The WC Press Business Issue - July 2014

Page 1








Real Estate Team Kit Anstey


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Brian's roots are tied to the borough of West Chester. He’s a qualified, certified agent, specifically trained in relocation, an Accredited Buyer Representative, Graduate Real Estate Institute and former Rookie of the Year who attended West Chester University. He’s been an important part of the team, receiving top sales honors from Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Fox & Roach Realtors as being among the top 100 agents nationwide. As a buyer's agent, Brian gives total 610.513.1765 commitment to finding your dream house, whether a first-time buyer or a multi-million dollar deal. As a Seller's agent, Brian's business plan includes a detailed advertising campaign, both in print, online and via social media, ensuring sellers receive the highest price in the shortest amount of time. If you are looking for the ultimate professional to represent you in Chester or Delaware Counties, contact Brian.

Brian Nelson

610.430.3001 email: 610.431.1100 JULY 2014 THEWCPRESS.COM 5

Take your business to the next level.

Join the chamber

Serving nearly 700 member businesses in the greater West Chester region

 Connecting our members to customers and the community.  Providing business-building resources and opportunities.  Promoting members with innovative programs like the ThinkShopBuy…LOCAL mobile application.  Producers of the Iron Hill Twilight Race Series and the MARS drinks Old-Fashioned Christmas Parade presented by QVC.

The Greater West Chester Chamber of Commerce has been instrumental in promoting and growing our family businesses, from Giunta Food Markets to our current restaurant, Pietro’s Prime. Being a part of the Chamber is an excellent vehicle to exchange business ideas, gain knowledge and establish relationships in our community. -Marisa Giunta Powell, Owner, Pietro’s Prime

Contact the Chamber office for membership information: 119 North High Street, West Chester, PA 19380 610-696-4046 /






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sponsored by: Infiniti of West Chester


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Press PUBLISHER Dan Mathers ADVERTISING MANAGER Nick Vecchio EDITOR Jack Lindeman COPY EDITOR Kehan DeSousa GRAPHIC DESIGNER Nazarena Luzzi Castro CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Jesse Piersol Kate Chadwick PHOTOGRAPHERS Luke O’Brien Niki Rutkowski

The secret of business is to know something that nobody else knows. –Aristotle Onassis COLUMNISTS Becca Boyd Debbie DeSantis Brad Liermann Jennifer Ozgur DJ Romeo Published By... Mathers Productions 13 South Church Street West Chester, PA 19382 610-344-3463

The WC Press is a monthly magazine distributed free of charge to more than 250 businesses. For a free digital subscription, visit For more information about specific distribution locations, visit



Our no-nonsense table of contents


WC BY THE NUMBERS A glimpse at the numbers behind business in West Chester


OWNER OF THE MONTH Meet Mike Guerriero from Disc Hounds


THE INFLUENCERS Profiling 21 heavyweights of local business


THE LOOK Christine’s Consignment offers up great summer looks


BREAKING AWAY Everything that goes into the Iron Hill Twillight Criterium


BARTENDER OF THE MONTH Chatting with Rease Larer-Dodson of Kooma Modern Asian


THE MAKEOVER Salon XQusite takes a lucky lady from blah to wow!


BUILDING BLOCKS Behind the scenes with the Business Improvement District







There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work and learning from failure. -Colin Powell

The way I saw it, I was never going to own a business—I always imagined myself quickly climbing the corporate ladder, stepping on heads to better my own path towards money and fulfillment. I envisioned myself a lazier Gordon Gecko—my goal wasn’t limitless wealth, it was somewhere in upper management. Obviously things changed along the way. If I were to identify the culprits, I’d blame graduating college into the worst economy in decades coupled with a liberal arts degree that wasn’t doing me any favors. The prospects were gloomy, so I took the first job I could get and ended up working directly for the owner at a small media company called Exit Zero. It was inevitable that my time there would draw to a close. The company was so small (only three employees) that there was no ladder to climb—when there’s only the owner above you, the glass ceiling hangs pretty low. While I might have been a little less ruthless than Gordon Gecko, I still had my sights set higher than the bottom rung, so I considered my options elsewhere. As it turns out, with such niche experience, my resume didn’t scream, “Put this kid in management!” I knew I’d probably have to start over from the ground up if I joined a bigger company, and I didn’t like the idea of trying to get by on $29,000 a year in a major city. So I guess I became an entrepreneur by default. Few of our readers today know the story of how this publication started, and I’ll wager it’s a bit less glamorous than you’d guess. In the beginning, there was only me—me, working from a computer in the spare bedroom of my apartment on West Miner Street. Armed with a few hundred copies of a magazine that was filled with real West Chester content and fake advertising, I went door-to-door, business-to-business throughout the borough. I tirelessly worked to convince owners and managers that I really was going to produce 5,000 copies of a magazine just like the one I’d handed them and that they should pay me money to advertise. Looking back, I can’t believe it worked out. But, the key to this company’s success is no secret: it’s just hard work. When we were first getting off the ground, I routinely went 48 hours without sleep, desperate not to miss a deadline. At that point in time, we were trying to produce two black-andwhite, newsprint publications a month, and I was the only person working in both the editorial and art departments (as well as wearing plenty of other hats). It was overwhelming, and it was exhausting. But more than anything, it was rewarding. I can’t speak for all of them, but many of the 21 most influential business people in West Chester (who we profile on page 17), offer advice about starting a business that’s really very similar to mine: despite what you think, how clever you are isn’t nearly as important as how hard you’re willing to work. The key to success in business isn’t putting others down so you can rise up. Really, the best way to build a business is by investing in the people and the community around you so that you can all climb the ladder of success together. At least that’s the way I see it.




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When it comes to Disc Hounds, Mike Guerriero says it’s all about quality and dependable service. Disc Hounds built their business and their name by updating and transferring old forms of media (take VHS for example) to their modern equivalent. These days they offer a variety of tech and printing solutions for individuals and businesses in West Chester. When did Disc Hounds first open for business? I started in 1998 right here in

West Chester. I am not originally from this area. I attended Villanova and then moved out to West Chester around 1993. Why West Chester? I could see that it was a happening place at the time and also a place that was clearly growing in a positive direction. Has it proven to be a good fit for Disc Hounds? Absolutely. It’s very diverse in

its industries. There are so many different types of businesses out here and almost all of them have some kind of need for the business solution services that we offer. Who do you normally work with? Well, we started out making CDs for bands. That transitioned into making CDs for businesses and then film-makers and production companies. While making these CDs customers started asking if we could also print the cases, and then posters, and then T-shirts, and business cards. We print on just about anything and everything. Does most of your business come from within West Chester? When we first start-

ed we were much more national than we are now. In 1998, the internet was still new and we were tracking business from across the country. As the internet and communications expanded, it has really localized things. We do the majority of our business in West Chester and Chester County. Would you say that having a more local approach is an advantage? No question. So

many people that we come across tell us that they want to support local businesses. We feel the same way. We get our supplies and resources locally, as much as we can. We believe in the face-to-face method. We ask everyone “Are you close to us?”

We want them to come in, sit down, and talk to us about a project so that we can get everything right. Over the years, we have gotten to be friends with our customers. To me, it is an extremely important aspect of what we do and I feel like that’s what sets us apart. So, when you carry out a service for a customer, is that in house? As much as we

can do here, we do. With our multimedia services, when people bring their old family videos, films, or tapes, we never send those off to be transferred. When someone drops that off, it doesn’t leave the building. Those memories are priceless and to ship them off just doesn’t feel right, so we handle everything right here. What’s one piece of advice you’d give to a new business? I would say treat your

customers the way that you want to be treated. Everything that we do, I want to do it in a way that I’ve created something that I would want to buy or create a service that I would want to experience. That is our goal here. There’s not much to our space but we’re not really about being fancy here. We have all the right equipment to carry out any task, the rest is about being dependable and creating a positive experience for the customer.






INFLUENCERS 21 Heavyweights of Local Business by Jack Lindeman



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When Mary Bigham “followed a guy to the borough” and moved here in 2002, she worked in sales and marketing and—as a hobby—ran a little blog called West Chester Dish. That blog has since “grown to this huge thing.” For a time, Mary was an anonymous entity, but the community rallied behind her, pushing her to use her real name and take pride in what she made. Today, as owner of The Town Dish, she oversees six full-time employees, 30 freelancers, nine publications that focus on hyper-localities, a culinary content creation house, and works with national companies like the Garces Group and Southwest Airlines. She often gushes over “how proud we are of creating careers in Chester County for people to do what they love.” Mary says that she “never set out to run a business—things just took off,” MARY BIGHAM so despite all her success, she still claims to be “an accidental business owner.” But, the truth is that Mary is a business owner who has proven that, in her words, “even small businesses can play in the big leagues.”

Her Advice: People will talk. “They will say both good and bad things,” and it is not worth worrying about. There are three things you can do and “hopefully everything will work out.” These three things are simple: “Work hard, be nice, and be authentic. If you do that, you can make a real difference.”

Skip Brion has quietly been one of the most influential businessmen in the borough, if not this half of the state. Throughout his time as a partner at Buckley, Brion, McGuire, Morris & Sommer, the firm has doubled in size, and Philadelphia Magazine named him one of the “Super Lawyers” of Philadelphia. He has served as chairman of the Republican Committee of Chester County, and sits on the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board after being personally appointed by Governor Corbett in 2011. Skip came to Chester County to take a clerkship in Downingtown when he graduated from Villanova Law and moved to West Chester a few years later. While he moved here for a job, he never returned to Philadelphia because “he stayed for a woman”—his wife Glenda. Skip has twice served on borough JOSEPH ‘SKIP’ BRION council and remains active in politics, a role he gladly took on because he felt “it was the best way to give back and help the community.”

His Advice: “Always do the right thing.” If you try to always do what’s right, “you’ll flourish in this town.” When you help the community, and “when you say you’ll do something and you do it” people will notice and “you will be well respected.” Throughout “43 years of law, people came and went, but those who stayed and did well always did the right thing.”

Tommy is the fourth-generation of Ciccarone running Parkway Cleaners in West Chester. Maintaining a business for almost 100 years anywhere is no small feat, and Tommy and his father, grandfather and great-grandfather have seen the town transform around them as they continue to be a major part of the borough and county in general. Tommy has lived in West Chester his whole life, feeling no need to leave when the town “offers such an incredible mix of a good business atmosphere and great place to raise your family.” While keeping their business attuned to the original family values that it was founded on, Tommy and his family have also become benefactors in the community—Parkway Cleaners sponsors more than 20 events throughout the Borough and county each year and hosts the annual Dash4Diabetes, a TOMMY CICCARONE race to raise money for Chester County Hospital’s Self Management Diabetes program. Tommy is extremely proud of their efforts to give back, saying, “My greatest personal experience happened this year when we helped to bring more than 1000 people out to support the Dash4Diabetes.”

His Advice: “Listen to others.” You don’t have all the answers, and even with a business nearing the century mark, Tommy says, “I find most of the valuable lessons I’ve learned have come from listening to others and always trying to learn from their experience.”





When you are Mayor of West Chester, you have a lot of jobs—your schedule never slows down, even in a small town like ours. Carolyn Comitta has beenmayor since 2010 and is the perfect woman for the job. She has become the driving force behind much of what happens in the borough and is constantly out and about championing her town. Comitta has lived in West Chester for most of her life, and has stayed because “West Chester has it all: entertainment venues and places to meet; openness; and the beautiful aesthetics.” Mayor Comitta is humble when it comes to what she has done for our town, attributing all the borough’s success to the people who live here; not the person they elected to lead. Using an inclusive “we,” she talks about the town as though it’s a part of herself. “We have been nationally recognized CAROLYN COMITTA as a top place to walk, retire, raise a family, dine, shop, visit, experience and preserve history, and go to school from K-12 through university, among many other accolades.”

Her Advice: It’s simple: “Get involved!” she says. “This is a community in every sense of the word. Business, like life, is all about relationships, and West Chester is all about being there for each other. There is no better way to improve than becoming a part of the town.” She’s quick to give pointers on how to join in: “Join the Chamber of Commerce, attend Borough Council and Business Improvement District meetings, attend and sponsor community festivals, be a volunteer...”

As the founder of Walnut Street Labs, Chris Dima has created a haven for entrepreneurs in the region, spurring job creation and innovation. He says West Chester is a great area for startups, especially tech startups. “It’s a great microcosm,” he says,“ a mini-city, complete with a downtown and a university. For the Lab and its users, it provides a great launchpad for projects because the ability to test something in a small market like this is invaluable.” Walnut Street Labs offers co-working space to local entrepreneurs, weekly events like their Startup Meetup, where successful innovators come to talk about their path, and their Wednesday Night Owls, an open forum for people to come and work on whatever project they want, all night long. The final part of the Lab is its ability to function as an incubator to “pre-early stage” CHRIS DIMA projects that are trying to get off the ground. The Lab creates an environment for people to come together and work and get their new businesses up and running.

His Advice: “Build your network, and reach out and ask for help.” You are not alone, and often “business owners think they need to do things on their own, but people will help.” Individuals around you will get excited by what you are doing and in the end, “helping one another creates more of a community.”

Michael Duncan is the CEO of Chester County Hospital, and while the CEO of a hospital may seem like an interesting choice for this list, the Chester County Hospital is the second largest employer in town. That’s because it’s the most popular hospital in the area. “People chose us two-to-one over any other hospital in the area,” Michael says. He attributes this to West Chester being such a great place to live, “High-quality doctors come out of the medical schools in Philadelphia and want to stay in the area. The physical beauty and history of the borough makes it one of the best choices.” Michael says one of the highlights of his career has been connecting the hospital to the Penn Medical Network. “The recruiting, technology access and capital are invaluable.” Despite all his success, Michael stays humble MICHAEL DUNCAN and attributes it all to the people who work for the hospital, saying, “The real highlight is leading the great people who work here.”

His Advice: “Pick the right people.” People make up a business, and “the right people will get you somewhere good.” On the other hand, if you don’t get the right people, “you won’t be able to do as much.” People problems can quickly slow a business down, “dealing with people problems, the hardest thing to deal with, will allow you to succeed.”





As CEO of Iron Hill Brewery, Kevin Finn is often credited with revitalizing the downtown. Despite all four properties on the corner of High and Gay Streets being vacant when he brought Iron Hill to town, Kevin was drawn to West Chester, both professionally and personally, because of all of its upsides. He calls it “a wonderful community, a walkable town, with a great school system and wonderful neighbors.” He immediately recognized, “the feeling of community that seemed to be here—just waiting to burst open in downtown West Chester.” Kevin’s bet paid off, showing business owners that downtown WC was a great place to be. Ten years ago, with the help of the Chamber of Commerce, Kevin helped start the Twilight Criterium, an event that has continued and grown to this KEVIN FINN day. He speaks proudly of his role saying, “the race is the only professional sporting event in West Chester, and it is one of the highlights of the summer for many of our residents.”.

His Advice: “Embrace the diversity of the town.” West Chester is a unique place, with a dynamic “mixture of people who live and work here. Families, businesses, students and employees of the county and courthouse make the borough a wonderful melting pot.” Embrace that and become a part of it, he says. “It all comes together to create a vibrant community.”

As Executive Director of West Chester’s Business Improvement District, Malcolm Johnstone functions as a “man behind the curtain.” The BID is a partnership between business and property owners that works to encourage long-term economic growth in West Chester, and Johnstone is the brains of the operation. Hailing from California by way of Oregon and Idaho—where he has served in similar roles since 1985—Johnstone was hired as Executive Director of BID in 2001. He was drawn to West Chester by its history and is quick to add that it truly offers a “quintessential American downtown”. Under his leadership, West Chester was named one of America’s twelve Distinctive Destinations by the National Trust for Historic Preservations—at the time, ours was the only town in Pennsylvania to receive the honor. With MALCOLM JOHNSTONE Johnstone at the helm, the town has received 27 awards and recognitions. While he remains modest, claiming he doesn’t “develop the businesses downtown, rather help them achieve their potential,” he has been integral to building downtown business.

His Advice: “Every town has a different culture,” Johnstone says, and if you want to succeed, “you have to embrace the town’s culture; don’t hope the town embraces yours.” West Chester holds a particularly unique culture, and if you hope to bring a business here, “your ability to succeed is based on how well you embrace that culture and become part of the community.”

Dave Magrogan is owner of the Dave Magrogan Group, who first opened Kildare’s Irish Pub here in 2003 and have since gone on to open fifteen more restaurants in or near West Chester because, as Dave says, “West Chester is my hometown—it is a high point for me to be developing Chester County.” Dave attended West Chester University then graduated from chiropractic school in 1996. At the time, he says, “there was very little activity” in the Borough, but when he came up with the concept for Kildare’s, he managed “to come in at the perfect time, when downtown was becoming more vibrant.” Dave hopes his restaurants “have raised the bar and created a higher standard for what the downtown can deliver.” He’s become such an influence on West Chester business that he’s actually spawned a second generation DAVE MAGROGAN of restaurateurs in West Chester. As he tells it, “Watching people graduate from this company and move onto their own things and their own restaurants—like the guys at Side Bar—is the biggest highlight of my career.”

His Advice: “Follow your passion.” If you are not passionate about what you do, “you won’t complete your task.” Passion “creates persistence,” and that persistence will help you stay positive “when you meet the roadblocks you inevitably will.”





Richard May came to West Chester in 1978 and has been driving commerce ever since. Two years after he arrived, he founded RKM Advisors, a financial advisory company. The borough itself is what drew Richard and his family here. He says it was not only “a place in which I could start my own business” but “a place where I could get involved in the community.” And get involved he did. “I personally threw myself into the community,” he says, “serving on boards and commissions, running twice (unsuccessfully) for borough council, and generally promoting the town as best I could.” Still, this all falls short of what he’s acutally done for the town. Seven years ago Richard formed the West Chester LLC (Library, Labor & Capital) to provide capital to “worthwhile projects and to help fund small RICHARD MAY business ventures in the borough.” Most recently he founded and is the current managing member of Uptown! Bravo Theatre, LLC, a private entity formed to provide investment capital that will transform the West Chester Armory into a theater. He has also been behind the renovation of the 125-year-old library in town, just in case everything else wasn’t enough.

His Advice: It’ll be tough at first. “Be prepared not to make any money for at least three years,” he says, but don’t give up. On top of that, it helps to be a people person. “It is not what you know, but who you know. Use old friends wisely and make new friends aggressively.” And when it comes to your customers, “Treat them like family.”


Don Moore is a business man, plain and simple. In fact, 15 years ago, only one year after opening Calista Gran and Goose Creek Grill, he won the Paradigm Award, given to the Pennsylvania business man of the year. He moved to the town in 1971 from South Philadelphia, because he “liked the charm and openness of the area,” and the fact that “it has everything that creates a perfect business environment.” Moore has certainly used that environment to his advantage. “Over the years I have had a number of hair salons, restaurants and bars—even a gourmet cheese and coffee shop,” he says. Currently he is “part owner of Calista Grand Salon and Spa, The Social Lounge and most recently, Calista Tools, a specialty line of beauty products and appliances” which are available nationally through QVC, Nordstrom and Ulta.

His Advice: “When I was behind the chair cutting and styling hair, I met just about everyone in the area, and meeting people is the most important thing you can do.” You never know who will be able to open doors for you. “I developed relationships with local bankers, accountants, lawyers and land developers,” he says. “These relationships continue to today and have proven to be the key to my success.”

Marisa’s family has been running businesses in West Chester since 1927. You see, before getting married, Marisa’s last name was Giunta. She’s carried on the family tradition of entrepreneurship and owns Pietro’s Prime with her husband, Sean. Their restaurant is named after Marisa’s great-grandfather, a butcher who opened Giunta’s Market in his basement, which grew into Thriftway, which was evenutally replaced by Giant in 2005. Naming her own restaurant after her great-grandfather seemed like a natural step for Marisa, who wanted to “keep the family tradition alive.” That tradition is what brought Marisa back to West Chester after college. “I could never live anywhere else. I always wanted to be near my family.” But the draw to West Chester extends beyond family, with Marissa saying she MARISA POWELL “feels West Chester is a part of me.” The Giunta family has “always believed in the community” and giving back was something that they have always done, even to this day.

Her Advice: “Enroot yourself in the Community,” because giving back will always be a two-way street. “Jump into all the groups, meet all the people” and they will help you constantly. Most importantly, be a part of the community and add to it. “This is a great place to live, and you can add to that and help it grow.”





The husband-and-wife team of Kymberly and Jamie Robinson are not only the owners and operators of Boxcar Brewing Company, but Kymberly is also the CEO of Stratus Interactive, a full-service marketing firm in downtown West Chester. While she remains humble, Jamie is quick to express how well she’s done. “She was honored by the Chester County Chamber of Business and Industry as the 2014 female business leader of the year.” Her success has allowed them to organize many local charity events in conjunction with Boxcar, offering both companies the chance to give back. The combination of Jamie’s love of beer and Kymberly’s marketing experience seems to be working for Boxcar. The company is known for putting on wildly popular events, like Ride the Rails, a trip on the historical West Chester KYMBERLY & Railroad that includes live music, food and—of course—beer. However, the JAMIE ROBINSON biggest news for the brewery is they’ve recently decided to open a brewpub in the building that once housed The Note on Market Street. The brewpub, which is expected to open this year, will continue to embrace the spirit of the community in the same way both their previous ventures have.

Their Advice: “Reach out and use this community as a resource.” The town is nurturing and successes impact the entire community. To use a cliche: “A rising tide lifts all boats.” In this town, “each individual looks at the success of another as a positive for themselves and their town,” and it makes everyone better. The community is here for you and “if you tap into it you will really see the benefits.”

John Schwab moved to West Chester in 1972. In 1986, he joined the Rotary Club and this year he was nominated by the membership to be President of the West Chester Rotary Club. He joined Rotary because he wanted to give back to the community, saying succinctly that eventually you come to realize that, “accomplishments and success aren’t just happenstance—they come, in no small part, from what people did for you along the way.” He explains that the Rotary club is “all about service to others and the community,” and joining was his way of giving back to West Chester. However, saying he’s merely “giving back,” does John a disservice. He’s headed up the Vocational Service Avenue of the club and set up a foreign exchange in which the Rotary Club provides sponsorships for local students JOHN SCHWAB to travel abroad as well as bringing students to West Chester, and he also started a scholarship program that’s awarded to two local seniors.

His Advice: Lean on the community. “West Chester is very community-minded and generous.” Getting involved will serve you well. “People take notice of others who have a heart for the community and will rally around that.” The most important thing: “Be engaged.”


Vic and Tony are owners of StanAb development company, who are responsible for developing many commercial properties in the borough. Their philosophy is based around a simple idea: repurposing underutilized but welllocated real estate. Their first and best-known project was the restoration of the former Woolworth building at the corner of Gay and High Streets. “We took a chance. Everyone thought we were crazy to buy the empty Woolworth building, but we saw an opportunity and took the risk,” says Tony. That building is now home to Iron Hill Brewery. They have continued to repurpose real estate throughout the borough with their latest venture, the Chestnut Street Lofts, which are “going to be a real head turner,” says Tony. “When completed it will join the list of iconic buildings in the Borough.” The Lofts are a 60-unit apartment structure that maintains the brick and mortar tradition of the town but with a more modern look.

Their Advice: There is never a perfect time. “Nothing is a sure thing—you have to take risks while knowing the downside.” Some people will doubt you, but “don’t listen to the negative voices.” Pay attention to the positive ones and build your relationships because “the world is filled with successful people with no friends, but true wealth is measured by the quality of your relationships.”



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Mark Yoder is the president of the Greater West Chester Chamber of Commerce and the man behind the dynamic change that the chamber is undergoing. Mark comes from a successful background in events and sports marketing and ended up in West Chester for a number of reasons. He says the the town reminds him of his “midwestern home, the way everyone says ‘hi’ to one another on the street” and because his wife is from the area—he “jumped at the chance to bring her home.” Bringing that successful background to his roles at the chamber, where he has been working for the last five years, he has helped transform the two major events that the chamber puts on: The Old Fashioned Christmas Parade and the Twilight Criterium. Under his guidance, the parade was able to gain a major sponsor in Mars MARK YODER drinks, and a presenting sponsor in QVC. With that extra capital, he was able to expand the parade and make it what it is today: one of USA Today’s “Top 10 Places to See Santa” and a parade that’s aired live and replayed throughout Christmas Day on QVC. In his two years as president, Mark was able “to completely change what the Chamber does,” and more importantly, he says they have been able to “provide more and better resources to drive business in West Chester.”

His Advice: “Trust your gut” any time you make any decision, either “in business or in life.” Sometimes people try to sell you on things that aren’t right for you, but “if you trust your gut, it means your heart is in it, and that means you’ll give it your all.”

Monica Zimmerman is the Chair of the Dr. Edwin Cottrell Entrepreneurial Leadership Center of West Chester University, and was the leading force behind its development. In this role she drives entrepreneurial leadership in the region. “West Chester is a great region and very desirable for startups,” she says and is quick to provide evidence: “Research shows early startups want great parks and recreation access and West Chester’s bucolic environment provides that.” Plus, with such “a great relationship with the Business Improvement District and the GWCCC,” startups can really flourish here. The center provides a number of different resources to entrepreneurs, including assistance to get small starups on their feet, placing students in internships to develop the skills and knowledge, workshops to develop ideas MONICA ZIMMERMAN and business plans, a speaker series that features successful leaders in the startup world, and networking events with a number of different industries.

Her Advice: The community is here for you; “take advantage of the county.” In West Chester, you can grow quickly by taking advantage of what it has to offer: “Network and reach out to the University.” And above all else, “Be persistent.”

After forging a partnership as owners of Zukin Realty Inc, this father-and-son team have proven extremely successful. While Stan has been working in the borough since the early ’60s and Scott joined the business fifteen years ago, they both attribute their success to the town itself. Scott says, “The town is a perfect combination of opportunity for business—the university, the courthouse, the hospital, all the old wealth of Chester County and the new groups that have moved in developed a perfect melting pot.” Stan adds, “The town values history, and we try to embrace that history in all of our properties.” This focus is evident in their properties, like the building that Limoncello occupies—the Zukins took two dilapidated properties and renovated them, keeping the exposed brick and hardwood and making the beautiful building STAN & SCOTT ZUKIN as it now stands. They are proud of their work and the challenges they take on, and proud of their family business. “At any time you might find two to three generations in our headquarters.”

Their Advice: Work hard.”Find what you like and work hard at it—all the rest will come.” But on top of that, “you should always be grateful and believe in yourself.” And when it comes to what you do with the earnings from you business: “Invest in real estate.” It is always better to buy than rent. “It’s an investment that holds so much more security than renting your whole life.”






Becca Boyd has a passion for good food


Imagine your friend comes to you with an idea to open a West Chester restaurant. He describes his menu as, “Big portions, and rich, genetically modified ingredients shipped in from overseas, bursting at the seams with gluten, trans fats and sugar.” If you’ve been paying attention at all to current food trends, you’d dissuade him (and probably even be a bit concerned

about his mental state). Possibly due to the obesity epidemic, calories are now listed on menus, portions are being drastically reduced, and unless the ingredients came from a farm within a 50-mile radius, the restaurant’s carbon footprint might even come under scrutiny. Eating smaller portions of natural, whole foods produced locally is something I believe in wholeheartedly. I’d tell my friend, “Lose your business plan and get with the times.” If we are lucky, this trend won’t fade away anytime soon. By making it easier to be healthy, our restaurants and markets are only helping us become the best version of ourselves. These two recipes are based on these healthy ideas, so when you make them, don’t forget to buy locally. I guarantee you’ll taste the difference. Avocado Apple Chicken Salad Serves 4 2 chicken breasts, cooked and diced; 2 avocados, peeled and diced; 2 apples, peeled, cored and diced; 1 c. halved grape tomatoes; 1/2 c. finely chopped red onion, scallion or shallot; juice of 1 lime; 2/3 c. plain Greek yogurt; salt and pepper to taste. 1. Combine all ingredients and stir. Serve with whole-grain toasted bread or atop simply dressed mixed greens. Snow Pea and Asparagus Pilaf Serves 4 as a side 1 tbsp. salt; 1/2 lb. snow peas, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces; 1 bunch asparagus, ends snapped and cut into 1 inch pieces; 1 1/2 c. cooked brown rice; 2 tbsp. vegetable oil; 2 tsp. sesame oil; 3 tbsp. light soy sauce or Tamari; 3 tbsp. sesame seeds; 3 sliced scallions; 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes. 1. Bring a medium or large pot of water to boil. Add salt. Add snow peas and asparagus. 2. Cook 1 minute or until bright green and tender. Transfer veggies to a strainer and rinse with cold water until chilled. 3. Combine rice, oils, soy sauce in a large mixing bowl or serving dish. Stir to combine. 4. Add blanched peas and asparagus, scallions, pepper, and sesame seeds and stir to combine. Serve warm, at room temperature, or cold.





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PHOTO Luke O’Brien STORY Jack Lideman

Summer is here and it’s time to break out those styles that just don’t work any other time of year. They may require less layers, but warm-weather outfits don’t necessarily cost less cash, unless you know to shop at the right spots. This month, we sent over our beautiful and charming model, Michelle, to Christine’s Consignment to check out their selection of summer jewelry, shoes and attire. A jumpsuit mostly requires confidence—many people worry they can’t pull it off, but they really tend to work for just about anyone with the requisite courage. Pair this Michael Kors jumpsuit with sandals, and you’re ready to roll. White jeans are a summer staple. Pair them with a bright, patterned shirt, and nice sandals, like these by Tory Burch (which can be found for at Christine’s for $250 off the list price), and you


Outfit One

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Bracelets – $16.00 Ring – $12.99 have the perfect outfit for any warm-weather situation. Ensembles like the the two above can be started from scratch at Christine’s. Grab a dress, sandals, a hat and jewelry for the price of one shoe at Nordstrom! Stop by Christine’s to see what you can find for summer as soon as possible.



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Away The Greater West Chester Chamber of Commerce sets itself apart from the pack with the annual Iron Hill Twillight Criterium by Jesse Piersol


he Greater West Chester Chamber of Commerce is an actual place. Before my visit, I had imagined a dusty storage area in the basement of somebody’s shop, where members of the chamber gathered around a card table to hatch mysterious plans in the glow of a naked light bulb dangling from the ceiling. Chamber president Mark Yoder laughs when I tell him this. “You’re not the only one who thinks that. People are surprised that we have an office and a staff. At a member luncheon today, for instance, I had a new member ask me what we all do as our full-time jobs. I told him, ‘This. This is what we do.’”



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It’s a nice place, too. A handful of offices surround a reception area on the ground floor of a brick building on North High Street. It is in these offices that chamber staff members craft strategies to unite the businesses of West Chester with each other, the community, and customers. Their approach is working, with more than 50,000 people attending their flagship events each year. One of these events is the Iron Hill Twilight Criterium. Beginning with a unique evening start at 7:45, the 47mile professional bicycle race circles downtown West Chester into the darkness. The race is part of the USA Crits Championship Series circuit, and it attracts more than 100 racers from top-level professional teams and more than 25,000 spectators. You might be surprised to find out that the chamber produces the entire event. “Everybody knows the bike race,” says Dave Fairman,

S t a r t e d in 2004 as the brainchild of a local resident and cycling fan, the chamber offered to sponsor the race as a onetime endeavor. Two thousand spectators showed up that year, and the chamber realized it could draw a bigger crowd by making a day of it. In subsequent years, amateur races were introduced, as well as the hugely popular kids’ race. This year, the fiveperson trike race promises to appeal to a different type of “racer,” as teams of five participants drag race down Gay Street on tricycles in a double elimination style quest for victory. The main attraction, however, remains the Twilight Criterium. Arguably the most interesting cycling event for spectators, speeds often top 40 miles per hour during sprints, either for the

GWCC’s director of membership. “They know Iron Hill is the title sponsor. But they don’t know the chamber is at the helm.” On the 10th anniversary of the event, GWCC is working to extend the success of the race day, and by extension, the success of the chamber itself, even further.

finish line, or for interim prizes known as “primes.” Racers ride around a short course, generally with lots of corners. With only four corners in the Twilight Crit, early positioning is key, according to local pro racer Scott Zwizanski. “You have to get up there early. You’d think it would be easy because it’s a square, but that’s misleading. The further back you are

in West Chester. “ O u r mission is to make business easier for our members. We bring 25,000 people into West Chester with this event, and then we bring them back with programs such as thinkshopbuyLOCAL,” says Mark. The chamber’s new thinkshopbuyLOCAL campaign, which is visible on everything from bumper stickers to chamber-sponsored event materials, aims to keep customers’ dollars in West Chester. Dave cites a recent statistic where 63 cents out of every dollar that is spent at a local business stays in the community. That number drops to less than 40 cents when consumers shop at a big box store. “When you think about goods and services, think about Chamber of Commerce members.”

The Strategy GWCC is unique in the region, the only chamber with four full-time staff members and an innovative growth plan that has seen membership increase by 5% over the last two years, even in an economy that has seen many other chambers dwindle or shut their doors altogether. Part of the problem, in Mark’s view, is that “many of today’s chambers live by the old mantra of offering memberto-member discounts. Sure, you need some of that, but to excel you need so much more.” Dave adds, “We provide excellent value for our members through innovative programs and by offering the resources they need to be successful.” That’s where the Twilight Criterium comes in.

on that type of course, the more you’re affected by the huge whiplash effect when the pack slows down through those narrow corners.” For the chamber, that “whiplash effect” brings customers back to shop

Moving Up In bicycle racing, it takes more than strategy to make it to the start line. Ryan Rapolas is doing the pro race for the first time this year. At 31, he only started racing four years ago, and yet he’s managed

Many of today’s chambers live

by the old mantra of offering member-to-member discounts. Sure, you need some of that, but to excel you need so much more.” - Mark Yoder





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to earn a spot on powered by Felt Bicycles, a domestic elite men’s team, of which there are only 24 in the country. Being on a developmental squad like Ryan’s allows top-level amateurs to do big races alongside the pros, a unique aspect of the sport. Last year, he was the Pennsylvania amateur state road race champion, a culmination of strategy and speed, and the requisite suffering inherent in bike racing. “It takes a certain type of person who finds beauty in the suffering. Some people go through life with the nice things, with everything always

L IKE ANY SPORT, CRITERIUM RACING IS MORE EXCITING TO WATCH WHEN YOU KNOW WHAT TO LOOK FOR. Here, members of the West Chester Cycling Club, the Greater West Chester Chamber of Commerce, and a Twilight Criterium racer share their favorite tips to help you get the most out of your experience. Look for the teamwork: Teams wear matching uniforms (“kits” in cycling lingo). If there’s a breakaway down the road, and you see a whole team on the front of the main pack, they’re trying to bring that breakaway back. –Scott Zwizanski, Team Optimum Pro Cycling presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies

Some people go through life with

the nice things, with everything always working out, and they relax in their lives. But other people think that to know real beauty, you need to suffer.” - Ryan Rapolas working out, and they relax in their lives. But other people think that to know real beauty, you need to suffer.” It also takes discipline, and a dogged belief in yourself. “It’s going through the motions, riding further than you intended, even when you don’t always feel like it,” he says. “It’s going off the front of the pack at a practice race, even if you might not make it to the end, just to be out in front for awhile.” For the chamber, moving up means getting their message out to the masses quickly, which they’ve been doing by chasing down the power of social media. You’ll find them on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Their brand-new GWCC app directs users to West Chester businesses for all their professional, retail, and restaurant needs. Getting Lean Cycling is a body-conscious discipline. With few exceptions, the skinnier you are, the faster you go. When it comes to getting lean, pro cyclist Scott Zwizanski is a seasoned veteran. The West Chester native is always a local favorite, placing 4th in the race in 2010. He’s been having a great season so far this year as part of his team, Optimum Pro Cycling presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies. This year, he got down to race weight first thing in the season, which he credits to cutting dairy out of his diet. It’s not the only approach. “I know gluten-free guys, guys who eat a lot of salads. I’ve had teammates who eat a big breakfast, and then go out on a training ride on those morning calories all day. It’s a successful strategy to go to bed a little hungry, too.” The chamber knows what it’s like for its member businesses to go to bed a little hungry. Mark observes that because companies run so much

Sometimes you’ll see a bunch of racers from different teams on the front, and then right behind them you’ll see a whole team. That team is sitting there in perfect position, ready to attack or give a leadout to their sprinter if necessary. –Scott Zwizanski Bring a cowbell. It’s a lot more fun when you’re cheering and can really make some noise. –Viktor Ohnjec, West Chester Cycling Club Stand at a corner. Racers slow down a bit, and you might hear them talking strategy, or talking trash. You’ll get to absorb the race on every level, and not just with your eyes. All senses are involved. –Viktor Ohnjec Don’t sit on a curb. Be aware of your surroundings. Watch out for your camera. You’re literally a foot from a hundred professional racers going 30+ miles per hour. –Viktor Ohnjec Listen to the announcer. We have an MC who does a great job explaining what’s happening. It really helps to understand everything you’re seeing out on the course. –Mark Yoder, GWCC President If you have to cross the road, obey the marshal and do it quickly. –Bob Morris, West Chester Cycling Club Pick out one or two riders and track them the whole race to see what happens. –Bob Morris



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leaner today, not every business can have their own human resources department, or a marketing person. “They can call the chamber, and we’ll put them in touch with someone. We can answer questions for organizations who don’t have the resources to answer those questions themselves.” Working Together It takes a big team to run the Twilight Crit, and the chamber relies on a vast network of volunteers. Bob Morris is a WCCC ride director and board member, and helps coordinate the more than 300 volunteers required to make the day’s events happen. Many of the volunteers come from the cycling club, which has more than 350 members, but it’s a community effort. “We also get a lot of teachers, because they’re off from school for the summer.” Volunteering, which takes place in two-hour shifts, isn’t all work, either. For instance, “If you get the first shift, you get to watch the race and enjoy it, and then work the second half,” says Bob. Teamwork even finds its way into the club’s regularly scheduled rides. “If you focus on riding together, you can go fast,” notes Viktor. “It’s working together to achieve a common goal. In the final 10 minutes, though, all bets are off,” he laughs, describing how everyone tends

to unleash their inner racer at the end of a group ride. Teamwork wins the actual race, too. Sometimes, the entire pack of riders will stay together for the whole race, resulting in a dramatic, fight-for-thefinish dash with lots of contact. In this scenario, a rider such as Scott’s job is to keep the team’s sprinter safe from

attacks by other teams and sheltered from the wind, so he can stay as fresh as possible. In the final push to the finish line, the sprinter’s teammates peel off, one by one, leaving the sprinter in optimal position to bid for glory. Other times, a small group of riders will go off the front of the main pack, forcing competing teams to chase it down and tire out their riders. “If there’s a breakaway, you might put four of your riders on the front to chase it down so there’s a field sprint at the end,” says Scott. “Or, you might get in a breakaway to force other teams to chase. Sometimes we want to be in a breakaway so we’re not responsible for chasing it down. We can force other guys to chase our breakaway so they can’t stay as fresh.” Bringing it all Together Whether it’s a field sprint for the finish line, or a handful of riders who manage to stay off the front until the end, the Twilight Criterium has a more significant meaning to West Chester culture than just a bike race. Ryan Rapolas attributes the unique experience to the involvement of people around the race course. “You hear your name everywhere. Everything is a blur, with streaks and flashes of light. You’re hitting holes. You don’t know where you

are. It’s confusing, but you’re very in the moment.” Scott Zwizanski agrees. “For me, so many people know me. I get named a lot by the announcer. All the establishments are packed, with Gay and Market streets being three to four people deep. It’s a Saturday night hanging out in West Chester, with basically a giant NASCAR

You hear your name everywhere. Everything is a blur, with streaks and flashes of light. You’re hitting holes. You don’t know where you are. It’s confusing, but you’re very in the moment.” race in the middle of it to watch.” Local pro racer Colleen Gulick earned a 4th place finish in the women’s event in both 2011 and 2013. “The race always draws a great crowd, making it an action-packed evening for everyone involved. “ For Viktor Ohnjec, it’s a sweet spot of the summer on a deeper level. “This is a day when cycling is good. A lot of times people don’t like cyclists. But at this event, everyone is part of the same community.” Bob Morris chimes in. “All the members in the club love to ride their bikes, obviously. But you eventually find out that somebody you’re riding with is a doctor, or whatever. It doesn’t matter, because anybody who shows up on a bike is accepted the same way.” We’ve all been in the sweet spot at some point in our lives. Often, we’re oblivious to it until years later, when we look back on our lives and revel in the way all the right things seemed to yield in front of us. It’s like driving down the road when all the traffic lights turn green. Scott is in the middle of one this year. At 37, he’s reached the pinnacle of his racing career, with a 6th place finish in the national time trial championship, and a 7th in the road race. “My coach, Brian Walton of Walton Endurance, calls it ‘periodization.’ You can’t be at your best the whole season. You try to have those peaks be at races you’re good at.” At least for now, the Greater West Chester Chamber of Commerce seems to have found what it’s good at, and Dave Fairman knows it. “It’s a positive cycle that we’re in right now.” With innovative strategies that unite the community with local businesses, and a growing physical presence at events and on social media, GWCC is looking to maximize its sweet spot for years to come.





Children in


Jennifer Ozgur is a mother, wife and teacher who still finds time to get out and about with her family

Now that my son has gotten a little older, it’s been more fun to take him into the borough for little outings. He likes the pain au chocolat at Yori’s; I like finding my weekly guilty pleasure fix of imported cheese. We both enjoy Marshall Square Park. I’m starting to see that more than just flowers seemed to have popped up overnight this spring. The one most notable change has been the fairly recent installation of new trash bins. You may be thinking that I really need to get out more if garbage cans catch my eye, but these are not just any receptacle. They are high-tech and filled with optimism. These waste receptacles are a little larger than the standard trash can and look more like brown mailboxes, but what they can do is pretty amazing. These containers also function as compactors. As a result, they can store up to five times the usual rubbish. They also have a built-in sensor that alerts the sanitation department when the unit is full, therefore saving on fuel by eliminating unnecessary trips. All of these features are powered by the sun. They are called “BigBelly Solar” and although in total they cost in excess of $300K, the 71 revolutionary refuse containers are projected to save money in the long run. They were officially launched on Earth Day this year. West Chester is not alone in this effort of garbage going green. Philadelphia has over 1,000 of them, which saves the City over one million dollars a year. So what does this have to do with a family-themed column? I think it’s an opportunity to get my daughter excited and thinking about something. (At two, my son’s still a little too young.) To some, BigBelly is just another trash can, but to me, it’s creativity, vision and execution. I don’t see a place to toss an empty coffee cup; I see someone’s light-bulb moment. I see the result of out-of-the-box thinking. I want my children to understand that they have a place in this world and they can affect change for the good if they slow down, open their eyes and use their minds. I’m pretty sure that’s what had to happen not only for the solar can inventions to be created, but for them to come to West Chester. There had to be people who thought they could make a difference and they didn’t stop until it happened. That’s one of the many things I love about West Chester; it adapts to the changing needs of society, yet still remembers its historical roots. Futuristic installments on traditional brick sidewalks. We’re lucky to live in such a place, and the younger generation should understand how fortunate they are. If they appreciate it, then maybe they will preserve those finer qualities for the future. But it’s up to us to point out those virtues. I suppose that’s why I always keep my eyes open for those unexpected treasures—and West Chester always delivers.





The Real (estate)


Entrepreneur and Realtor Brad Liermann keeps tabs on development here in the borough

Forget the downturn: investing in this town is as active as it’s ever been, and lately, it’s been particularly robust on the small scale. The borough contains hundreds of properties, 450 to be exact, and the prices for these properties typically begin in the mid $200,000 range for properties that need some work. The value often rises in excess of $600,000 for a four-unit property that has been well maintained with a solid rental history. Although each real estate deal is different, at the low end, a two-unit property could be purchased with as little as $12,000 cash on hand, and even less if the purchaser will be living in one of the units in the property. For properties that have four units or less, residential loans can be obtained for their purchase. All of these factors have come together to create the opportunity for someone who wouldn’t consider themselves to be a particularly experienced real estate investor to get into the game. And it’s the perfect time for you to as well. Of course, I’m sure you have many reasons for not wanting to become a landlord, but many of those concerns can be alleviated with the right mindset and planning. The most common objection is a fear of the time-consuming nature of dealing with tenant issues and property repairs. While this is undoubtedly a rational and real concern, a quality property management company can eliminate the issue. For approximately ten percent of monthly rents, a property management company should be able to take care of virtually any problem that may arise. Other concerns include the cost of repairs or renovations, the additional tax owed to the government, and the harm tenants can do to a property. These should all be addressed with a real estate brokerage, but if the financial projections are made conservatively prior to the purchase, and the tenants are adequately screened, you can solve these issues quickly and adeptly. Many multi-unit properties have been bought and sold in West Chester in the past several months, and for record prices. As Chester County grows in population, rent prices have never been higher. With higher rents come higher sales prices for owners, and many are cashing in. This creates an opportunity for a new crop of investors to begin their own process of wealth creation via the real estate market. Not only that, but local ownership is better for the community—when local residents become owners of these rental properties, the properties become more than just numbers on a spreadsheet for a large development company. They are given the attention and care they’ve long needed. The opportunity to invest in something tangible is literally next door. You may just have to knock.



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Bartender Rease Larer-Dodson talks to us about the new and exciting menu and bar life at Kooma Modern Asian. Rease Larer-Dodson, a West Chester native and Art Institute of Philadelphia student, brings a fun, fresh attitude to the new Kooma Modern Asia. I sat down with him for a quick conversation about what's going on. Where are you from? I was born here.

My mom went to Henderson, and it’s funny because I went to East. I have been in West Chester all my life. Are you in college right now? I am. I am at The Art Institute of Philadelphia. I am a film major there, and I will graduate after next semester. I’ve done a lot of

music videos in the past, but I am moving towards documentary now. When did you start working at Kooma?

I started about a year ago. I actually started as the bouncer, and I have just been climbing the ladder since. I’ve been a busboy, a server, a barback, and now bartender, so I’ve seen it all here, which I think is an advantage. So, is Kooma your first bartending experience? It is. I learned everything I

know here. The person who trained me is a great guy, and he’s really knowledgeable, so I feel really lucky to have gotten the experience that I have. So now that there are two locations, this one has switched things up a bit. What’s the new menu all about? We are focused

on Asian fusion, so we have a diverse collection of foods from all over Asia. We do not have sushi at this location anymore— we're more focused on stuff from the kitchen. We offer pho dishes, Korean BBQ, and a few Chinese items that I am sure a lot of people are familiar with. The owners feel it’s really important to do Asian food correctly, so although there are two loca-

tions now, they still maintain the Kooma quality that we’ve always provided. Have you gotten to sample any of the dishes? I have tried just about everything.

All the Korean BBQs are really good, as well as the vermicelli. The pho special is probably my favorite. How has the community responded to the new menu? It’s been a great response!

Everyone that comes in and tries something new is always satisfied, and they end up raving about what they eat. It’s great to work at a bar, serve someone food and have them give great feedback when they finish their meal. Our head chef actually only speaks Vietnamese so when we say “Modern Asian,” it’s very authentic. Have the drinks changed at all? We’ve added a few drinks, but for the most part it’s the same. We still do Asian-inspired cocktails, and we try to keep things really fresh and fun. It’s been great becoming a bartender and learning how to make different kinds of martinis and mixed drinks. I really encourage people to come in and try the drinks as well as the dishes—they really make for a great combo!



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Angela joined Salon XQuisite last week after working at a salon that didn't allow stylists to change their cut or color while working. So she had no color in her hair, and an old cut that was in desperate need of attention. Since, at Salon XQuisite, owner Michael Liberatore believes that his stylists should constantly change their looks and keep updated with the newest trends and styles to keep clients motivated and trying new things, Angela seemed the obvious candidate for a makeover—she needed to shear off her dead ends and liven up her new look with a fresh hit of color. They started with two shades for her highlights, using an alternating, ammonia-free, high-lift blonde and powder foil for a natural multi-tone color, then applied a toner for a golden-blonde gloss throughout, giving her that sexy summer blonde. They took off five inches, added bangs and layered her hair to frame her face. Angela likes her hair very voluminous, so they finished the style with plenty of curls to give her the big hair she was after.




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Building Blocks

How the Business Improvement District Mapped the Plan to Revitalize Downtown West Chester by Kate Chadwick

The term “behind the scenes”is boring.When you are sitting front and center at the latest Tony Award-winning musical on Broadway, the last thing you are wondering is, "Who is hoisting the curtain? Who picked the costumes? Who designed the stage?" And I bet, that as you walk through the borough, likely the same idea holds true.While you may be very aware of its cultural offerings— its entertainment scene, its walkability, its beautiful architecture, its excellent restaurants and diverse shops—what you may not be aware of is what’s going on behind the scenes... and the role that the BID, or Business Investment District, plays in promoting everything that makes West Chester so great. JULY 2014 THEWCPRESS.COM


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Established in 2000 by the West Chester Borough Council in conjunction with downtown property owners, the West Chester BID has been nothing short of pivotal in putting West Chester on the collective maps of potential residents, visitors and business owners, both within Pennsylvania and beyond. “Basically, it’s the job of the BID to attract more customers and more businesses to the downtown area,” said Malcolm Johnstone, who has served as executive director of the WC BID since June 2001. Johnstone brings quite a bit to the table as director, having worked as a downtown development specialist since 1985. He is certified in Professional Downtown Management by the National Main Street Center, a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation in Washington, DC. “I’ve previously served as manager with the Pendleton Downtown Association, the McMinnville Downtown Association – both in Oregon – and the Coeur d'Alene Downtown Association in Idaho. I also spent five years with Livable Oregon, a division of Oregon Downtown Development Association, providing technical assistance to more than 40 downtowns around that state.” We asked Johstone just what kind of difference having a BID can make to the viability of a given downtown area, as opposed to just doing without one. “It’s an increasingly competitive economic climate, but the West Chester BID's marketing is able to reach more than four million people expanding its market share as a destination. No community can continue to flourish without a dynamic plan and funded organization supported by downtown stakeholders and partnerships.” You certainly can’t argue with the numbers as a result of the BID’s work (see "BID By The Numbers" at right). “The results have been remarkable,” Johnstone said. “There have been more than 27 awards and recognitions given to West Chester, and it’s regarded as a premier destination for businesses and visitors. In the past year, West Chester was given the Best of Philly by Philadelphia Magazine (for the second time), and it’s been designated a “Red Hot Community” by Main Line Today, where West Chester made the cover of the April edition. And all of this was achieved by fostering a supportive business climate and acting as a catalyst for business growth in the downtown through marketing and incentive programs.” And where does the money come from? “The BID is funded through an annual assessment, which is equitably shared by all of the commercial properties in the district,” Johnstone said. “The assessment rate’s calculated as .00275 of assessed value of the commercial portion of the property. And 100% of the funds collected go toward programs of the West Chester BID.” Just how vital a role does the marketing arm of the BID play for the sustainability of downtown West Chester? We asked BID board member and West Chester business owner Cyndi Meadows for an answer to that question. “In a word, it’s been huge,” she told us. Meadows, who owns Penwick Design on High Street, knows what she’s talking about, since she not only now serves as chair on the marketing committee of the BID, she has seen direct results of the organization’s efforts on her own business. “I’ve been in West Chester since 1988,” she said. “And let’s just say that when I arrived here, the downtown area was definitely not thriving.” When she started Penwick Design eight years ago, she immediately became involved with BID, and has been an active member ever since. “People have a tendency, I think, to criticize things before they even find out about them,” she said. “I got involved with

BID because I wanted to find out about them prior to making any kind of a judgment.” Clearly, she liked what she saw. “I’ve seen the results that BID has had on the borough with my own eyes.” Meadows has recently been appointed to the Historical Awards Committee, in addition serving on the marketing committee of the BID. “In fact, the marketing has been really effective in bringing visitors to West Chester. There are probably less people within the borough who are aware of just how important the BID is than there are outside of it.” Evidently all that marketing is working, with the website being the driving force. “Last year, 238,000 visitors came to, the BID's website,” Johnstone told us. And according to the website, that number represents a relatively significant segment of the three million visitors to Southeastern Pennsylvania every year. “The website is the jumping off point, where people can go to look for lodging and shopping and dining,” Meadows told us. “And it’s a good indicator of just how much the downtown area is thriving that the BID’s print directory is in almost constant need of updating!” And Johnstone added: “The BID’s marketing strategy has also included promotional pieces in The New Yorker magazine, PreserBID By The Numbers vation Magazine, and Pennsylvania 261% increase in West Chester Vacation Magamarket value since 2000 zine, to name but a few. And 241 new businesses have opened the Pennsylvania in West Chester since 2000 Cable Network dedicated a Parking revenue has gone up from full half-hour $360,000 in 2000 to a projected program to $1,630,000 in 2014 downtown West Assessed value has increased Chester.” Given Johnby $46,000,000 since 2000 stone’s years of Property taxes have increased experience in by $320,000 since 2000 the business of downtown revitalization, we had to ask him what he believes sets West Chester apart from these other downtown areas that he’s helped to develop throughout his career. "I’d have to say that West Chester is set apart from other communities by the breadth of the American history that’s reflected in its historic structures,” he told us. “There are some 2,400 structures here that are listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Walking along the sidewalks of the borough is like browsing through a living museum, where 250 years of development can be seen." So the next time you see a play, think about those stagehands, the costume designers, the set producers. And the next time you take a walk around the beautiful and thriving borough of West Chester, think about the BID, because all of that work “behind the scenes” is the reason why the awards are won.



A P S Z SINCE 1948

BEVERAGE A West Chester Tradition Locally owned and operated since 1948, Spaz Beverage has been providing Chester and Delaware Counties with a great selection of imported, specialty and domestic beer. We also offer a variety of soda, mixers, spring water, mineral water and non-alcoholic beer.




Mon-Thurs 8:30am-9pm Fri & Sat 8:30am-10pm Sunday 10am-6pm


1015 West Chester Pike (610) 696-6320



DJ Romeo gives you 25 songs that get you ready for your nine-to-five.

My first thought was to put together a playlist for the work day; the problem is, different office settings demand different music—not everyone can jam out to “The Money Chant” from The Wolf of Wall Street like we do in The WC Press headquarters. So instead, I decided to pick songs that get you ready for your nine-tofive, a list that touches on everything from working, to money, to investing in yourself. My suggestion is that you download these tracks to your iPod, plug it into your car’s aux jack, and crank these tunes on your morning commute to remind yourself why you’re still in the rat race—this is the best preworkday pump-up playlist on Earth. |

Robbie Robertson ft. Matthew McConaughey – The Money Chant Aloe Blacc – I Need a Dollar Bachman Turner Overdrive – Takin’ Care of Business Donna Summer – She Works Hard For the Money Barrett Strong – Money (That’s What I Want) The Beatles – Taxman Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – Make the Money The Vogues – Five O’Clock World Dolly Parton – 9 to 5 Drake – Started From the Bottom Loverboy – Working For the Weekend Calloway – I Want to Be Rich Pink Floyd – Money Lynyrd Skynyrd – Workin’ Fountains of Wayne – Bright Future in Sales David Guetta ft. Ne–Yo & Akon – Play Hard Michael Jackson – Money Dire Straits – Money For Nothing Notorious BIG – Mo Money, Mo Problems Steve Miller Band – Take the Money and Run Jackson Browne – The Pretender Eminem – Business ABBA – Money, Money, Money Travie McCoy & Bruno Mars – Billionaire O’Jays – For the Love of the Money



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