The community of West Reading is
experiencing a transformation … spirited by the growth of the Penn
Avenue shopping district and the expansion of its larger companies and
institutions. Over 35 new retail and restaurant businesses have opened
on Penn Avenue since 1999 and two short blocks away, a $70 million
expansion of the Reading Hospital and Medical Center is providing a
built in market for the growth.
The West Reading Community Revitalization Foundation has
sparked much of the improvement by applying the widely successful
strategies of the “Main Street America” program with the added support
of a Borough-wide, long-term strategic plan for revitalization.
Major companies located in the Borough include The Reading
Hospital and Medical Center, the region’s largest employer with
over 4,000 employees, R.M. Palmer, a world-class
chocolate novelty manufacturer, Narrow Fabrics, a global
textile corporation and headquarters for Edwards Business
Machines with retail outlets throughout the eastern seaboard.
The major anchor for small business in West Reading is the VF
Outlet Center located just one block from Penn Avenue. The
outlets attract 4 to 5 million visitors each year with annual sales
volume nearing $190 million.