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Old 09-07-2008, 03:26 PM
 
Location: Virginville, PA
1 posts, read 1,584 times
Reputation: 10

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Hello.
I first came to this site while doing demographic research and this forum seems like a good place to get more info.

I am currently a business owner in northern Berks county and have had a less-than-favorable experience there. I am looking to relocate my business - an independently-owned coffeehouse which features live music events, literary events such as book signings and poetry readings, art, and informational presentations and seminars - to the Allentown area.

I have been looking at various properties on the internet and I would like to know the following:

1. What areas of Allentown are the 'bad' areas? Specific streets or areas would help me a lot, such as x-street to y-street, abc park area, etc.

2. I see that there are many art and cultural events taking place throughout the year. Allentown in general seems to have a population that is very open to the type of things that I would be bringing to the community. Is this true?

3. I have heard a rumor that either St. Luke's or one of the other hospitals is slated for huge lay-offs. Does anyone know if there is any truth to that, and if so, which hospital?

4. If anyone on this forum is familiar with the city of Reading, Berks County, how would you compare Allentown's crime rate? And is the city and its officials doing anything to curb gang growth?

5. What type of area is the west end - specifically the area around St. Luke's? (18104 zip code) Is it more residential or is it a place that is walked a lot, where a small cozy business would do well? I note that the west end is close to Cedar Crest College and Muhlenberg College.

I do plan to spend more time in the area, doing my homework so-to-speak, since I do not live that far away, but any advice you can give me as residents - or business owners - would be very helpful to me.

Thank you in advance.

~JavaG
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Old 09-08-2008, 08:00 AM
 
12,870 posts, read 29,509,143 times
Reputation: 7438
I can see this working between Muhlenberg and Cedar Crest. That area has a good mix of residential, stores and businesses. I'm not sure how you would fare when the colleges are off during the breaks.

My preference would be Bethlehem over Allentown because it's an area I feel comfortable walking around so would easily go there after shopping/window shopping in Bethlehem. I'm not sure how much drop in traffic you get in the area you are looking at. I would think you would want to be very close to Muhlenberg, but if you are totally dependent on student traffic you would be up a creek June-August. Also, they probably have a coffee shop on-campus that accepts their student cash card.

My daughter went to a coffee shop in Bethlehem a couple of weeks ago (Wired- ::WIRED GALLERY:: ::Home::) and loved the combo of art and music. Our neighbors were also in Bethlehem that night (I think it was a Thursday) and they said the sidewalks were packed with people at 9 pm - something you will not find in Allentown.

The advantage of Bethlehem is that it has the two colleges, Lehigh and Moravian, as well as constant local and tourist traffic AND lots of festivals. I think Bethlehem could support more then one coffee shop if you can figure out some sort of angle.

But, that's just my opinion. You probably already thought of Bethlehem and decided to focus on Allentown for a good reason. Hope someone else can post with the info you are looking for.
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Old 09-08-2008, 08:54 AM
 
Location: Scranton
2,937 posts, read 3,244,475 times
Reputation: 570
Specifics on Allentown? All I know is that they're closing all the factories down, and out in Bethlehem they're killing time, filling out forms, standing in line...

according to Billy Joel, anyways.
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Old 09-08-2008, 08:58 AM
 
Location: Marshall-Shadeland, Pittsburgh, PA
31,297 posts, read 69,859,585 times
Reputation: 16937
Quote:
Originally Posted by FightinPhils View Post
Specifics on Allentown? All I know is that they're closing all the factories down, and out in Bethlehem they're killing time, filling out forms, standing in line...

according to Billy Joel, anyways.
Winner for corniest post of the day.
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Old 09-08-2008, 09:06 AM
 
Location: Marshall-Shadeland, Pittsburgh, PA
31,297 posts, read 69,859,585 times
Reputation: 16937
Getting back on topic though I concur wholeheartedly with toobusytoday. Bethlehem was a city I fell in love with during my photo tour. The North Side is the touristy area with the Moravian Historic District, Hotel Bethlehem, Bethlehem Brew Works, Moravian Bookstore, and various independent businesses, but the South Side may be getting revived as well with the BethWorks mixed-use project which will feature a casino, lofts, stores, and restaurants. I'm thinking in the long-term that opening your sort of venture along East Third Street in South Side Bethlehem could be your ticket to success. In a few short blocks you have the Banana Factory Artists' Colony, a store that sells some pretty cool home decor out of refurbished junk, JP McGrady's Pub, the Riverport Lofts, a museum dedicated to Bethlehem's industrial heritage, and of course BethWorks. I don't recall any hip coffee/music hangouts along East Third Street, but I could be mistaken. You'd also be pretty close to the campus of Lehigh University.

Personally I'd like to see more venues like yours up here in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, but given that the lemmings here prefer Starbucks, Barnes & Noble, Borders, etc. over anything else, I'm not sure how you'd fare in my neck of the woods. Downtown Scranton has a hip espresso bar called Northern Lights, and that has barely kept its head above water while in operation.

Best of luck to you though!
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