Earlier this month, CreekSide Co-op
celebrated its grand opening at 7909 High School Road in the heart of Elkins Park’s business district, just steps from the community’s SEPTA regional rail stop. Now open in the former Ashborne Market, CreekSide is a full-service grocery store boasting 1,400 member households.
When Ashborne closed five years ago, rejuvenating the space as a grocery store a must for many area residents. A co-op -- where community members own and operate the store -- was an appealing model. It would keep money spent within the community and provide access to a wide array of locally-sourced products.
Five years of fundraising and hard work finally paid off: Elkins Park has a grocery store again.
The longterm impact of the co-op has locals particularly excited. "CreekSide is a particularly good story because it’s aiding in the revitalization of a relatively inactive retail corridor," says CreekSide's Jonathan McGoran, who also works with Weavers Way Coop in Mt. Airy. "The idea is to create a retail village, right next to the train station."
That retail village, centered on High School Road, is ripe for rebirth. With its collection of adjacent small-scale commercial buildings and the nearby train station funneling people in and out of the district on a daily basis, the ingredients are there for a successful pedestrian-oriented district.
With decent residential density nearby bringing in foot traffic, CreekSide might also help provide a new model for transit-oriented shopping districts in the Philly suburbs.
Already, CreekSide’s presence has increased vibrancy in the village. According to McGoran, there’s been a marked increase in people on the street since the store's unofficial opening in November. McGoran expects spinoff development and additional investment just around the corner.