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Bryn Mawr Business Association Turns 100

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The Bryn Mawr Business Association (BMBA) was founded on April 10, 1917, and celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. The U.S. had declared war on Germany the week before, and the Great War in Europe was in full swing.

Back at home, because of the amazing success of the Pennsylvania Railroad, Bryn Mawr had become a thriving local community. The Bryn Mawr train station was the largest and busiest in the area, which helped expand the business district around Lancaster and Montgomery avenues.

Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Mawr Hospital, Bryn Mawr Trust, the Post Office and the Fire Company were all firmly established by that time, and the Ludington Library was celebrating its first year.

In 1921, the Association was incorporated, and other organizations like the Ardmore Chamber of Commerce (now the Main Line Chamber of Commerce) also started springing up.

The Association frequently met at the “Water Company” (present day site of Aqua), to discuss plans and the future of the business development in Bryn Mawr. Its membership always remained strong, but in 1978 the organization almost dissolved because of lack of interest.

In the 80’s when the Schuylkill Expressway was under construction, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) tried to take out all parking spaces on Lancaster Avenue, like the towns of Haverford and Ardmore. The BMBA rallied against the restrictions, as parking was already very limited in the area. As a result, spots were carved from the sidewalk so the flow of traffic would not be obstructed and patrons would still be able to park on the street.

Philip Gianacova, a longtime member and business owner spent years picking up trash, sweeping streets, and planting flowers. When he passed away in 1993, associates banded together to form Bryn Mawr Beautiful in his memory. Bryn Mawr Beautiful is still very active in maintaining all of the flower baskets and boxes and keeping the sidewalks clean.

During the holidays, the BMBA subsidizes all of the holiday lights along Lancaster Avenue and along with the Bryn Mawr Civic Association and Bryn Mawr Rotary Club hosts festivities that include an annual tree lighting with Santa arriving at the Gazebo behind the library on a fire truck.

The BMBA is the proud sponsor of Bryn Mawr Day, which for the past seven years has created a family-fun-filled day of activities and entertainment every September.

Anyone operating a business in Bryn Mawr is welcome to join the Association. Board meetings are held on the second Thursday at The Camera Shop. General Membership meetings are held quarterly at various locations throughout the town.

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