It felt like the end of an era a couple years ago, when we shared the news that the longtime homes of Swift Food Equipment and Economy Restaurant Supply were listed for sale. For decades, 2nd Street in Old City was the place to go to buy restaurant equipment, with Swift and Economy being the lone holdouts after competitors closed their doors over the years. With these businesses looking to sell their buildings, we simply assumed that the time had come for both family owned businesses, at least for their brick and mortar spaces. But it seems we were mistaken. Swift is still operating on 2nd Street, and their listing is cancelled. Things are a little different for Economy.
Like we told you over the summer, Economy was successful in selling off its assets, with plans from a developer to convert one of their warehouse buildings into condos. The also found a buyer for their main store location, on the southeast corner of 2nd & Arch, and you can see, the space is now sitting empty. But fear not if you’re in the market for an ice machine or a conveyor belt toaster- Economy isn’t gone, and it hasn’t moved online, either. Within the last week or so, they moved their store three blocks to the north to a space at 460 N. 2nd St., which was most recently used as a dance club.
No question, this space will get much less foot traffic than the previous Economy location. Some people make the trek on foot from Callowhill Street to Spring Garden Street, but this stretch is far friendlier to cars than pedestrians. That being said, we don’t imagine Economy was ever terribly interested in walk-by retail traffic, and since they make the vast majority of their sales to bars and restaurants. The majority of those customers surely arrive by car, and deeply appreciate the attached parking lot, so the lousy pedestrian access doesn’t really matter much to them at all.
As for their former space at 2nd & Arch, it’s now sitting empty, despite its attractive and pedestrian friendly location. There’s a liquor license application posted in the window, and we’re hearing buzz for a boutique hotel with a downstairs bar of some kind. Maybe they can save one of the old signs and call the place Furniture, Tables, Chairs, Bar Stools. We don’t know what kind of place would have a name like that, but we’s probably stick our head in the door at least once, out of curiosity. Whatever does end up opening here, at least they’ll be able to choose between two nearby businesses when buying their equipment.