Wyndmoor Going Upscale
By Dr. John W. Gilmore
My little town of Wyndmoor, Pa. nuzzled against Mount Airy and Chestnut Hill is changing at Traymore and Willowgrove avenues. New shops and buildings are popping up while others, old stores, small business, and gas stations that served the neighborhood well, are disappearing under the shovel and hammer of progress. The most recent change is a large condo unit replacing our gas station, our small but convenient hardware store, and a few houses and small businesses. Some of the condos cost as much as $400,000. Rumor has it they have already been sold.
On the bottom floor there are new businesses. Captain Andy’s Market where a Tanning Salon used to be; Enza wine and Pizza where a house once stood; Toni’s Pizza (the only neighborhood shop left standing) surrounded by and having to compete with it’s new Pizza selling neighbor; Lash Lounge; Pure Barre (an upscale clothing store); and across the street Skin Smart Dermatology are just a few new shops, and at the very corner of the building Locals Coffee shop.
Locals is a coffee shop with a large open space and polished concrete floors. The ceiling is painted black with a large fan and silver ducts and pipes running along it giving it a polished, industrial look. Blond wood tables–some large and long with a raw rustic look, but well polished and varnished, others small and square with padded benches provide comfortable seating. There are four leather chairs seated in front of a small fireplace embedded in the wall below a large screen TV. The music is pleasing.
There are various items placed artfully around the room that attract the eye: old wooden baskets of fruit, potato chips, various types of food. A dark metal case with sodas, orange juices, water, and various drinks for those who may want something other than coffee sits close to the counter. Pastries, sandwiches, and many variations of the main ingredient–coffee and even tea are sold.
I always thought that one could tell the quality of the town by its coffee shop or lack thereof. Now we have one we can compare. I sit in a large leather chair next to the fire place. Is it real fire? It looks as though it is a fire sealed behind glass and plastic, yet I don’t feel the heat. The atmosphere is relaxed. Soft jazz is playing. It can be crowded sometimes, but due to the openness of the space the voices seem muffled and absorbed. It is good to have a coffee shop so close to my home that I can walk.
Wyndmoor is changing. It is the closest town to Chestnut Hill and Mount Airy. Upscale houses, mansions and estates line the streets directly behind it. Real estate prices are high in Mt. Airy and Chestnut Hill. Perhaps this is the next hot spot for gentrification and housing prices will rise. I really don’t know if that is a good thing. What has the world come to when even middle class neighborhoods are unsafe from the shovel and hammer?