6:00 p.m.) One of Mexico’s hottest rock performers combines singing, dancing and piano into one electrifying performance on-stage in downtown Reading.Visit www.santander-arena.com for more info.

Men’s Night Out at Tina’s Tina’s Salon & Day Spa, 404 Penn Avenue, West Reading Monday, December 8th from 5:00-9:00 p.m. Shop for that special someone with the help of live models, personal shoppers, cocktails, appetizers, complimentary services and gift wrapping! Call 610-374-5991 or visit www.gototinas.com.

Fig & Will features maternity and children's consignment as well as an array of baby gifts and one-of-a-kind furniture and accessories. Hours: Tuesday-Friday 10am-5pm; Saturday 10am-3pm 520 Penn Avenue, West Reading

610-373-3400 figandwill.com



Reading Symphony Orchestra Santander Performing Arts Center, 136 N. 6th Street, Reading

Holiday Extravaganza (Saturday, December 20th at 3:00 p.m.) This family-friendly concert features holiday classics performed by the Reading Symphony Youth and Junior Strings Orchestras. Children will be able to get a closer look on-stage at the instrument petting zoo that’s available for a limited audience.

New Year’s Eve with Jeans and Classics (Wednesday, December 31st at 7:30 p.m.) The music of Elton John and Billy Joel will ignite your New Year’s Eve on at the beautiful downtown performance theatre. After the symphony, head downtown to catch a view of the Pagoda among the holiday celebrations.

An Evening with Mozart (Saturday, January 17th at 7:30 p.m.) A concert that is sure to impress with clarinetist David Shifrin, who has claimed top prize at both the Munich and Geneva International Competitions. Featured selections include Mozart’s Symphony No. 31 “Paris” and No. 41 “Jupiter.” Visit www.santander-arena.com for more details.

Floyd Final Friday Neag Planetarium, 500 Museum Road, Reading, 19611 (Friday, December 26th at 7:30 p.m.) Check times and schedules to view Pink Floyd’s legendary albums, Dark Side of the Moon and The Wall, in the state-of-the-art SciDome full-immersion video system at the Neag Planetarium, located at the Reading Public Museum. Floyd Final Fridays begin December 26th. Call 610-371-5850 or visit www.readingpublicmuseum.org.

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Penn Streets, between 4th & 6th Sts., Reading (Friday, January 16th through Sunday, January 18th) During this first-time signature annual event for the Greater Reading community, this weekend festival is filled with indoor and outdoor activities for all ages, featuring hot and ice-cold wonders like ice sculptures, cake icing competitions, Snowfall ball and chili cook-off. Visit www.downtownreading.com.

Trans-Siberian Orchestra Santander Arena, 700 Penn St., Reading (Saturday, January 3rd at 3:30 & 8:00 p.m.) Celebrated for pushing limits in progressive rock, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra visits Reading to perform The Live Debut of the Christmas Attic, a rock holiday tradition for a new generation. Tickets can be purchased at the VF Outlet Box Office at the Santander Arena or online at www.ticketmaster.com.

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Avenues Winter 2014

Get the LED Out

Saturday, February 7th at 8:00 p.m. Santander Performing Arts Center, 136 N. 6th Street, Reading

The recordings of the mighty Zep are brought to life on a magnificent theatre when Get the LED Out takes the town in early February. Call 610-898-7299 or visit www.santander-arena.com.

2nd Fridays on Penn Ave.

Friday, January 9th from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Friday, February 13th from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Between the amazing selection of restaurants and unique array of boutiques, discover signature cocktails and one-ofa-kind finds throughout this strolling neighborhood. Look for the 2nd Friday logo in participating shop windows for in-store specials and events! To see what the theme is for the upcoming 2nd Friday, visit www.lovewestreading.org.

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Did you visit West Reading during its Fall Festival on the Avenue? Mark your calendars for next year, as you won’t want to miss the most unique community-wide seasonal celebration! To become a vendor for next year’s Fall Festival on the Avenue, visit www.lovewestreading.org. Mark your calendars for Saturday, September 19th, 2015 to enjoy the selection of arts, crafts, specialty foods and seasonal brews!

617 Penn Avenue, West Reading 610.685.2001 Monday - Thursday 9:00 am - 3:00 pm Friday - Sunday 8:00 am - 4:00 pm lovewestreading.org



Holiday G low ON THE AVENUES

Celebrate an old-fashioned “Winter Wonderland” along the Avenue. Enjoy the charm of West Reading’s independently-owned boutiques and restaurants with special holiday hours, promotional activities, and personalized service.


Avenues Winter 2014


Lighting up the

Holiday Season


hen the tree lighting began in front of the borough hall back in 1928, little did our forefathers know what a tradition this would bring to the community. For 86 years, this annual favorite heightens the holiday spirit for all ages. Each year, the West Reading Recreation Commission partners with the West Reading Police, West Reading Fire Department and West Reading Public Works Department to provide the ultimate holiday kick-off: the lighting of the tree. At the tree lighting, you’ll find performances by the Wyomissing High School’s Camerata singers and brass band, the West Reading Elementary Spartan Singers and the Berks Ballet Theatre. As Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive on the West Reading Fire Truck, the Circle is filled with live music and memories of magical moments.

Bundle up and bring the whole family for an enchanting evening! This year’s tree lighting will take place at 6 p.m. on Friday, December 5th (rain date is Monday, December 8th at 6 p.m.), so stop on by. After some holiday entertainment and the epic arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus, join us at St. James’ Church for light refreshments. Bring your camera and letters to Santa for a wonderful opportunity to mail your list early and have photos taken for cherished memories. Traffic will be rerouted around streets that are closed so pedestrians can safely access this walking-distance ceremony from the Lee Lot at VF Outlet Village. Seating is limited, but there’s plenty of standing room!

Delaney Circ le & Annual Tr Dedication ee in West Read Lighting ing Fri

day, Decemb er 5th 6:00 p.m. West Readin g Traffic Circ le a.k.a. Delaney Circle

Recently, the Circle has been elaborated to include a memorial area for Laney. From an aerial view, the memorial design shows a tree of hope, lending an open faith that the community will foster a sense of togetherness. Elements that bring the whole memorial to life have been sponsored by various businesses and organizations. The donations include concrete by Esterly’s Concrete, a pillar with plaque by the P.F. Eisenbrown Son Company and the Volunteer Firemen’s Beneficial Association, half-moon stone wall by Tina’s Salon and Day Spa and frog sculpture by Friends of Delaney. The framing and wood was sponsored by the West Reading Recreation Commission and the construction completed by the borough’s Public Works Department. Unlike the six other frog sculptures in West Reading, Laney’s frog will be upright, positioned to look at the sky and in the direction of Laney’s house. Within walking distance from anywhere in the borough, this 49” frog sculpture will be accessible for all to commemorate Laney’s legacy as she will continue to bring the community together. See map on page 12 showing Delaney Circle.

Delaney Circle Dedication Held in the heart of town, this year’s ceremony will include a special dedication and renaming of the West Reading traffic circle in memory of Delaney “Laney” Brown. The Circle a.k.a. Delaney Circle, located at 5th and Reading Avenues, connects traffic from the borough of West Reading into the city of Reading via the Buttonwood St. Bridge. This special area is becoming a symbolic evolution of the collective strength and compassion that exists in West Reading during times of loss and hardships. The family of this very special little girl named Delaney Brown received the devastating news that Laney was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in spring of 2013. As the holiday season and her 8th birthday approached, her condition worsened and with less than ten days till Christmas, the family was told Laney only had weeks to live.  Laney’s family wanted to make her holiday wishes come true. With the support of the Make-a-Wish Foundation, Laney’s last wishes were granted. On her birthday, December 20th, Laney was able to talk with the Wyomissing-native, Taylor Swift. Among other wishes granted, Laney wanted to hear a gathering of Christmas carolers, which ended up bringing nearly 10,000 people that safely gathered around the blocks of Laney’s nearby home.

To learn more about Laney, visit www.laneyslegacyofhope.org.



HOLIDAY GLOW //// events

On the Avenues

Holiday G low Celebration

Black Friday on the Avenue Friday, November 28th

Take a break from box-store shopping and stroll the street shops of this beautiful borough. Enjoy a timeless stroll down the Avenues and sample old-world refreshments while visiting the many boutiques and small businesses. Merchants around Main Street are offering special surprises for Black Friday shoppers, so why not stay in town for dinner, too? Participating stores will have Holiday Glow stickers indicating their extended business hours and exclusive discounts.

Tree Lighting and Delaney Circle Dedication

Ladies Night Out

Friday, December 5th 6th & Penn Avenues, West Reading Stroll the Avenue’s unique shops, exciting restaurants and charming boutiques. Participating stores will have Ladies Night Out exclusives and offer in-store wish lists for shoppers to fill out. While on the Avenue, you may pass Tiny Tim, Bob Cratchit or Ebenezer Scrooge himself! The ghosts of Christmas and other favorites from A Christmas Carol will be portrayed by actors from Genesius Theatre.

Men’s Night Out

Friday, December 5th at 6:00 p.m. West Reading Traffic Circle (a.k.a. Delaney’s Circle)

Saturday, December 12th 6th & Penn Avenues, West Reading

The West Reading Recreation Commission will sponsor the 86th annual tree lighting that includes a dedication ceremony and renaming of the traffic circle to “Delaney’s Circle” for Delaney Brown. The evening includes performances by the Wyomissing High School’s Camerata Singers, Wyomissing High School’s Brass Band, Berks Ballet and Spartan Singers with a special appearance by Santa and Mrs. Claus arriving on the West Reading Fire Truck.

Penn Avenue’s small business owners offer personalized service to help take the difficulty out of holiday shopping. To take the edge off, they include fun and entertainment! So, enjoy the shop’s extended hours and follow up on that special someone’s wish list. Plus! All the Mrs. Clauses in town will be competing for gifts and gift certificates from the Avenues. Be sure to stay for dinner and see the Mrs. Claus Contest at Chef Alan’s American Bistro at 8 p.m. and see which participant takes the vote in Unique, Sexy and Old Fashioned Mrs. Claus! It’s eat, drink and be merry for Men’s Night Out! Join in the caroling pub stroll at 10:00 p.m. that will visit a grand loop of taverns all in safe walking distance under the city lights!

West Reading Presents Run Santa Run!

Saturday, December 13th Registration begins at 8:30 a.m., .5 Mile Kids’ Run at 9:30 Run Santa Run 5K at 10:00 a.m. Starting Line is at A Running Start, 705 Penn Avenue, West Reading Pre-registration packet pick-up at A Running Start on Friday, December 12th from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Registration also accepted then. When was the last time you saw so many Santas running through the street? Join in the holiday festivities on the Ave and see hundreds of runners of all ages donning their Santa outfits and jingle bells that will ring the holiday spirit through the beautiful borough of West Reading. The 4th annual Run Santa Run 5K for all ages and .5 Kids’ Fun Run for children up to age 12 is an unforgettable way to bring fitness into your holiday routine. Post-race refreshments for runners are provided by local restaurants after the race and shops will be open for spectators to get a bit of gifting in after they cheer the Santa runners on.You won’t want to miss Mrs. Claus crossing the finish line!


Avenues Winter 2014

Holiday Entertainment for the Kids Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Santander Performing Arts Center, 126 N. 6th St., Reading (Tuesday, December 2nd at 7:00 p.m.) The beloved stop-motion classic soars onto stage. Join Rudolph as he flees the Abominable Snowman and saves Christmas in the majestic setting of this stage downtown.

The Elves and the Shoemaker

Saturday, December 6th, 13th and 20th from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. Yocum Institute for Arts Education, 1100 Belmont Ave., Wyomissing Call 610-376-1576 or visit www.institute-of-arts.org.

The Nutcracker with a Twist: Klara’s Dream

Saturday, December 13th at 2:00 p.m. Yocum Institute for Arts Education, 1100 Belmont Ave., Wyomissing Call 610-376-1576 or visit www.institute-of-arts.org.

Berks Ballet Theatre presents The Nutcracker

Ballet Theatre. Don’t miss out on this holiday tradition! Catch a sneak preview of The Nutcracker presented by Berks Ballet Theatre on Sunday, December 7th during the holiday happenings from 5-8 p.m. at the Scottish Rite Cathedral. For tickets and more info visit www.bbt.ticketleap.com or call 610-373-7577.

Second Sundays at The GoggleWorks

The second Sunday of every month from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. The GoggleWorks Center for the Arts, 201 Washington Street, Reading Follow the Penn Corridor into the City of Reading and take a fantastic art tour through the old building that once was the first factory in the world to manufacture optical glass for lenses and reading glasses – now an arts center. Explore all five floors of the building and have the kids join in on a make-and-take activity (with $2.00 donation). The GoggleWorks is also open daily, 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. Call 610-375-4600 or visit www.goggleworks.org.

Scottish Rite Cathedral, 310 S. Seventh Avenue, West Reading (Saturday, December 20th at 2:00 & 7:00 p.m.) (Sunday, December 21st at 2:00 p.m.) Sponsored by Boscov’s, one of Tchaikovsky’s most famous compositions comes to life by the local talents of Berks

Berks Ballet Theatre presents The Nutcracker sponsored by Boscov’s Dec. 20 at 2 and 7 pm Dec 21 at 2 pm at the Scottish Rite Cathedral, West Reading See the holiday tradition come to life. For tickets, visit bbt.ticketleap.com. For information, call 610-373-7577.




The 4th Annual Run Santa Run


n Saturday, December 13th, hundreds of participants will suit up in Santa suits and begin a 5K through the beautiful borough of West Reading. The wave of seasonal spirit running through the streets is an audience delight before beginning a day in town. Head to the Avenues to cheer hundreds of participants running, walking and ringing holiday cheer through the streets closed for traffic. As with any downtown happening around here, the West Reading Community Revitalization Foundation will present a safe, exciting atmosphere with plenty of activity for all ages to enjoy.

Run Santa Run 5K To kick-off an energizing holiday season, runners take their mark in front of one of the nation’s top 50 running stores in America, A Running Start, located on the 700 block of Penn Avenue. Led by Sorita Averill, owner of A Running Start and Race Director, Run Santa Run winds through the rolling hills and loops around the vibrant borough of West Reading – ringing in the holiday season at elf-quality. Add in the fabulous specialty foods from local restaurants on the Avenues, a DJ blasting music through the streets that are entirely closed to traffic and you have a holiday street party that’s nearly North Pole status. When Run Santa Run was first organized four years ago, Sorita Averill and Rebecca Doubek, event organizer from Doubek Worldwide Media, envisioned a sea of racers in holiday colors that donned jingle bells to ring in the holiday spirit through town. Last year, the snow fall started about ten minutes into this winter fun run. Crossing the finish line were 618 of the jolliest runners to embark on a beautiful winter run through this vibrant community. Especially with a post-run food spread featuring some of the best local flavors.


Avenues Winter 2014

This year, the first 800 participants registered for Run Santa Run will receive a Santa costume, complete with a Santa jacket, hat, beard and black belt. The only run of its kind in the area, the Run Santa Run 5K is for anyone who wants to have fun running and walking through lovely West Reading. Stay in town and show your race ticket to participating merchants for special store discounts around the Avenues. Same day registration is available, but without guarantee of Santa running outfit. For more information, visit A Running Start or www.pretzelcitysports.com.

Led by Mrs. Claus. . . Even Mrs. Claus agrees that this borough is a magnificent atmosphere for a winter fun run. That’s why she borrows the sleigh from Santa to come down from the North Pole and lead the Kids’ Fun Run in West Reading. Mrs. Claus will be in town to lead children ages 12 and under in the Kids’ Fun Run that takes place at 9:30 a.m. After post-race refreshments, enjoy some shopping on the Avenue or continue the fun and take the kids to the nearby cultural attractions, like the Reading Public Museum, Neag Planetarium or Yocum Institute for the Arts. Run Santa Run is an undoubtedly fresh way to spend a December Saturday, so come out to the Avenues and enjoy the morning. While the race is on, have brunch and stroll the boutiques and art galleries on the Avenues. 5K and .5 mile Kid’s Fun RunSaturday, December 13th A Running Start, 705 Penn Avenue Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. Kid’s Fun Run at 9:30 a.m. Run Santa Run 5K at 10:00 a.m.



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This year, nearly 300 GOTR of Berks County participants and their 5th Floor Red Building, VF Outlet running buddies will run West Reading’s Run Santa Run 5K. The timing of the open event fitsatperfectly with/ the program’s season, plus the Doors 4:30pm Show at 6:30pm location provides a fun,All festive for atmosphere. just $40 GOTR Berks Executive Director Kim Rivera states, “We were looking for a 5K in a convenient Get tickets yourgoodwill.org location andyour a beautiful area inat addition to one that included an element of fun for the girls. The Run Santa Run 5K in West Reading This fundraiser is brought to you by: proceeds benefit: fit theAllbill perfectly!”

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A Christmas Carol

Trolley Ti me

PA Dutch Style


enesius Theatre, Fecho Theatrical, The West Reading L.O.V.E. Team, West Reading Merchants Association, Moonlight Winery, Justin Bortz Jewelers, United Artist’s, David’s Cleaning and Difference, present the PA Dutch, “A CHRISTMAS CAROL,” aboard the old fashioned Rhoads Christmas Trolley, starting November 29th, plus other Holiday Glow Events in West Reading, presented by Genesius Theatre/ Fecho Theatrical. All these events were the brainchild of Justin Bortz and Larry Fecho, who were looking for clever ways to celebrate the Holiday Season.


Avenues Winter 2014

s: Nov. 29, D ec. 6p.m. & 7:3 6, 13, 19, 21, 0p.m. (Dec. 13 6:30p.m. an d8 Tickets: Ge nesiusDiffe p.m.) rence.org $35.00 Ad ults $28.50 Ch ildren unde r1 Children a ges 4 and y 8 ounger FREE if the ys Lead Spon it on a parent’s lap. sor West Read : ing L.O.V.E . Team

Tis the Season, and West Reading is offering a very special A Christmas Carol event! Take a ride back in time as this delightful family interactive entertainment, with a PA Dutch twist, unfolds around the Holiday Glow of charming West Reading. The audience boards the trolley at the Moonlight Winery on Rt. 724 and is transported back in time to the streets of Olde West Reading. Scrooge himself plays the surly emcee of this delightfully corny and wonderfully homespun treatment of the Charles Dickens’ classic. With a heart locked up tighter than a cash box, Scrooge encounters the visits of three spirits at various West Reading

businesses, for the chance to open up his heart and relish in the joys of his fellow man. Children and adults will love it, giggling between the comedy and the dramatic twists, as they also get a mini-tour of West Reading.



In addition, Bortz and Fecho, will have the Scrooge Characters strolling in West Reading on Dec. 5 - 5:30 to 8:30 PM. On Dec. 12 - 5:00 to 6:30 PM, the Genesius Cast of the Rodgers & Hammerstein Musical, “The King and I,” will be singing carols and songs from the show. On Dec. 19 - 5:30 to 8:30 PM, the St. Andrews Brass Quintet will be making merry on the Avenue with their special brand of holiday tunes. Sponsored by The West Reading Merchants Association.

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Tips For Healthy Eating Over the Holidays Contributed by The Reading Health System


he holidays can be a special time filled with fun, festivities and reunions with family and friends. But they can be stressful, too, so it’s important to maintain a “healthy” focus.

Don’t skip meals beforehand. Avoiding

Start by ensuring you get a good night’s rest, and set aside time in your schedule for exercise. Perhaps the biggest challenge of all during the holidays is eating healthy meals. That’s tough to do when party tables are filled with dishes covered in cream sauces and trays of cakes, cookies and other sweets. Here are some tips for maintaining a healthy diet over the holidays:

Make smart choices. Evaluate all food

Plan ahead. Eat a healthy snack before

Stay hydrated. Drinking water reduces

heading to a party. If you’ve been asked to bring a dish, do all of the partygoers a favor and take something light and healthy.


Avenues Winter 2014

meals to save calories can have the opposite effect of what you intended, prompting you to overeat at the party because you’ve been hungry all day.

Focus on fun, not food. The holidays

are about more than eating. Enjoy conversations and quality time with family and friends, and be active! Walk around town to see the decorations, make holiday crafts or take in a show.

options before putting anything on your plate. Select healthy foods, with maybe one treat you can’t pass up.

Eat with intention. Eat slowly. Start with a

small portion, then wait a while to determine if you really are hungry for more. Chances are you’ll realize that you’re already full.

the likelihood you will overeat. It also keeps you healthy.

Lo healthoking for y hol iday r e c i Visit p e s ? our P i

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Avenues Winter 2014

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A Day in the Life of... Dean L. Rohrbach Elm Street Manager West Reading Community Revitalization Foundation


fter listening to NPR while dressing, I take my little white Welsh Corgi Ruby for a walk through the Elm Street neighborhood where I live and up on to Penn Avenue. While walking I look at the condition of buildings and the streetscape. What buildings could use a facelift? Are façade colors fading? Is wood rotting? Have last summer’s unsightly dead flowers been left in planters? Has litter been thoughtlessly tossed? Where could the Elm Street organization make a sign or security grant to better the neighborhood? After walking the dog I drive to work at borough hall (one block). I drive because all day long I must visit various projects Elm Street has underway such as checking on the progress of the two homes we are renovating under the Property Acquisition, Rehab & Resell (PARR) program or deliver and speak with residents about improvements to their property through our Façade & Home Security Grant programs. During my lunch hour I stop home to get Ruby-dog and go to Picturesque to pick up a professional photographic print I had matted and framed. I go to GNA Ristorante Pizzeria for a take out Italian sandwich which I take home to eat. In the afternoon I answer emails and compose grant-applications to fund projects identified in Elm Street’s Five-Year Strategic Plan for the coming year. In the evening I act as staff to the nine-member Neighborhood Action Committee (NAC), updating and making modifications to our plan for 2015 that include setting dates for events; choosing among different mural designs to be commissioned for the Cherry Street Mural Corridor project; choosing the location for the Let’s Paint the Town event; and hearing from the Community Garden manager about plans for the annual April Earth Day Clean-Up & Beautification event and from the WR Crime Watch president about working with WRPD to monitor and halt dubious activity in the neighborhood.

“Woke up, got out of bed, and dragged a comb across my head…” My day always begin just like this old Beatles song.

After the meeting I meet an old friend who drove up from Lancaster to have a late dinner at his favorite restaurant Papillion Brasserie. My friend is a wine connoisseur and always brings a high end vintage along since Papillion’s is BYOB. I love Papillion’s menu using local seasonal ingredients but unfortunately it’s a little out of my price range. Luckily my friend is a doctor and always picks up le chèque. Finally, I walk the one-block to my home from Papillion and once more take Ruby out for a walk while admiring all the Christmas decorations in my neighborhood before reading myself to sleep.




Nostalgic Business Stories I n the spirit of Auld Lang Syne, we asked the “seasoned pros” – merchants that have spent several holiday seasons on the Avenues – to think back to what brought them to the Avenues and what their favorite seasonal memories are. Although we can hardly think of what’s not to love about this area, here is what some business owners shared:

What brought your business to West Reading? Did it start here? “We chose West Reading because of the unique mix of businesses and the independence the avenue provides to businesses to be creative.” – Tim & Stacy Gallagher, London Blue Jewelers “My sister has been (on the Avenue) since the early 90’s. I spent a lot of time here and got to know the shops and the merchants. Even then, it was like a mini-Manayunk. Two years ago, I opened Fig & Will.” – Rita Ditsky, Fig & Will

“We really enjoy the Holiday Glow Celebration for many reasons, including the Christmas carolers, carriage rides, street performers, store front decorations and tree lighting.” – Tim & Stacy Gallagher

“The Holiday Glow Celebration is my favorite since the Avenues go all out for their planned events, like the fun nights out and holiday tree lighting. The streets are a perfect walking atmosphere where you can grab some hot cocoa and stroll under the holiday lights and find characters caroling around the block.” – Alex McCarty, Hello Bluebird “The Holiday Glow Celebration is my favorite street celebration because “It’s a Wonderful Life” on the Avenues. One of my favorite memories is the 2013 Mrs. Claus Contest!” – Justin Bortz, New World Jeweler “I love all of the activities the L.O.V.E. Team provides, including the Wine Walks!” – Susan Pollack-Esposito

“West Reading is THE place to have a business in Berks County. Pollack Fashion Outerwear began business in 1900 but we have been in West Reading since 2003. It’s centrally located and provides a unique shopping environment with many restaurants, bars, shops and businesses on a busy main artery of Greater Reading.” –Susan Pollack-Esposito, Pollack Fashion Outerwear

“Although the Fall Festival is great fun, the Run Santa Run event in December is my favorite. Usually all five members of my family participate (wife Rachel, kids: Mikey, Molly and Brady).” – Mike Kuhn

What is your favorite time of year on the Avenue?

What is your favorite holiday memory on the Avenue?

“I love the Avenue for its continuous happenings. It’s hard to limit myself to only one season since there’s always something going on to look forward to, but I do love Art on the Ave for the selection of true artistry it brings to the area. Through the years, my husband and I have watched the area grow just as we had hoped it would!” – Nancy Campbell, The Compleat Baldwin Brass Center

“My favorite holiday memory is a snowfall we had a few years ago during the Christmas holiday season. It was so cold outside that the snow accumulated very quickly. When I walked outside it was a crystal wonderland, with each little flake keeping its unique shape and sparkling in the lights. Truly was like diamonds falling out of the sky! I will never forget how beautiful that was!” – Dorothy Knowles, Celtic Myth & Moon

“Our favorite time of year has to be the Christmas holiday season because the Avenue is decorated in a style reminiscent of the 1950’s and 1960’s.” – Tim & Stacy Gallagher “Fall. Beautiful time of year and the Fall Festival highlights everything the Avenue has to offer.” – Mike Kuhn, Edward J. Kuhn Funeral Home, Inc. “The Christmas season is my favorite. Enjoying a mulled cider and the activity on the Ave – I still think it’s the best street in Berks County. During Christmastime, the Berks Ballet dancers and theatre actors are performing and it’s almost as if the image is created by a Dickens collection. – Rita Ditsky


What is your favorite West Reading celebration or event?

Avenues Winter 2014

Salon & Spa Gift Cards for Any Dollar Amount Pamper Packages with Catered Lunch & Gift Ideas for Any Occasion Hair Care • Massage Therapy • Advanced Skin Care • Nail Care • Waxing Laser Hair Removal • Bridal Packages • Traditional & Airbrush Makeup • Body Wrapping Honored to be part of West Reading • Established 1987

unitedartistssalon.com 299 Penn Avenue West Reading, PA Phone: 610.376.8481

Monday – Thursday 9am – 9pm Friday 9am – 6pm Saturday 9am – 4pm (open at 8 AM Sat. for bridal parties)

Closed Sunday

“Our favorite memory has to be getting married by the honorable Linda Ludgate in our store at Thanksgiving time three years ago.” – Tim & Stacy Gallagher “When my sister, Nancy Seghetti, along with Mark Seaman first organized Art on the Ave I would marvel at the ribbons and streamers fluttering in the air for weeks ahead of time.” – Rita Ditsky “Last year, Hello Bluebird held an in-store fundraiser to help the Red Cross after Hurricane Sandy. Along with matched donations, the store was able to donate more than $400 after one day’s sales. My favorite memory is the kindness of the supporters since I could never do that all alone.” – Alex McCarty

What is the must-see of West Reading? “The Armed Forces Day parade on Memorial Day. It’s a wonderful parade and one of the oldest running in the area. Come down for the morning and watch it pass by. “It’s delightful to wave to the armed forces.” – Nancy Campbell “I went to my first Art on the Avenue when I was 16 and I was hooked on West Reading instantly. My first apartment was on 6th Ave and I knew back then that I wanted to be a part of this community. I love the way the arts are supported here and the way the business owners all come together to support each other. It seemed like a perfect fit!”– Jericho Joy Deterior, Monarch Dance Studio




Economic Development in West Reading unity ing Comm West Read tion on Founda Revitalizati treet ut S 500 Chestn PA 19611 g, West Readin - 610.685.8845 54 610.685.88 .9061 5 8 .6 0 1 Fax 6 .org info@wrcrf eet ing Elm Str West Read et.htm re .org/elmst www.wrcrf Reading Love West .org estReading gn up www.LoveW ing.org to si d ea tR es W ve o receive Visit www.L ling list and ai m ’s g in d s on for West Rea ates to the happening d p u subscribed ! the Avenues 32

Avenues Winter 2014

By Definition . . Economic development refers to sustained, concerted actions to improve the standard of living and economic health in a specific community. Economic development also refers to the quantitative and qualitative changes in an existing economy that aims at increasing the general welfare of the citizens.

Community Services Help Support Our Market Place. . . West Reading’s real estate market is hot with lots of buying activity. You seldom see “For Sale” signs up for long because both residential and commercial properties are snapped up quickly. West Reading is able to successfully compete in the marketplace because we are unique and distinctive. Much of our community’s success can be traced to our Main Street and Elm Street programs which are admired throughout the state. They ensure we have a lot going for us with impressive streetscape, façade improvements, a safe

downtown, quiet neighborhoods and a commercial trade area with upscale consumers. They help to improve property values and protect our tax base. Additionally, West Reading Borough is committed to providing a high level of government services. Our Police, Fire, and Public Works Departments all have the latest modern equipment to ensure the security, safety and high quality-of-life enjoyed by residents, merchants and visitors alike. West Reading is taking steps to ensure these trends continue by focusing on economic development. This involves taking action to promote the standard of living and economic health of the borough. The borough doesn’t have many blighted properties. West Reading’s Economic Development Committee monitors all vacant storefronts on Penn Avenue and residential properties in surrounding neighborhoods to assess how they impact our retail trade and real estate markets. We then work with developers, local Realtors® and the West Reading Community Revitalization Foundation (formally known as Main Street Foundation) in a proactive approach to develop plans, strategies and proactive actions to address these properties before they become a drag on our economy.

New Laws Help New Business In Berks County, West Reading is at the forefront of using new state laws, such as Act 90 and Pennsylvania’s Abandoned & Blighted Property Conservatorship Act, to alleviate the negative economic effect that abandoned and blighted properties have on business, neighboring property owners, municipalities and taxpayers. As a result, within the last year alone the Avenues have welcomed new small businesses like Chatty Monks, the Barley Mow Craft Beer House and Johnny G.’s Barbecue on the Avenue. Several businesses were sold to new owners and didn’t just go away. Even large properties like the old 230,000 square foot Narrow Fabrics building was bought up quickly by developers with plans to add more jobs to the economy.

Guiding our Growth. . . West Reading continuously receives calls from businesses wanting to locate here and people wanting to live here. Recently the borough has developed a Business Guide to help businesses understand the ins and outs of opening a business here. We are in the process of reinvigorating our Main Street program and reactivating our Business Improvement District (BID). Part of this process involves looking closely at our market and turning it into useful information to recruit and retain businesses. Additionally, we’ve recently initiated the www.LoveWestReading.org website to provide information for people interested in living, working or playing here.


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512 PENN AVENUE, WEST READING PA 610-372-6468 www.charleshutcheson.com lovewestreading.org



Wearable by Judy Ballinger


Three Art Plus Gallery Coop members create original works to wear: Jeweler LeAnn Wolf turned her childhood love of finding rocks in the hills of South Dakota into the art of setting semi-precious stones in silver for beautiful bracelets, earrings and pendants. She also loves working with hot metal and molten glass, and has a variety of pieces using enamel and leather. A member of the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen, Juried in Polymer Clay, Marilyn Pounder has been making her own beads since 1990. She rolls, pounds, molds and colors her clay into unique bead patterns with which she creates distinctive bracelet, necklace, and earring sets as well as other items. Silk artist Judy Ballinger specializes in painting scarves by hand using brushes and permanent, washable silk paints. Inspired by nature and traditions for seasonal themes, Judy’s colors flow into the silk to create unique patterns.

Ladies Night Reception 2nd Friday Reception December 12th from 6-8:00 p.m. Find wearable items, ornaments and many fine paintings and photographs that will be displayed through December. 2nd Friday Reception January 9, 2015 from 5-8:00 p.m. View featured exhibits from Guest Artist Mary Button: Bonded Bronze and Steel Relief Sculpture and the Outreach exhibit of Bruce Becker’s students of Alvernia University. Art Plus Gallery 604 Penn Avenue Holiday hours: 11-5pm, Fridays to 8pm. Sunday 10-4pm. Closed Monday. January hours: 11-5 Weds-Sat. Sunday 10-4pm. Closed Mon. & Tues.

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RE/MAX of Reading 610.670.2770 x 3157

1290 Broadcasting Road, Wyomissing, PA 19610


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