Over the past couple of years, Tara Martello has been making house calls to clients all over Philadelphia, and has seen her Pediatric Occupational Therapy business grow impressively. In an effort to centralize and expand the services she offers, she decided to open a clinic, located at 1636 South St., which opens today. At the clinic, called Grow Thru Play, Martello will work with children with developmental delays and/or on the autism spectrum, helping them improve their performance in and integration into age-appropriate activities.

A look inside, last week. We suspect things are more put-together now.


Martello helps children improve their concentration, focus, coordination using the Interactive Metronome system. Handwriting instruction groups will not only improve kids’ penmanship, but will reinforce coordination and sensory integration. Tara’s husband Stephen Ballerini, a licensed Physical Therapist, will be contributing at the clinic as well, running fitness classes and working with children one-on-one. This is just a taste of the many different services Grow Thru Play will be providing- we suggest you check the website for additional information.

Grow Thru Play’s opening is exciting because the number of young families in the Graduate Hospital neighborhood seems to be exploding at the moment. The number of strollers, carriages, and babybjorns in the neighborhood is making it feel more and more like Park Slope, only without all the Yankees fans, thank God. Easy access to OC/PT services for those who need them is a highly desirable feature for people considering moving to the area or staying there. We are, in fact, a little surprised that more entrepreneurs haven’t taken advantage of the local baby boom by opening additional kid-friendly or adults-with-young-kids-friendly businesses.

In addition, South Street West still needs a lot of help. While new additions like Jet Wine Bar and Indian Restaurant bring additional life and traffic to the street, vacant lots and dilapidated buildings and the still undeveloped Royal Theater collectively hold South Street West back from being the vibrant commercial corridor it could be. Businesses like Grow Thru Play definitely bring more attention to the street, and we believe that new business breeds new business. Which everyone likes. With the exception of NIMBYs. And honestly, who listens to those fools?

Exterior Shot. It's the one with the papered-over windows.

Grow Thru Play opens for business today, June 20th. Stop by and say hello!