owner, Assembly88

“The first store I opened up back in 1999 was the Archive, which was similar to Assembly88 but it was mostly shoes.

For whatever reason, there seems to be less people looking to work in person nowadays, even for part time. It’s hard to find part time employees. I used to have college kids work for me, but college kids have different opportunities nowadays so it’s no longer one option for work.

I’m one of the chairs for the Downtown Allentown Business Alliance, whose goal is to help the small businesses in downtown and encourage folks to come down and support the small businesses.We hear everyone always calling to support small businesses, but the average American consumer can find what they want online. The audience is there, but we are not the only option anymore.

Overall, the perception of Allentown is positive, but no place is perfect. Development is up and that is certainly helping attract business that would not have thought about coming to Allentown. There was not a Starbucks here until all of the new construction. Yet the development has a lot of older folks upset about how Allentown has changed. It’s no longer the days of Hess. The younger folks are fine with the new changes since they do not know what it used to be.

In time, the development will be good as more job opportunities will come about. Times change and hopefully, the new developments will increase the economic opportunity in Allentown.”

Interview by Jordan Fisch ’22

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