Corporate Strategy Hits My Nabe
I live in Center City Philadelphia six blocks from Independence Hall. Around the corner is Philly’s hangout for mostly kids—what Gourmet magazine called “raffish South Street.” There you can get tattooed, body pierced, tanned, a fine Philly cheese steak at Jim’s, hear live funky music every night at TLA and foul stand-up routines at a comedy club, buy sex toys at Condom Kingdom, and eat at any of 40 neighborhood restaurants ranging from D+ to A+. If you’re a HOG, you will find Mako’s Retired Surfers Bar & Grill, where you will meet and greet other Harley-Davidson owners from all over the country. Plus, of course, we have all the usual small neighborhood businesses—dry cleaners, convenience stores, optician, deli, etc.
For a number of years on the corner of Second and South, a big Blockbuster Video store tried to make it and didn’t. It shuttered earlier this year and a developer assembled the space along with two additional storefronts and sold the whole shebang to Citibank, which is in the beginning stages of a massive renovation. This is one of 21 branches Citibank is opening in Philly.
Under construction across the street from this new Citibank emporium is a dinky single storefront with a brightly lighted sign that proclaims the coming of Bank of America.
My little neighborhood already has three banks—Wachovia, Commerce and Hudson United (HUB)—plus a check-cashing/PowerBall/Lottery establishment and cash machines everywhere.
What do Citibank and Bank of America bring to the party?
The Business of Siting
Somebody once told me that the most sophisticated and successful research operation for buying land on which to site a successful business is McDonald’s. The corporation has developed highly sophisticated matrixes and algorithms based on traffic patterns and population demographics, so when a McDonald’s open up, the franchisee is virtually guaranteed a money machine.