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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Bridgeport, PA - breeding local business

If you've ever driven through Bridgeport on your way to King of Prussia or points south using Dekalb St, you would have noticed a few things.

Bridgeport is sprucing up. Has been for years now. Revitalization has been happening right in front of everyone's faces and it looks to be moving along very well. The city planners weren't going to wait around for a promise from one big developer and hope it happened. Nope, they got straight to it with deals and incentives for new business to come in, and look what has happened. A Bridgeport that looks better and better every day, has new shops, new buildings, new places to live, and the stores and locations that have been synonymous with Bridgeport are thriving more than ever.

Is Bridgeport the new Manayunk? The answer is not yet. But they are getting there sooner than later. What exactly does that mean anyway? Well, if you are from the area you know Manayunk to be this quiet little strip of space along the river close to Philadelphia that got a huge lift and media push when some folks started cleaning up the location and adding new stores. Soon enough it was a restaurant mecca with little boutique shops and markets where people came from all over to spend the day shopping, walking along the river and soaking up some treats provided by the towns merchants.

Bridgeport is heading that way as well. An uplift of traffic to a town is a boon for it's local business. It's kinda like an internet site. Get the right key words out there and have your site land on the first page of any Google search and your sales are bound to go through the roof. have a quaint little town, provide new and exciting stores with great restaurants and eateries, a beautiful setting, maybe some history, and one thing that sparks the interest of the media to promote it via a news piece, and you have a success story like Manayunk.

Manayunk wasn't always the Manayunk you young folk think it was. Manayunk was a dump. Nothing there. Until Core States bank (remember that???) started sponsoring the bike race that just so happened to run through the little town of Manayunk. Someone realized that there was some opportunity there to start promoting business on that little strip of Main St. Fast Forward and there you have it.

So what puts Bridgeport into that category? What opportunity do they have that may catapult them into Manayunk status (Let me pause here. I can hear the mumbles right now from the competitive attitudes out there, "what does Manayunk have on us??...Don't kid yourself, Manayunk is now more of a brand than it is a place to live, eat, or shop)? What does, or what can Bridgeport do to Brand themselves?

Obviously the River is a good start. People love water, and the Schuylkill River is a beautiful stretch of it. If Norristown and Bridgeport could get their heads together I can't imagine what could possibly happen.

The difference Bridgeport has is their community. A community of people that live there for the community. They hold Feasts, own businesses, belong to the fire halls. The geography makes it a little unique as well. Kind of placed in a little valley that gets passed by traffic via the Dannehower Bridge. Yet, they still prosper. Iconic businesses such as the Bridgeport Ribhouse, Frosty Falls, Suzy-Jo Donuts, and Chics Tavern. These are places that have all gone to the ropes to promote not only their own businesses but the community as well.

But what events could be used to attract media interest to show that Bridgeport, from time to time, gets a whole bunch of people trekking through their little village? Chew on that. I might have some answers myself but let's move on for now.

The next couple of posts will be looking at some of those businesses in Bridgeport. Doing the piece on Brubakers got me thinking about this little gem of a town. So leave your comments on which businesses from Bridgeport you'd like to see have the spot light on them.

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