Planet Hoagie Delivers!

Operating a small business in Norristown is a thing of pride. These days, doing business in downtown Norristown is particularly tough making the pride factor even higher. Especially for those who continually make it happen day after day. "It's not easy, but we love this town and appreciate the traffic that the courthouse provides.", Said Chris Aquila, owner of the shop. "We've come to have some high expectations by our regular clients, and let me tell you, it's not easy pleasing lawyers", Chris said with a smile.

Having had a sandwich or two from the establishment, I can attest to their attitude about pride. They take the time to be sure that what they offer is of the highest quality, every time. Chris and his team never settle for less when it comes to serving his customers. The product is of the highest quality from the rolls to the meats to the service.

Located on Airy and Swede where the old Montgomery Lunch used to reside, Planet Hoagie has been serving law firms, court house traffic, and local workers for the past 8 years. "We still get the occasional couple who just got their marriage licenses", said Chris with a smile. What better way to celebrate anticipated nuptials? In addition to their local business, the shop also delivers. From King of Prussia to Conshohoken, all the way to even Blue Bell, they cover a wide service area. "Some of the law firms in this area have branch offices in nearby towns. They love our sandwiches so much they have those offices order for delivery." said Aquila.

Planet Hoagie has a daily schedule of 9:00am to 3pm Monday through Friday. What was originally just a hoagie shop, Chris saw the the need to widen the menu with all of the traffic in and around town. Three years ago they added a grill adding steak sandwiches, breakfast items, cheeseburgers and even a fryer for french fries, chicken fingers, etc...

When I went to speak to Chris about doing this article for his shop, what really resonated out of it for me was his concern for business in Norristown. It was out of anticipation for his own shop either. The guys here love the town, and they want to see it grow. "It's a great place and there is a lot of opportunity and potential", said Chris. I tell you, there's nothing better than to obtain products or services from a place that really has a passion for where they reside and do business. It shows in those products and you'll never be disappointed.

Conshy Bakery is a labor of love

I first contacted Conshy Bakery about 6 months ago to do this review. I didn't think much of it and thought I could probably write something up real quick without even speaking to anyone. I do like to talk to the owners, the employees and sometimes even customers about places I do write up's on because it gives a much deeper perspective so I decided to wait.

I finally got to Conshy last week and was met by Chris. The daughter of one of the founders. We had a pleasant conversation and a quick tour, meeting both her brother and her father. What they do there is nothing short of miraculous to bring the area the finest in bread and rolls.

First off, the tour was really shocking. I don't know why. All you have to do is think about what they do and you could probably form a concept of how much work goes into doing what they do, but I was totally surprised. First off, they get a bulk delivery of about 50,000 pounds of flour every six days. It goes into this hopper and from there is distributed via pipeline to the different mixers. Truly something to be seen and not what you'd expect from looking outside of the quaint little building in Conshohocken. Especially from looking at the little retail shop from inside the doors. It's truly a huge undertaking with ovens and proofing rooms and mixers and cooling rooms, etc. Not everything is automated either. This is truly a craft. Every Kaiser roll that has an "x" marked on top is made by hand. From the hoagie rolls to the zep rolls to everything in between all get attention by hand at some point in the process.

80 percent of their business is wholesale and the other 20 percent is retail. They make tomato pie, rolls, breads, and baked goods for every type of eatery or consumer. With 11 independent route drivers they service just about 15 counties surrounding the Delaware Valley. "We get calls from Maryland and Virginia almost on a daily basis but being a daily delivery product it's hard to reach further out", said Mike, now a partner with his father Dominic in the business.

Anyone who is anyone knows the quality of their breads and rolls and also realizes that the quality is time sensitive. Great breads from this area are no good after 24 hours. "You can freeze them, and use them later, but that's only for hot sandwiches. You shouldn't do it for cold sandwiches.", said Dominic. Obviously a sandwich connoisseur and knows his product. For what it's worth, I agree completely. Trust me, I know my sandwiches. :)

Dominic Gambone founded Conshocken Bakery in 1973 with his partner Frank Manzi. Both of whom worked at Morabito Bakery in Norristown. They bought a $12,000 oven from the closing Phoenixville state hospital at auction (which is still in use today), and got to work.

From those days it has grown into an area household name. They brand some of their rolls for customers such as McNally's at Citizens Bank Park. The "Schmitter" is made specifically for that sandwich and Conshy bakery provides it. They just don't serve sandwich shops either. Some of the best restaurants in the area serve conshy products. "Because of the independent drivers, it's sometimes hard for us gauge just who exactly we are serving at all times. The drivers like to keep their customers close to their own vests", said Chris. Can you blame them?

On any given day they average 50 employees to complete the daily orders working overnight, starting around 6pm to have orders done by 3am. Employees work around their shifts to be sure that quality remains the number one priority. Area sandwich shops wouldn't be what they are without Conshy, that's for sure. Ask Lou's, Eve's, or any other of your favorite places that uses Conshy where their business would be without them. I did. Results are obvious.

The retail store is open almost everyday, and you can check their site out for hours. Stop by, grab a tomato pie, some rolls, or bread for the family. Use them for parties, but call in your orders so you know the product will be available. It goes fast! I've posted some pics below of the bakery inside, including the original oven.

Joseph Miller, CPA will do your taxes among other things

Almost a month ago, there was a collective sigh of relief from all the accountants in the area. That sigh came from knowing that they could now go on vacation. From Jan 1st thru April 15th, most tax accountants spend 15 hours a day inside their little cubbies churning out 1040's and other tax documents to help their customers hit their deadlines.

That's the idea most people get when they hear about tax consultants or accountants. However, in Lansdale, Joesph Miller, CPA does a lot more than just helping you file your taxes.

For more than 15 years, Miller has been helping the community with all of their financial and business needs as it relates to accounting, taxes, bookkeeping, billing, payroll, and even computer services among other things.

"We have a nice clientele of auto dealerships that we've done for years among other different types of corporate and professional clients", said Doug Miller, Joe's son and the lead tax preparer for the business. "But we also do a lot of personal returns as well. This year we did over 400 1040 returns. The community has come to know that we can help them get it right so that they can be sure they are getting what they deserve back and they get that peace of mind knowing that they had it done right."

Located in Lansdale, Miller started 15 years ago, acquiring two other firms along the way and moving once, literally down the street to accommodate the need for more space.

Miller's firm truly defines the success of a local business when the right tactics are implemented. Do something you love to do, engage family and friends to help with building the business, be sure to provide value and integrity for your customers, be creative in your offering, and have fun doing it.

To see how Joseph Miller can help you or your business, call them for an appointment.