Philadelphia Inquirer: Fishtown, where small businesses bloom

Mar 29, 2016

Gone are the days in the 1940s and '50s when Clete Cunningham's father opened a welding supply company in what oldtimers call Fishtown, and "there was so much manufacturing in the city that there was plenty of business to go around."

But these days, amid coffee shops and brew pubs, the area has been rebranded as East Kinsington and is becoming a business incubator, nurturing small arts- and tech-based companies.

"They are tiny little customers now, but we know from experience that some of them will grow into huge, multimillion dollar corporations," said Cunningham, who leads J.A. Cunningham Equipment Inc., founded in 1946 on Trenton Avenue.

"It's an emerging area," said Anna Bailey, a vice president at the Philadelphia Federal Credit Union, which opened its Fishtown branch on Dauphin Street in April 2013.

By Jan. 31, the branch had made $10.5 million in business loans.

"I don't think it has seen its full potential," she said.

By night, hipsters in flannel shirts crowd brew pubs, whiskey bars, restaurants, and nightclubs, with so many bicycling into Fishtown and parts of Kensington that finding room to lock a two-wheeler poses a challenge.

During the day, guitar makers and sellers, website designers, upholsterers, custom bicycle makers, and brewers are, bit by bit, adding jobs to these once tired river wards.

Read more here.

– Written by Jane Von Bergen for the Philadelphia Inquirer

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