Looking back on our childhood, we hated going to I. Goldberg. A trip to Goldberg’s meant it was time for a new jacket or a new backpack or a tent for a family camping trip, and shopping in general was no fun back then. Years later, we remember meandering through the aisles at I. Goldberg, admiring military jackets we weren’t cool enough to wear and wondering why anybody would purchase an old gas mask or a helmet. And our experience isn’t unique, as I. Goldberg has been selling outerwear, camping equipment, and military surplus gear since 1919.
But they’re run the business out of several different locations over all those years. For roughly fifteen years, I. Goldberg operated out of a 15K sqft space at 1300 Chestnut St., though a sizable rent increase forced them out last year. They’re now in a slightly smaller and much more affordable space at 718 Chestnut St., where we hope they’ll continue to do their thing for another hundred years or more. That leaves their space at 1300 Chestnut St. vacant, but not for long.
This building was originally constructed in 1928, as the flagship location for the Blum Store. This business, which you’ve probably never heard of, operated as a women’s department store, and compared favorably to Bonwit Teller and Lord & Taylor. Like many department stores though, the Blum Store didn’t make it past the 1970s- but its building has thankfully stuck around. The 10-story building was converted to residential use somewhere along the way, with PMC Property Group currently managing the building.
I. Goldberg was a longtime tenant, the likes of which most landlords would be sad to lose. In this case, we don’t think the property owners are shedding any tears, as Wawa will be the new tenant on the ground floor. We imagine that interior construction is already proceeding, but with plywood covering the windows it’s tough to know what’s going on in there.
It wasn’t that long ago that it seemed like Wawa was abandoning the city in favor of suburban locations with gas stations. At some point in the last few years though, the company has done an about-face, opening several new urban locations around Center City, with more to come. We know that the Wawa at Broad & Walnut is mobbed at most hours of the day and night, and we suspect that this location will do a similar business, satisfying fans of hoagies and dollar cups of coffee. And for fans of military ephemera and Dickies work pants, they’ll just have to walk a few more blocks than they did previously.