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On the Ground: Frankford CDC teams up with Aria Health

When you don’t live in the neighborhood where you work, it can be easy to commute in, do your job and go home without ever getting to know the surrounding neighborhood and its offerings. Up in Frankford, a part of town flush with local businesses, Aria Health is seeking to change this pattern. Earlier this year, the company partnered with the Frankford CDC, bringing neighborhood merchants to Aria’s Frankford campus to showcase their products and services to employees.  

When we covered this story in April, the program had yet to officially start, but the CDC and Aria were both eager to get going. Six months later, and two events down, early signs point towards success.  

"We've had two furniture businesses both make sales," explains Michelle Feldman, commercial corridor manager at the CDC. "We've had a baker sell a whole set of pies for Thanksgiving. And just yesterday, we had a silk screen and embroidery shop make three potential sales."

With these early successes, the program is really building momentum. "In just a few months, the Aria staff has come to know about the program," says Feldman. "I know several have come to look forward to it."

Aria employees are seeing the benefits of the program—now branded "Business Spotlight"—as well. "I have worked here for almost four years and did not know that right across the street from Aria is a shoemaker," says Kathleen Milligan, an executive secretary at Aria Health. "I have since had four pairs of shoes re-tipped and [given] new heals!" Other notable businesses that have been "spotlighted" include Gilbert's Upholstery and Antiques, Frankford Friends SchoolCramer's Uniforms and Mezalick Design Studio (profiled in the November 27 issue of Flying Kite). 

Thanks to the recent successes, Aria has developed a business plan with the Frankford CDC to formally institutionalize the program. Milligan hopes they can hold events four times a year. "Everyone agrees that [the program] benefits us and the community," she says. "We believe we are making a difference."

Source: Michelle Feldman, Frankford CDC; Kathleen Milligan, Executive Secretary, Aria Health
WriterGreg Meckstroth
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