After two stores shut down at the Avenue North shopping strip located on the 1600 block of North Broad Street, the shopping area now has three vacant properties.
Real McCoy’s Athletic Footwear & Apparel moved from Avenue North to the corner of Broad Street and Olney Avenue. Staff at its new location declined to comment on its location change.
Shop owners at other Avenue North businesses said the high rent in the area was a possible cause. Citing legal reasons, no other owners gave details about their own expenses operating from Avenue North.
Justin Lee, a senior business major and employee at Hair Fashion & Beyond, said the large amount of competition in the area was an issue for shops along the shopping strip.
Real McCoy Sports sold similar items at the nearby Foot Locker.
Brock’s Wings & Things, the second store to leave the shopping strip, competed with restaurants along Cecil B. Moore Avenue. Morgan Hall’s dining complex, which opened in the Fall 2013 semester, only heightened the competition.
Opened and owned by Raheem Brock, a Temple alumnus and former NFL player, the chicken wing restaurant recently left the shopping strip.
Brock could not be reached for comment.
Originally part of the national chain, Wingstop, Brock broke away from the franchise and reopened the restaurant in 2012 with its current name. The change was caused by Brock’s frustration with the restrictions of franchise companies, according to Black Enterprise magazine.
Isaiah Gaffney, a junior public relations major, said he wasn’t surprised to see Brock’s close.
“I feel like with all the food shops at Morgan, they probably wouldn’t get enough business,” he said.
Additionally, poor customer ratings could have contributed to the restaurant closing. Brock’s Wings & Things received a two out of five star rating on Yelp, a popular online website for restaurant reviews.
However, on the business’ Facebook page, the average customer rating was 4.2 stars out of five.
The third vacant space along the strip has a new smoothie store coming in, called the Tropical Smoothie Café.
The 66,000 square foot shopping strip finished construction in 2006, with investment for the project coming from Citizens Bank and the Reinvestment Fund, a community financial development institution that also invested in Progress Plaza a block south of Avenue North.
The Pearl Theatre, one of the main attractions to the shopping strip, was the first cinema to be developed in the area in nearly 60 years.
City Council President Darrell Clarke announced further development of the North Broad Street corridor in May, called the Avenue North Renaissance. The $15 million plan will focus on the repurposing of the former Inquirer building at the corner of Callowhill and North Broad streets into a casino.
Jane Roh, a spokesperson from Clarke’s office, said they’re confident the vacant properties on Avenue North will not sit empty for long.
Besides the Tropical Smoothie Café, no new tenants for the two vacant spots have been announced.
Mariam Dembele can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org