2011 Board Nominee - Jon Adler

Personal Statement: Why I am interested in being on the Board of SOSNA.

As the owner and operator of the Beauty Shop Café, I’ve been an integral part of the South of South community for the past four plus years. For the first several years I was in business, I lived in the Passyunk Square neighborhood but felt that I was much more a part of SOSNA. Earlier this year, I finally moved to the neighborhood and along with the joys of a shorter commute, I feel I’ve resolved the personal contradiction of not living in my own community.

My shop is a place for people to come together- people run into their neighbors while grabbing their morning coffee, folks use the café as a location for small meetings and get-togethers, and SOSNA and other groups have used the space for more formal meetings after hours. It’s places like mine that help turn a neighborhood into a community, and SOSNA plays that same role but in different ways.

As a member of the SOSNA board, I feel I could continue enhancing the neighborhood as I have to this point, while obtaining a platform and support system for implementing improvements I hope to see. I want to have new businesses locate in the neighborhood. I want every block in the neighborhood to feel as safe as every other block. I want people who live here to feel like they couldn’t send their children anywhere but the schools in the neighborhood. With a formalized role as a member of the SOSNA board, I feel I could better contribute to making those hopes a reality.

Ways I have participated in SOSNA or the community in the past.

I attend SOSNA meetings from time to time over the course of the year, and attend most of the monthly zoning meetings. I’ve been involved in neighborhood cleanups and tree plantings as well. I’ve hosted a couple of PedAC meetings at the café, and have also attended some Economic Development meetings over the years.

Informally, I interact with members of the community every day, talking about neighborhood real estate development, safety issues, hopes about new retail, and of course, the Phillies.

Skills, experience, energy, relationships, and/or interests I will bring to the Board that will help SOSNA continue to create a positive community impact.

The unique experience that I bring to the table is that of a local business owner. I’ve been through the process of opening and operating a business in Philadelphia, and know about the many steps and details that are required to make it happen.

In addition, I have some experience in the real estate development arena, having purchased, rehabbed, and sold a property in the neighborhood in 2010. While there’s not as much construction activity happening here as there was, say, five years ago, we still have plenty of building going on. Having experience in development and an acute interest in new and ongoing development in the neighborhood would serve me well on the SOSNA board.

What I hope to accomplish as a Board member (relate to SOSNA initiatives).

My primary interest is in Economic Development in the neighborhood. Not only am I (perhaps slightly selfishly) interested in more business for existing local businesses, but I’m also intent on seeing new businesses come to our neighborhood. More of the right kind of commerce would make our neighborhood a more desirable place for people to move to, and a more enjoyable and functional place for those of us who already live here. Having opened a retail business myself, I’m extremely familiar with the intricacies and challenges of opening a business in Philadelphia, and would be a valuable resource for people who wish to take that (occasionally aggravating yet extremely rewarding) path.

I think that SOSNA as an organization is important to our community because . . .

As a growing neighborhood with a large contingent of people who care deeply about it, we need an organized group to direct that passion. With the direction that SOSNA provides, we’re able to focus on specific, achievable initiatives, and appropriately allocate resources to accomplish those goals.

Having a formalized structure with elected officials, bylaws, and an office with a full-time staff member allows SOSNA to offer crucial services to the neighborhood, from recycling bins to neighborhood cleanups to Big Bellies to Julian Abele Park to walkability studies. With an organized, transparent, effective body like SOSNA, we’ve been able to do impressive things in this neighborhood- and things are only looking better in the future.