I Love My Job: McDonald’s Owner Tanya Holliday

Tanya Holliday. Courtesy photo.

Whether you eat at McDonald’s or feel sick at the idea, franchise owner and operator Tanya Holliday wants to dispel some misconceptions about the classic American brand, namely that working there doesn’t count as a “real job.” She’s been with the global company for 38 years now, starting out as a part-time crew member and eventually working her way up through 13 different positions during 27 years on the corporate side.

Holliday is the first black woman to own and operate McDonald’s restaurants in the City of Philadelphia. She owns nine restaurants in the region, including all of the locations on the Main Line and still finds time to be president of the National Black McDonald’s Association for the Northeast Zone. Yes, we do own restaurants, Holliday says. She’s even hired 15,000 employees throughout her career. In this interview, the entrepreneur tells us why after almost 40 years, she’s eaten McDonald’s almost everyday (sometimes two or three times a day) and how she isn’t sick of it. She gives us the scoop on the elusive Hamburger University, her connection to Uber Eats, and shares her best advice for those looking to advance professionally. Holliday also details her fight against the stigma of being educated and working at McDonald’s and ends with her idea of the American Dream.

I grew up in … Richmond, Virginia. I split my time growing up between there and public housing in West Philly on 52nd and Girard. I attended 1st through 7th grade in West Philly.

I currently live in … Media, Pennsylvania. Read more »

The Stunning New Farmhouse on Historic Ardrossan Estate

Photography by Tom Crane | The Butler’s pantry

Set amid 14 acres of the historic Ardrossan property — former home of Helen Hope Montgomery Scott, the socialite who inspired The Philadelphia Story — is a sprawling stone farmhouse that looks like it’s been there for a century. Surprise: It’s a new build, the work of West Chester-based architecture firm Archer & Buchanan, Ltd. “Everything feels like it has layers of history and time,” says the firm’s partner and co-founder, Richard Buchanan. “It looks like a well-preserved 100-year-old house.” Read more »

The Main Line Is Getting Its Own Trashy Reality TV Show

After the suits at Bravo TV determined that the Main Line didn’t deserve the Real Housewives treatment, it appeared that we had been spared.

But according to the folks over at Savvy Main Line, a Conestoga High School grad who works as a “reality star coach” has stepped in to provide the trashy reality television programming centered on that most posh of suburban Philadelphia enclaves that nobody asked for – except, of course, those conceited Main Liners themselves.

Get Real Main Line follows Berwyn’s Toni Filippone – a life coach who has worked with “stars” (we’re using that extremely loosely) from the New York and Orange County editions of Real Housewives – and her hand-picked team of local advisers with expertise in nutrition, fitness and spirituality. Read more »

Narberth Church to Fall, Apartments to Take Its Place

Bye-bye, oldest church in Narberth; hello, 20 new apartments. | Google Street View image

It would be inaccurate to say that Narberth Borough officials are thrilled at the prospect, but the Borough Council did vote 5-1 on May 17th to okay owner Jason Gordon’s plan to demolish the vacant Baptist Church of the Evangel at 198 Elmwood Ave. and build a 20-unit apartment building on its site.

In fact, as Main Line Media News reports, it might be more accurate to say that the council voted to approve the project in spite of itself. The vote to approve came after the borough’s planning commission recommended the project be rejected. Read more »

Tea and a House Tour in Overbrook Farms May 7

Where the Main Line got its start: Historic Overbrook Farms opens itself up to you on its annual house tour May 7. | Photo by Smallbones via WIkimedia Commons, licensed under CC-BY-SA 3.0

Where the Main Line got its start: Historic Overbrook Farms opens itself up to you on its annual house tour May 7. | Photo by Smallbones via Wikimedia Commons, licensed under CC-BY-SA 3.0

The Main Line actually begins on the Philadelphia side of the city line,in the historic neighborhood known as Overbrook Farms. And on May 7, you can see how the birthplace of the Main Line is faring now on the Overbrook Farms Club’s annual House Tour and Tea.

Laid out in 1892 as a residential suburb for the well-to-do, Overbrook Farms attracted some of the city’s most successful industrialists, businessmen and politicians from its outset. Its huge architect-designed homes remain hot properties to this day, and the neighborhood’s status as a National Register historic district means its character will likewise be preserved for the future. Read more »

Does Every Child Need to Learn to Code?

BSD’s Christopher Geary at the company’s Bryn Mawr HQ. Photo by Gene Smirnov.

BSD’s Christopher Geary at the company’s Bryn Mawr HQ. Photo by Gene Smirnov.

Christopher Geary doesn’t look as tired as he ought to. In the past week he’s met with educators who run private schools in Beijing and then some school leaders in Hong Kong, where he lives, and just this morning in late March with the headmaster of Hill Top Prep in Rosemont. He logged 286,000 air miles last year and doesn’t seem to be cutting back. Right now, at least he’s sitting in one place — the little reception area of his company, in its year-old American headquarters in the back of the Rosemont Square shopping center on Lancaster Avenue. He’s with Ashley Govberg of the Philadelphia jewelry-store Govbergs, who have become Geary’s business partners here. Their company is BSD Code + Design Academy, which was set up first in Asia and now is here to teach computer coding to our schoolchildren. The company holds classes and camps at its clubhouse of an office suite, sends a small staff out to teach at a growing number of local schools, and develops curricula for private- and public-school teachers to use.

One thing Geary does look is like a hipster: He’s dressed in black, with thick-rimmed glasses, scraggly Johnny Depp facial hair, and a man bun tied behind his head. But the hipster tag doesn’t quite fit. Raised by parents who toted him around Asia and educated him in Britain, he speaks with the kind of English boarding-school accent that sounds refined and exotic in Philadelphia. Geary, who’s 34, has a law degree. He’s written for the Huffington Post about the ethics of shark fin soup. With his wife, in Hong Kong, he owns a jewelry business concerned with “ethical sourcing” of metals and gems. He technical-dives off the coast of Indonesia. (Technical is deeper and more dangerous than recreational scuba.) He trains in martial arts in Hong Kong (really, the place you want to do it). Read more »

Main Line Monday: Access to Style in Penn Valley for $1.15M

726 Conshohocken State Rd., Penn Valley, Pa. 19072 | TREND images via BHHS Fox & Roach

726 Conshohocken State Rd., Penn Valley, Pa. 19072 | TREND images via BHHS Fox & Roach

We’re just going to come out and say it: as soon as we saw that giant two-story wall of windows in the living room, we knew we needed to feature this property for Main Line Monday. C’mon, does it get much cooler than that?

This converted stone barn is 250 years old and balances historic elements with modern updates quite nicely. It’s situated on over an acre of land too, so homeowners get to enjoy both interior and exterior delights (like an in-ground pool). Read more »

Tredici Bryn Mawr is Getting Close to an Opening Date

tredicibrynmawr-940:540

Gred Dodge/Facebook

That above picture is what the dining room at the new Enoteca Tredici in Bryn Mawr looks like right now — not finished, obviously, but a lot closer to finished than it has been. And no, we don’t have the name written backwards. According to a recent Facebook post by owner Greg Dodge, they had to switch up the name a little in order to keep it from getting confused with a different local business — Wayne’s Tredici Italian Market.

In that same post, he also gave us the news we’ve been waiting to hear: That the 5,000 square foot Tredici at Bryn Mawr Village (915 West Lancaster Avenue, in the same complex where the Main Line’s first La Colombe opened last year) is nearing completion and that they’re planning on an April opening.

Read more »

Controversy Over Crosses on Proposed Villanova Bridge

Bridge with crosses at each end

A design of the Lancaster Avenue pedestrian bridge submitted to the Radnor Township Design Review Board.

Radnor Township last night approved a controversial pedestrian bridge planned for Villanova’s campus.

At first, it seems like there’s no reason for the bridge to be controversial. It’s part of a $285 million expansion project for the University, and will be built over Lancaster Avenue. It’s scheduled to finish in 2018.

But it’s what’s on the bridge that caused an uproar. Designs for the bridge submitted to the Radnor Township Design Review Board show two four-foot, seven-inch crosses on each side of the bridge.

The crosses would be on Villanova property, and so despite the project’s detractors Radnor officials said the township would have to approve the project. But some people are not happy. “I think they are overstepping their sense of ecumenism to shove these crosses in our faces,” Sara Piling told the Inquirer. “This bridge really disturbs me,” Susan Smith told the Delaware County Times. “The size of it and the safety of it concern me first. The crosses disturb me second. I don’t think if we had Beth Hillel University down the street in the next block that we would like to see the Star of David on that.”

There’s more! The Times also quoted Rick Leonardi, who called the crosses unconstitutional: “There is a reason drivers on I-476 are not subjected to Bible verses painted on the sound walls lining the roadway or that there is no crescent moon next to the griffin on the Blue Route, that the overpasses are not emblazoned with Stars of David.”

But it was the Inquirer who got the best quote, from League of Women Voters of Radnor Township president Roberta Winters: “While we recognize the importance of Villanova to our community and the notoriety it brings to Radnor, are there less ostentatious ways to reflect a Catholic institution?” (Um, not really. Have you seen Catholic churches?!)

Despite their complaints, the bridge has been approved and Lancaster Avenue will one day have two five-foot crosses towering over it.

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