What’s next for West Philly Tool Library after successful crowdsourcing campaign?

September 10, 2014


West Philly Tool Library space at 1314 S 47th Street. (Photo courtesy of WPTL)

Here’s some awesome news for the West Philly Tool Library: after a series of publications in local media, including West Philly Local, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and PlanPhilly, and great community support, their online fundraising campaign not only reached its goal of $10,000 but exceeded it by $900.

The crowdsourcing campaign on was seeking donations to help fund the tool library’s expansion and community outreach projects and allow them to purchase new, most needed tools.

Some 172 different funders donated to the campaign, according to Peter Foreman-Murray, the tool library’s executive director. “It’s really amazing to see all the support from the community,” Foreman-Murray wrote in an email.

Now, what’s the next step for the tool library after the successful fundraiser?

“We’re really excited to put the funds into use at the tool library,” writes Foreman-Murray. “We’ve already started to compile a list of tools to buy. We can never keep our most popular tools in stock; as our membership has grown, our available tools haven’t kept up. These funds will help us to ensure that things like table saws and weed whackers are on the shelves when people need them.”

The tool library also began the planning of their expanded education offerings, according to Foreman-Murray. “We’re really looking forward to providing community members with the knowledge they need to use our tools to improve their lives,” he wrote.

Visit the West Philly Tool Library website for more news, updates and information on how to become a member.

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Hotbox Yoga coming to 36th and Lancaster

September 5, 2014


HotBox Yoga’s new location at 3527 Lancaster Ave. (Photo from

Manayunk-based Hotbox Yoga is set to open their new studio at 3527 Lancaster Ave this Fall and the owners are “beyond excited,” according to information on their Facebook page. Hotbox Yoga will take over the space in the two-story building previously occupied by Power Yoga Works. Power Yoga Works closed operations at this location on Sept. 1, according to Philadelphia Magazine.

The opening date for the new studio is not known yet but the owner, Brad Young, told Philly Mag he’s aiming for early October. Currently, the space is being renovated and upgraded, according to Young.

Just a reminder that West Philly is home to a couple of other yoga studios. Studio 34 is operating at 4522 Baltimore Avenue and Bikram Yoga University City opened two years ago at 42nd and Chestnut. In case you missed it, Dhyana Yoga moved from 40th and Chestnut to Rittenhouse Square earlier this year.

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Love Vape e-cigarette shop opens on 4700 block of Baltimore Ave

August 25, 2014


Nelson Ngo, foreground, and Chy Kan man the counter at the newly opened Love Vape University City. (Photo by Mike Lyons/West Philly Local)

A fully stocked vape shop has come to Baltimore Avenue.

Love Vape University City opened earlier this month at 4714 Baltimore Ave., the former home of the Talking Headz salon.

“It was a good spot,” said Stephanie Ngo, one of three employees on hand when we visited on Saturday. “There’s a little bit of night life here.”

“Vaping” is the slang term for the “smoking” of e-cigarettes, which turn special flavored liquids (sometimes with a bit of nicotine) into vapors through the use of a battery powered device.

The new shop, which is one of four Love Vape locations around the city, is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

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New Restaurant Incubator, Foodie Forums at Center for Culinary Enterprises

August 4, 2014

culinary center

Photo by Annamarya Scaccia / West Philly Local.

Have you been dreaming of opening a restaurant but find it too risky of a business and need some testing of your concept before launching it? Now you can try your abilities as a restaurateur or a chef right here in West Philly thanks to a new program by The Enterprise Center (TEC-CDC). A pop-up restaurant incubator, titled Common Table, is coming soon to West Philly’s Dorrance H. Hamilton Center for Culinary Enterprises (CCE) (pictured) where aspiring food entrepreneurs and chefs will get professional support while testing their chops.

The new restaurant incubator is expected to launch in November 2014 and TEC-CDC is currently accepting applications for the Common Table Fellowship Program. Applications are due Friday, Aug. 15. Other events during the fellow selection process include the TEC-CDC business plan workshop on August 12 and business plan competition and chef tasting event in mid-September or early October. The Common Table 2014 Fellows will be announced in October (visit this page for more details about the program and the application process).

The Common Table program organizers would like to select a “diverse cohort of Fellows based on criteria including strength of their business plans, culinary ability, and commitment to the full program.”

Common Table Fellows will use a new, fully staffed, 1,400-square-foot, 40-plus seat restaurant space at the CCE, located at 310 S. 48th Street. Common Table will also be available for nightly or weekly rentals once its construction is complete.

Committed to helping aspiring local food entrepreneurs, CCE is also hosting Foodie Forums where you can learn about the business services available at the center and how you can become a CCE member to access their state-of-the-art commercial kitchen space. The forums will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 5, 8 – 9 a.m. and Wednesday, Aug. 13, 1 – 2 p.m. Click on the dates below to register.

August 5
August 13


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Gush Gallery is a reality!

August 4, 2014

Gush Gallery

Friday night Gush Gallery opened its doors. During dusk hours on the otherwise quiet 5000 block of Baltimore Avenue, warm yellow light and dozens of people spilled into the streets. People were here to see Gush’s first show, Embark, which features a number of lesser known artists from around Philadelphia.

The crowd had a punk feel and included artists, art lovers, neighbors and family. Interesting pieces included a skull reconstructed with crochet, a light shaded with faux bones, an image of a row home floating in a lake with bass swimming underneath, and a set of cherished family items sewn firmly into felt, reminiscent of bugs in a spider web.

A year long buildup came before Friday night. It started with a casual conversation between two Pratt classmates, Stephanie Slate and Sarah Thielke. Next came an Indiegogo campaign bolstered by an active Facebook and Tumblr feed. Plans had the gallery opening in 2015 but a Craigslist discovery of an old barbershop at a great price in a prime location accelerated the schedule.

Now that Gush is open (5015 Baltimore Ave, T-F 1-8 p.m., S-S 12-6 p.m.), the owners hope to maintain their business not just through the sale of art, consignment and T-shirts. They also offer by-the-hour use of a high quality workstation, scanner and printer. More events will come too, including art classes, and group critiques.

Stephanie and Sarah are very eager to invigorate the West Philadelphia art community. They hope to collaborate with other West Philly artist hubs such as the Gold Standard Cafe, and Soapbox Gallery. They would love to bring First Fridays out west as well. In the words of Stephanie, “We totally want people to come in and say ‘Hey I’m an artist’ and hang out. We want to see their work and we want to show their work.”

Selah Lynch


Photos by Selah Lynch / West Philly Local.


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Talking Headz moves to new, bigger location on Baltimore Ave

July 14, 2014


Talking Headz’s new location at 4922 Baltimore Ave. (Facebook photo)

If you are heading to Talking Headz for a haircut, a trim or coloring, please take notice that the neighborhood hair salon with the motto “Rad Hair for Rad People” has recently moved a little further west on Baltimore. As of July 5, 2014, Talking Headz is operating in the heart of Cedar Park – at 4922 Baltimore Ave.

The salon first opened in 2011 in a small space at 4714 Baltimore Ave and quickly gained popularity for its friendly staff, awesome vibe, and reasonable prices (check out recent Yelp reviews and an older review by a neighbor and blogger West Philly Mama).

The new space seems great and has much more room. They have eight chairs now in comparison to just three at the old location and new staff was hired to keep up with the expansion. The salon has also added an extra day of operation. It is now open Monday through Sunday during the following hours: Monday 12 – 6 p.m., Tuesday 10 a.m. – 8 p.m., Wednesday 12 – 8 p.m., Thursday 10 a.m. – 8 p.m., Friday 10 a.m. – 7 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sunday 12 – 5 p.m.

According to their website, the Talking Headz people can cut your hair “ranging anywhere from classic to wild.” The place is also kid-friendly (we can confirm) and they even have a kids play area. By the way, kids haircuts start at just $16. Prices for adult haircuts range from $21-$36 depending on the length of your hair. Walk-ins are welcome but not always available, so appointments are recommended. You can make an appointment by calling 215-729-2028.

For more information about Talking Headz, their services and pricing, visit their website.

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