Last month the Philadelphia Flyers announced the launch of the Hometown Assist Program to award a half-million dollars in free advertising assets to five local, small businesses impacted by COVID-19. After receiving nearly 250 applicants in the one-week application window, the club today announced the five awardees.
"We were amazed by the number and quality of applicants, confirming the pressures facing small businesses during the pandemic," said Valerie Camillo, President of Business Operations, Philadelphia Flyers and Wells Fargo Center. "The awardees stood out for their community service, commitment to customers, and concern for employees."
Businesses were evaluated on their community service efforts, the impact to their business during the pandemic, and opportunity for growth with the awarded assets.
"We have the unique opportunity to shine a spotlight on these businesses during a time of intense fan engagement-the Stanley Cup Playoffs," said Cynthia Punsalan, Vice President of Business Administration, Philadelphia Flyers and Wells Fargo Center.
The five awardees of the Flyers Hometown Assist are:
Byrne's Tavern (3301 Richmond St, Port Richmond) - Francis Byrne opened the tavern doors in 1978 and has been continually serving the Port Richmond neighborhood for 42 years. Customers come from far and wide to enjoy the family atmosphere, as well as delicious wings and blue claw crabs. For four generations, the tavern has been the go-to spot in Port Richmond for celebrating special occasions. Through the years, Byrne's Tavern has given back to the community through dedicated fundraisers and sponsorship of neighborhood athletic teams. The pandemic has forced Byrne's to operate on a take-out-only basis, which has significantly impacted its business.
Denise's Delicacies (2916 N 22nd St, North Philadelphia) - This second-generation, family-owned & operated business is a North Philadelphia staple known for delectable pastries, cakes and treats. Originally founded by Denise Gause back in 1991, the shop has been a force for good, making financial and in-kind donations to numerous community grass-roots organizations, events, and churches. After recovering from a devastating fire in 2015, Denise handed the reigns over to her two nieces, Keshia Davis and Cynthia Benton, who are the current co-owners and oversee day-to-day operations. Pandemic closures, restrictions, and a wave of cancelled events have impacted Denise's consumer and wholesale business.
Noir Restaurant and Bar (1909 E Passyunk Ave, South Philadelphia) - The husband-wife duo of Marco and Donnamarie Decotiis run this East Passyunk restaurant serving homemade Italian food with a Montreal flare. Marco, a Canadian transplant, and Donnamarie, a South Philly native, represent a fusion of "The North" and the City of Brotherly Love, which perfectly represents the make-up of several members of the Flyers' coaching staff, players and alumni. Noir is also a regular supporter of local community fundraisers and is committed to sourcing local suppliers in an effort to push the local economy forward. The restaurant's day-to-day business has been hit considerably hard after closing its doors for eight weeks.
Philadelphia Hair Company (5805 Germantown Ave, Northwest Philadelphia) - A community leader in the Germantown neighborhood, Philadelphia Hair Company (PHC) has been providing classic barber and hair services to men, women, and children in the area since 1990. Mark Lightfoot opened the shop at just 22 years of age with the hopes of building his own business, as well as inspiring the next generations of barbers. Offering more than just haircuts, PHC has taken great pride in its mentorship efforts with young men in the community, working with local youth organizations and schools to provide free haircuts, school supplies, and programs that promote safe sex education. Lightfoot is hopeful to continue extending PHC's influence by providing a safe space for all to gather, collaborate, and build a stronger Philadelphia community. The pandemic forced PHC to close its doors for several months and limit its offered services due to mask requirements, back ordered products, and the suspension of walk-in appointments.
Rock Solid Contracting and Development (Wilmington, DE) - Norman M. Oliver founded Rock Solid Contracting and Development in 2006 with a vision to help improve the infrastructure of inner cities while providing employment and training for those who are underserved and impoverished. The South Wilmington-based business focuses on areas of the city where construction, renovation, and restoration are vastly needed for the health and safety of at-risk children and families. Rock Solid has completely renovated six major city parks and is currently in the process of constructing six low-income single-family homes. Norman looks to continue the company's mission based on principles of equality, experience and service. Throughout the pandemic, Rock Solid has seen a sharp decline in construction projects due to many being deemed non-essential. City and state budget cuts have also deeply impacted the business over the last several months.
Through the launch of this program, the Flyers pledged to select two Black-owned business. After the selection process, three-Black owned businesses were awarded. They are: Denise's Delicacies, Philadelphia Hair Company and Rock Solid Contracting.
All awardees will begin receiving advertising assets during the 2019-20 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The partnership will also continue during the 2020-21 season when the Flyers returns to the Wells Fargo Center.
"We look forward to sharing the unique story of each business with our fans," Camillo added. "We hope our effort to spotlight these companies provides new customers and sales."
Advertising assets in each award package are valued at $100k per package and will span the '19-20 Stanley Cup Playoffs and the '20-21 regular season. The packages include radio commercials, digital/social promotions, and in-arena activations and LED signage. The Flyers Marketing Department will be available to help each business design and create their advertising messages, graphics, and content, as needed.