Why Does Going To The Supermarket Still Suck?

(Robert Kneschke/Shutterstock)

(Robert Kneschke/Shutterstock)

The announced bankruptcy of A&P doesn’t surprise me. I’ve watched the supermarket chain decline over the years and I’m sorry for the 28,000 employees who are the victims of its poor management in the face of much better run stores like Wegmans. But, as great as Wegmans is, it still sucks doing the food shopping, doesn’t it? As a business owner, I can’t help but see many inefficiencies and places for improvement. Every time I shop, the same questions keep popping up in my mind. For example… Read more »

What’s Missing from the Gay Teacher Firing Debate

Waldron Mercy Academy via Google Maps

Waldron Mercy Academy via Google Maps

Waldron Mercy Academy in Merion, Pa., has come under fire this week for its decision to fire Margie Winters, one of its long-time teachers — allegedly because she’s a lesbian and married to another lesbian.

“Many of us accept life choices that contradict current church teachings, but to continue as a Catholic school, Waldron Mercy must comply with those teachings,” the school said in a letter to parents. Read more »

Hey Philly, Stop Your Silicon Valley Penis Envy

(Wikimedia Commons)

(Wikimedia Commons)

Marvin Weinberger, who faces a funding shortfall at his Philly co-working space Venturef0rth, blasted the local tech community last week. He said he’s “continuing to lose a few thousand dollars a month” and has “quietly turned to some pillars of the community for assistance, but have been rebuffed (often rudely).”

There are two sides to every story but Weinberger’s struggle to find tenants at his startup space raises a more important issue about Philadelphia’s tech community. Is it for real? And, more importantly, do we care? Read more »

How Selling Ads Can Save Philly’s School System

luminaimages/Shutterstock

luminaimages/Shutterstock

School Superintendent William Hite needs more money, and we’re all in agreement with him.

City Council has rejected the district’s latest funding plan and remains resistant to Mayor Michael Nutter’s proposal to increase real estate taxes. Governor Tom Wolf is behind allocating more dollars from Harrisburg to Philadelphia’s schools. Unfortunately, no one is proposing any further cuts to healthcare or pension costs because the unions are too powerful and give too much money to our politicians. Our population has been taxed to the extreme, and more taxes are very, very unpopular. And people living in Western Pennsylvania are understandably not thrilled to watch their hard-earned tax dollars be sucked down the Philly school system vortex. Read more »

Who’s the Best Mayoral Candidate For Small Business?

Doug Oliver. | Photo by Jeff Fusco.

Doug Oliver | Photo by Jeff Fusco.

The U.S. Census reports that there are more than 100,000 small businesses within the city limits of Philadelphia. And that number’s probably understated because there are likely many SOHO (small office home office) and part-time independent contractors not considered. Plus there’s been economic growth since the data was accumulated.

Read more »

The Empty-Nester’s Guide To Center City

Rittenhouse_Square-B-Krist-940x540

Congratulations! You made it. Your kids are grown. You’ve managed to save a few bucks. You still have a mostly-intact prostate. And now, you want to live the empty-nester lifestyle. You want to sell your house, dump all that old junk, store a few heirlooms, burn the furniture and start afresh in Center City. That’s what my wife and I did a couple of months ago. So to help you I’ve put together a few things that I’ve learned about living in town that you will also need to know. Read more »

3 Reasons A Municipal Bank Is A Bad Idea

piggy bank

Mayoral candidate Anthony Williams has been floating an idea for a municipal bank. The proposed bank, which would be owned and run by the city would focus on helping small businesses in the city who are unable to get loans from mainstream banks.

I not only run a small business but I also write every day on small business topics for the Washington Post and every week for Forbes, Inc. and Entrepreneur magazines. My company has more than 600 small business clients and I speak to and interview thousands of small business owners around the country every year. If you’re familiar with the other things I write for Philly Mag you may agree that I don’t know much about a lot of things. But please allow that I’m more than a little familiar with the issues facing the country’s 30 million small businesses, let alone the tens of thousands in this city. So with that in mind I feel obligated to help Anthony Williams because he seems like a nice guy.

Mr. Williams…the municipal bank thing? Not a great idea. And here’s why. Read more »

Milton Street for Mayor? Hey, Why Not?

MILTON-STREET-940X540

As the city’s race for Mayor heats up in advance of the Democratic primary, the choice facing voters remains unclear, if not disappointing. Jim Kenney seems like a good candidate but mostly unwilling to address the city and school system’s pension and healthcare woes with needed cost cuts. I love Lynne Abraham’s intelligence, energy and passion for the city, but then again so did Benjamin Franklin when he first voted for her in 1788. Anthony Williams has a long track record in the State Senate but has faced criticism over entanglements with the Philadelphia School Partnership. They’re all flawed, really.

Which brings me to Milton Street. Hey, why not I ask?

In a piece for the Inquirer earlier this week Tom Ferrick Jr. warned us not to forget the past of Milton Street. Forget it? We should embrace it! Read more »

No, It’s Not Time to Abolish Fraternities

It was a bright spring day in New York City. And the doorman was just minding his own business, watching the traffic go by on Park Avenue. My mission was to steal his hat.

John was my accomplice. We had a plan. I hid around the corner of the building while John casually strode toward the doorman, purposely looking lost. John had a map in his hand. He stopped the doorman and asked for directions.  And when the doorman looked at the map with John … I sprang into action. I ran down the block and before he knew what was happening I snatched his hat off his head and galloped away. John took off in the other direction. 10 minutes later and 10 blocks away, John and I re-grouped to gleefully inspect our treasure.  We got the hat.

Yes, we were pledging a fraternity. And, like today’s fraternity and sorority members, we were college-aged idiots. Read more »

44 Taxes We Pay as Residents of the Great City of Philadelphia

Governor Wolf introduced his budget on Tuesday. And in it he proposed an increase in spending, no pension reform, no long-term deficit reduction and no cuts in costs. And although he’s lowering business and real estate taxes, there are proposed increases in our state income and sales tax. Mayor Nutter introduced his budget yesterday. And he wants a 9 percent property tax increase (oh, and good luck with that). Now the mayoral candidates are talking about a plastic bag tax.

And why not? We Philadelphians are used to taxes. It’s no big deal.

In fact, depending on whether you live and/or work and/or run a business in the city, you might be paying as many as 44 different taxes, fees and tariffs every single year — maybe more! Don’t remember them all? Who could blame you! So here’s a list to refresh your memory. And please let me know if I’m leaving anything out. I’m definitely forgetting something, right? Read more »

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