It’s no secret that Fishtown has been one of the up-and-coming neighborhoods in Philadelphia for awhile now. But despite the new businesses and homes popping up in Fishtown, East Kensington, South Kensington, Olde Richmond, etc, some folks are still skeptical about the area. To address this, the New Kensington Community Development Corporation (NKCDC) is trying to improve the neighborhood’s image to outsiders, and helping local businesses band together to improve their curb appeal in the process.

Their newest initiative is LISC Corridors of Retail Excellence (or LISC CORE for short). This program is the result of a grant provided by Philadelphia LISC, a national non-profit that’s dedicated to gentrification in cities.

The NKCDC will use the grant money to accomplish a Model Block Initiative on visual merchandising, spotlighting on Girard Avenue between Oxford and Marlborough streets. The NKCDC hired local architects Brian Syzmanik and David Quadrini to help them with their vision of improving building facades, window displays and connecting with pedestrians walking by outside.

The program is designed to help local companies understand the importance of visual merchandising and design, such as placing the cash register in specific places or leaving lights on during off hours. This will not only help local businesses to thrive, but draw more people to the neighborhood.

The Model Block program is slated to be completed this summer.