Disrespectful Barriers?

Effort takes aim at plexiglass in neighborhood stop-n-go’s

(Photo Left) Councilwoman Cindy Bass (8th District) tours news cameras through stop-n-go establishments in her district. Photo courtesy of Layla A. Jones

Just after rush hour, at the corner of 27th Street and Allegheny Avenue, a customer steps through the doors of Allegheny Food Market for a pack of cigarettes. The store also provides toiletries, pet food, milk, soda, candy and use of an ATM.

A number of items are stacked above the front counter on shelves made of thick plexiglass. An approximate three-foot wide opening in the see-though display allows the merchant and customers to exchange and interact.

That’s not exactly the case two doors down at Sunrise Deli, not yet open for the day and whose front window at this hour is covered by an aluminum grate. During working hours, visitors will find plexiglass stretched across the length of the counter and can see a refrigerated selection of beers, cheap wines, snacks, cigarettes and various brands of flavored cigars.

A bill sponsored by Philadelphia City Councilwoman Cindy Bass has taken aim at places like Sunrise Deli, publicly dubbed “stop-n-go’s,” because customers can stop in for take-out items, most often alcohol.

While Sunrise’s mustard-yellow signage promises steaks, hoagies, cold beer, seafood and chicken wings, visitors will find no kitchen visibly operating. The deli’s seats consist of about a half-dozen plastic booths, all pushed against each other along a single wall.

Such establishments, “destroy the dignity of in-community dining experiences,” Bass said in a statement.

“The very nature of these businesses encourages addiction and fuels nuisance behavior including loitering, the sale of loose cigarettes, public urination and possibly illegal drug sales.” She complained, “I have more stop-n-go nuisance businesses in the 8th District, which includes Germantown, Chestnut Hill, Nicetown, Tioga, Mt. Airy, parts of Logan and West Oak Lane, than public schools.”

The legislation calls for “no barrier [existing] between food service employees and customers, a practice commonly found in stop-n-go nuisance establishments.” She believes it disrespects customers.

While the stop-n-go legislation has not found much opposition, this particular provision has.

Asked if she thinks plexiglass is necessary for a business in this neighborhood, the merchant at Allegheny Food Market stretches her eyes wide and exhales, “Yeah!” In reference to her neighbor, Sunrise Deli, she adds, “Especially him.”

To that, Bass states, “I take the safety of all Philadelphia residents very, very seriously. Already, my office has proposed several safety alternatives to in-store barriers including installed lighting, cameras, security guards and security wands, and police check-ins.”

She concludes, “Several businesses operate safely in the same neighborhoods as stop-n-go’s and do not have physical barriers between employees and customers including: neighborhood bars, liquor stores, grocery stores, pharmacies, family-owned breakfast restaurants, barbershops, hair salons and beauty supply stores. If these businesses can operate safely in our neighborhoods with dignity and respect, all establishments can.”


Disrespectful Barriers?
Sheila Simmons - Contributor

Sheila Simmons brings many years of writing and communications experience to her work for Liberty City Press. She began her professional writing career at the Philadelphia Daily News, where she covered Business, City Hall and Education.


More articles by this author

Saving ‘The Wonder Years’Saving ‘The Wonder Years’23 January 2018
Non-profit targets middle-school students for enriching after-school activity (Photo Left) After School All Stars launch event at Mastery Charter Cramer Hill celebrated a partnership with the Harris Family Charitable Foundation and its funding of two programs in Camden. The event included 3rd – 8th grade students. Photo courtesy of After-School All Stars...
Eagle Scout Takes FlightEagle Scout Takes Flight23 January 2018
Teen’s achievement marks lifetime goal (Photo Left) Local scout D'avon Byrd celebrates receiving his Eagle Scout status and full tuition scholarship with his aunt Denise Byrd (L), grandmother Rosemary Byrd (R). Photo courtesy of Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church. D’avon Byrd is studying architecture at Morgan State University, but he has already achieved lifelong...

What is Liberty City Press?

Liberty City Press is an independent weekly newspaper distributed by the Philadelphia Multi-Cultural Media Network whose members include Philadelphia Sunday Sun, The Philadelphia Gay News, Al Dia, The Metro Chinese Weekly and The Metro Viet News.

Print Edition


Related Articles & Videos

Liberty City Press Photos