Mayfair BID building on its accomplishments

The two-year-old organization is working to meets its promise of creating “the great corridor that the people of Mayfair deserve.”

The Mayfair Business Improvement District formed two years ago with a mission to bolster the fortunes of merchants, mostly along Frankford Avenue.

There was already plenty going on in the neighborhood, with the annual Thanksgiving parade and Christmas village being two highlights.

The Mayfair BID appears to be complementing existing efforts very well. In fact, the BID was nominated for one of the Greater Northeast Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce’s Excellence Awards for nonprofits.

Marc Collazzo has been the executive director since last October, and he wants to make the business district “the great corridor that the people of Mayfair deserve.”

In April, the BID held its first arts festival, with the second annual event already set for April 13, 2019.

Later in April, the BID held an NFL Draft party, which was a success despite the Eagles trading the 32nd and final pick of the first round. Another draft party is planned for next year.

“I hope the Eagles draft last again,” said Collazzo, referring to the slot given the Super Bowl champions.

The next big BID event will take place on Thursday, July 19. Glamour on the Avenue, a fashion show, will go from 7 to 9 p.m.

“It could be our biggest event yet,” Collazzo said.

Among the businesses that will be prominently featured will be Art History 101, Domenico Formal Wear, Dress Up Time, Oteri’s Bakery and Torresdale Flowers. There will be a disc jockey, and local restaurants will be offering food.

Models will wear everything from T-shirts to tuxedos in what Collazzo refers to as a “Northeast Philadelphia glamour look.”

The BID sponsors the film The King’s Highway, and is working with director Jason Sherman to hold a movie screening and trolley tour of local historical sites on Aug. 16. Art History 101 will be unveiling a new Frankford Yellow Jackets T-shirt that night to commemorate the pro football team that played in Lower Mayfair and won the 1926 NFL title.

In the fall, the BID will show the Thursday night, Oct. 11, Eagles game against the New York Giants on a big screen at a site to be determined.

Also in October, there will be a Halloween party outside the Grey Lodge Pub.

On a grander scale, the BID is awaiting the results of a Frankford Avenue traffic study. A full business corridor study has also been funded, and results are expected in early to mid-2019.

Based on recommendations, the BID will seek funding to implement suggested improvements, which could include streetscape, bumpouts, new traffic signals and, most prominently, angled parking and a change to one-lane traffic each way.

The study will include community meetings.

“We could put shovels into the ground in late 2019,” said Collazzo, adding that a nicer corridor will attract better businesses.

Two new businesses — a Wholesale Direct auto parts store and a senior citizens activities and medical office — will be moving into the Mayfair Shopping Center.

Across from the shopping center, the BID is also hoping a restaurant, with new high-end apartments built above, can replace the former 7-Eleven at 6401 Frankford Ave.

The residential and business areas of Mayfair are experiencing an influx of Asians, and the BID will work with the newly formed Asian Business Association.

Other work done by the BID includes security cameras. One camera has already helped identify a hit-and-run driver. Cameras will eventually be at every intersection in the BID boundaries.

By the end of the year, the BID will restripe the 53-spot parking lot at 7143 Frankford Ave. and replace the meters with a kiosk. Signage will be added, and the lot will have round-the-clock security and regular cleanups.

The BID will also become a city registered community organization, able to weigh in on neighborhood zoning issues.

“It’s a natural thing. We want to empower our property owners. They have a stake in our corridor,” Collazzo said.

Marketing professional Randi Sherwood has been promoting the BID in various ways, including on bus shelters, social media and the mayfairphilly.com website. She is also helping to implement a text campaign in which consumers can type their cell phone numbers into a device at businesses to receive coupons and discounts.

“Loyalty programs are huge right now,” Sherwood said. ••