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“Our culture has forever struggled to find the answers to eating healthy foods that are prepared fresh, fast and, most importantly, are fun to make, eat, and share,” states Evan Ross, owner of Liquid Eatery, a tropical-inspired vegan restaurant + smoothie café

knew that a centralized corporate structure, anchored by department stores, was never coming back to downtown (super malls like King of Prussia would see to that), but that a much healthier economic environment of home-owned shops and restaurants would create economic sustainability. Within the vision statement for the BID is the operative phrase: “things that make West Chester a special place.” When the area was anchored around department stores, small businesses — particularly those with a creative sense — we devalued. Nowadays they are no longer acting as if they were just amenities for customers — they have become the attractions of downtown. They make West Chester that special place. While we can certainly look at examples like the long-defunct Woolworth’s Department Store (at the corner of High and Gay Streets) morphing into a

place like Iron Hill Restaurant & Brewery, which immediately shows the positive impact of selling locally made products, we have also embraced what destination marketers are calling the “Boutique Destinations.” These are businesses with a niche following that ignore the mass markets and seek to please the individual tastes of their patrons. These are a new type of business structure that has taken over with its own name: catalyst businesses. They are being run by creative people, and author Richard Florida identifies them as the future of downtown in his book The Rise of the Creative Class, in which he examines this phenomenon in detail. Such businesses are generating customer traffic and local jobs and are relatively immune to mega-corporate competition. West Chester is already brimming with these kind of businesses that have become downtown destinations that offer a unique and authentic

experience for customers. And many more are coming. One such shop, opening May 1 at 134 E Market Street, is Compendium (ShopCompendium.com), a boutique offering exclusive, private-label apparel. Owner Emily Scott plans on making her West Chester location the flagship for her emerging store and pop-ups. She offers limited-run styles that retail for under $100 and include things such as leggings/athleisure-wear, sundresses, work clothes, and even party dresses, all under her own label. It was once impossible to even consider such a business plan, but it may soon become commonplace. When align.Space opened in the historic F&M Building at 2 W Market Street (renovated into a modern co-working space), it had every appearance of what used to be called "Business Incubators" or "Executive Suites." But it is so

APRIL 2019 THEWCPRESS.COM

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Profile for The WC Press

The WC Press Sustainability Issue - April 2019  

Voice of the Borough

The WC Press Sustainability Issue - April 2019  

Voice of the Borough