PHILADELPHIA—Despite modest increases in the west Philadelphia neighborhood’s property values over the past several years, residents of Walnut Hill told reporters Monday that the proprietors of Fireside Connections have definitely jumped the gentrification gun with their recently opened custom fireplace shop. “Don’t get me wrong, the neighborhood’s definitely been on the upswing, but I don’t know where these guys got the idea that we had the income or sensibilities at this point to buy built-to-order fireplaces,” said Sam Rothermel, one of the many recent middle-class transplants to Walnut Hill who argued that, while gains in economic prosperity are perhaps enough to keep a contemporary design furniture store afloat, they simply can’t sustain a retailer that sells custom-etched glass fireplace screens, antiqued brass fireplace tools, and hand-carved Moroccan mantels. “I guess these guys just looked around, saw a home brewery supply store and one boutique baby clothing shop, and thought this was the next step. But if you ask me, they really put the cart before the horse on this one. For crying out loud, we don’t even have a fresh pasta store yet.” Sources said that Fireside Connections is likely to go out of business, just like the spice shop, Pinch, that previously occupied the location.
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