West Bethlehem’s Sims Grocery Store Getting a Makeover?

Fun story about the American Hairlines guys looking at redesigning Sims grocery store in West Bethlehem. I really wanted to resist the urge to cast this as a stereotypical story about cool gay people being good for economic development, but that’s totally what’s happening!

Anyway instead I will let Dave McCormack make the point that grocery stores are a pretty good driver of neighborhood economic activity:

McCormack believes the neighborhood should pitch in because an improved supermarket would boost the business district’s continued revitalization, he said.

“I just feel it would be a great addition to the downtown,” he said. “If there’s a nice market, there’s going to be more people to buy properties and renovate them.”

Sim’s Quality Market is at Fifth Avenue and West Broad Street in Bethlehem.

Another West Bethlehem business owner said she believes an improved Sim’s would help the entire neighborhood. The Puppy Palace owner Shannon Patrick, who has been organizing business efforts in the neighborhood, said many Bethlehem residents talk about a need for a Center City grocery store but often don’t think of Sim’s.

“If it was renovated, I think it would be much more appealing,” she said. “To have a more renovated current full-service grocery store on the street would be huge.”

For my part, I will say that extending the CB zone from downtown all along Broad Street would be a very easy way to help grow the Broad Street business district, if that’s really the goal.

(Thanks: Lynn Olanoff)


  1. Jon:

    We are in agreement. As a proponent of urban lifestyle, (if that’s what you want for yourself), one determining factor would be- “Can the downtown provide most if not all of my practical needs?” One area where most mid-sized cities fall well short is full service grocery stores. Not WAWA, not 7-11, not mini-marts/gas stations where a quart of milk costs an arm & a leg. A real market where people can walk to it in a central location and where people can buy fresh vegetables, fruit, dairy, bread and staples. Sims is terrific, but a little isolated from the Broad, Main, New, Church sector. A good location would be the surface lot at East Broad and Long St. A possibility might be the abomination at Broad & New, formerly known as the “Marketplace”. The people already residing in the downtown want and need this service. Build it and added to all of Bethlehem’s other advantages, I would wager demand to live in the downtown would remain high and increase.

    • Publius says:

      Like this comment. Exactly. Develop the commercial infrastructure, particularly the things people needs day-to-day like groceries and sundries and you are well on your way to having a residential boom.

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