In West Philly, Baltimore Avenue near Cedar Park has seen numerous businesses come and go in the past year or so.

Last March, the Mariposa Food Co-op moved a few blocks west to 4824 Baltimore Ave., into a much larger (and cooler-looking) space than they previously inhabited. Prior to Mariposa’s arrival, the adjacent building was renovated, and Urban Traveler opened in retail space. One of its unique features was a humidor room that we told you about last spring. But that room was never finished and Urban Traveler closed before its first birthday. According to Michael Froehlich, Cedar Park Neighbors president, community members are unsure whether the building’s owner has plans for a new tenant.

Mariposa and former Urban Traveler next door

Meanwhile, just on the other side of 49th Street, Little Baby’s Ice Cream received the needed approvals last month to open their second location. This store will be located next to Hibiscus, another establishment that opened last year. A $50,000 loan from The Enterprise Center provided the opportunity for the expansion, the West Philly Local reported.

Little Baby's coming soon. Ugly corner bar not leaving soon enough.

And that’s not all! Last spring, The Marvelous and Seeds Gallery opened on the 5000 block of Baltimore Avenue. So clearly this stretch of Baltimore Avenue is thriving. One sad note here was the Christmas Eve fire that started at Elena’s Soul on the 4900 block, which eventually toppled three businesses, carving an unexpected hole in the gut of the corridor. Eventually, we’re confident that the buildings will be rebuilt and repaired, and new businesses will open at these locations.

And since the community approved plans for a four-story mixed unit project on the other side of Mariposa at 4812 Baltimore Ave. in February, it could be but a few months before we learn of yet another business coming to Baltimore Avenue. As such, there are now three vacancies along the 4900 block of Baltimore, in addition to the unoccupied space where Urban Traveler operated. And a smattering of others floating around out there. But at this rate, these vacancies won’t last. Yes, Baltimore Avenue keeps getting better and better.

–Lou Mancinelli