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It's no secret, most of us would like to stay in our own home as we age. Yet, sometimes our loved ones just need a little extra help to remain comfortable at home. That's where Always Best Care can help....we are dedicated to exceeding expectations....always

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Home Care In Elkins Park, PA

Home Care Elkins Park, PA

They say that your golden years are the best years of your life. For most older Americans, that's how it should be - a time to relax, reflect, and live life in a familiar place. After all, senior citizens in the U.S. have worked tirelessly to build a better economy, serve their communities, and raise families.

However, as seniors grow older, completing daily tasks like showering and enjoying activities such as visiting the historic Lynnewood Hall gets harder without someone by their side. Unfortunately, many older Americans aren't able to rely on their adult children for help. The reality in today's world is that family members do not have the skills or time to dedicate to caring for their parents. That's where Always Best Care Senior Services comes in.

Our in-home care services are for people who prefer to stay at home as they grow older but need ongoing care that family or friends cannot provide. More and more older adults prefer to live far away from long-term, institutionalized facilities and closer to the place where they feel most comfortable - their home. Home care in Elkins Park, PA is a safe, effective way to give your loved ones the care they need when they need it the most.

 In-Home Care Elkins Park, PA

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The Always Best Care Difference

Since 1996, Always Best Care has provided non-medical in-home care for seniors to help them maintain a healthy lifestyle as they get older. We are proud to have helped more than 25,000 seniors maintain higher levels of dignity and respect. We focus on providing seniors with the highest level of in-home care available so that they may live happily and independently.

Unlike some senior care companies, we genuinely want to be included in our clients' lives. We believe that personalized care is always the better option over a "one size fits all" approach. To make sure our senior clients receive the best care possible, we pair them with compassionate caregivers who understand their unique needs. That way, they may provide care accordingly without compromising their wellbeing.

The Always Best Care difference lies in life's little moments - where compassionate care and trustworthy experience come together to help seniors live a fruitful, healthy life. Whether you are an aging adult that can't quite keep up with life's daily tasks or the child of a senior who needs regular in-home services, Always Best Care is here to help.


“Dave and his staff go above and beyond with their care. They all take special interest with their clients. Also a very helpful resource in future planning and current ideas. Trust your parents to these people - they will not let you down.”

Bill H.


Jasmine P.


Delia F.

What is Non-Medical Senior Care in Elkins Park, PA?


Home is where the heart is. While that saying can sound a tad cliche, it is especially true for many seniors living in America. When given a choice, older adults most often prefer to grow older at home. An AARP study found that three out of four adults over the age of 50 want to stay in their homes and communities as they age.


When you begin to think about why, it makes sense. Home offers a sense of security, comfort, and familiarity.


The truth is, as we age, we begin to rely on others for help. When a family is too busy or lives too far away to fulfill this role, in-home senior care is often the best solution. Home care services allow seniors to enjoy personal independence while also receiving trustworthy assistance from a trained caregiver.


At Always Best Care, we offer a comprehensive range of home care services to help seniors stay healthy while they get the help they need to remain independent. As your senior loved one gets older, giving them the gift of senior care is one of the best ways to show your love, even if you live far away.

 Senior Care Elkins Park, PA

Types of Elderly Care in Elkins Park, PA

To give our senior clients the best care possible, we offer a full spectrum of in-home care services:

Personal Care

Personal Care Services

If your senior loved one has specific care needs, our personal care services are a great choice to consider. Personal care includes the standard caregiving duties associated with companion care and includes help with tasks such as dressing and grooming. Personal care can also help individuals with chronic conditions like diabetes.

Common personal care services include assistance with:

  • Eating
  • Mobility Issues
  • Incontinence
  • Bathing
  • Dressing
  • Grooming

Respite Care Elkins Park, PA
Home Helper

Home Helper Services

Sometimes, seniors need helpful reminders to maintain a high quality of life at home. If you or your senior has trouble with everyday tasks like cooking, our home helper services will be very beneficial.

Common home helper care services include assistance with:

  • Medication Reminders
  • Meal Preparation
  • Pet Care
  • Prescription Refills
  • Morning Wake-Up
  • Walking
  • Reading
 Caregivers Elkins Park, PA
Companionship Services

Companionship Services

Using this kind of care is a fantastic way to make life easier for you or your senior loved one. At Always Best Care, our talented caregivers often fill the role of a companion for seniors. That way, older adults can enjoy their favorite local activities, such as visiting Richard Wall Park with friends while also receiving the care they need daily or weekly.

Common companionship services include:

  • Grocery Shopping
  • Transportation to Appointments
  • Nutritional Assistance
  • Conversation
  • Planning Outings
  • Completing Errands
  • Transportation to Community
  • Events and Social Outings
Home Care Elkins Park, PA
Respite Care

Respite Care Services

According to AARP, more than 53 million adults living in the U.S. provide care to someone over 50 years old. Unfortunately, these caregivers experience stress, exhaustion, and even depression. Our respite care services help family caregivers address urgent obligations, spend time with their children, and enjoy nearby activities. Perhaps more importantly, respite care gives family members time to recharge and regroup. Taking personal time to de-stress reduces the risk of caregiver burnout. So, if you've always wanted to eat at the local Le Onde Ristorante BYOB or visit Richard Wall House Museum, don't feel bad. Doing so is great for both you and your loved one.

At the end of the day, our goal is to become a valuable part of your senior's daily routine. That way, we may help give them the highest quality of life possible. We know that staying at home is important for your loved one, and we are here to help make sure that is possible.

If you have been on the fence about non-medical home care, there has never been a better time than now to give your senior the care, assistance, and companionship they deserve.

 In-Home Care Elkins Park, PA

Benefits of Home Care in Elkins Park, PA

Always Best Care in-home services are for older adults who prefer to stay at home but need ongoing care that friends and family cannot provide. In-home care is a safe, effective way for seniors to age gracefully in a familiar place and live independent, non-institutionalized lives. The benefits of non-medical home care are numerous. Here are just a few reasons to consider senior care services from Always Best Care:

Always Best Care offers a full array of care options for patients at all levels of health. With our trusted elderly care services, your loved one will receive the level of care necessary for them to enjoy the highest possible quality of life.

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Aging in Place: The Preferred Choice for Most Seniors

While it's true that some seniors have complicated medical needs that prevent them from staying at home, aging in place is often the best arrangement for seniors and their families. With a trusted caregiver, seniors have the opportunity to live with a sense of dignity and do so as they see fit - something that is unavailable to many older people today.

In-home care makes it possible for millions of seniors to age in place every year. Rather than moving to a strange nursing home, seniors have the chance to stay at home where they feel the happiest and most comfortable.

Here are just a few of the reasons why older men and women prefer to age at home:

How much does a senior's home truly mean to them?

A study published by the American Society on Aging found that more than half of seniors say their home's emotional value means more than how much their home is worth in monetary value. It stands to reason, then, that a senior's home is where they want to grow old.

With the help of elderly care in Elkins Park, PA, seniors don't have to age in a sterilized care facility. Instead, they can age gracefully in the place they want to be most: their home. In contrast, seniors who move to a long-term care facility must adapt to new environments, new people, and new systems that the facility implements. At this stage in life, this kind of drastic change can be more harmful than helpful.

Institutional care facilities like nursing homes often put large groups of people together to live in one location. On any given day, dozens of staff members and caregivers run in and out of these facilities. Being around so many new people in a relatively small living environment can be dangerous for a seniors' health and wellbeing. When you consider that thousands of seniors passed away in nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, opting for in-home care is often a safer, healthier choice for seniors.

Aging in place has been shown to improve seniors' quality of life, which helps boost physical health and also helps insulate them from viral and bacterial risks found in elderly living facilities.

For many seniors, the ability to live independently with assistance from a caregiver is a priceless option. With in-home care, seniors experience a higher level of independence and freedom - much more so than in other settings like a nursing home. When a senior has the chance to age in place, they get to live life on their own terms, inside the house that they helped make into a home. More independence means more control over their personal lives, too, which leads to increased levels of fulfillment, happiness, and personal gratification. Over time, these positive feelings can manifest into a healthier, longer life.

More independence, a healthier life, and increased comfort are only a few benefits of aging in place. You have to take into consideration the role of cost and convenience. Simply put, it's usually easier and more affordable to help seniors age in place than it is to move them into an institutional care facility. According to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, seniors who age in the comfort of their homes can save thousands of dollars per month.

In-home care services from Always Best Care, for instance, are often less expensive than long-term solutions, which can cost upwards of six figures per year. To make matters worse, many residential care facilities are reluctant to accept long-term care insurance and other types of payment assistance.

With Always Best Care's home care services, seniors and their families have a greater level of control over their care plans. In-home care gives seniors the chance to form a bond with a trusted caregiver and also receive unmatched care that is catered to their needs. In long-term care facilities, seniors and their loved ones have much less control over their care plan and have less of a say in who provides their care.

 Elderly Care Elkins Park, PA

Affordable Care

In-home care is a valuable resource that empowers seniors to age in place on their own terms. However, a big concern for many families and their loved ones is how much in-home care costs. If you're worried that in-home care is too expensive, you may be pleasantly surprised to learn that it is one of the most affordable senior care arrangements available.

Typically, hiring an Always Best Care in-home caregiver for a few hours a week is more affordable than sending your loved one to a long-term care facility. This is true even for seniors with more complex care needs.

At Always Best Care, we will work closely with you and your family to develop a Care Plan that not only meets your care needs, but your budget requirements, too. Once we discover the level of care that you or your senior need, we develop an in-home care plan that you can afford.

In addition to our flexible care options, families should also consider the following resources to help offset potential home care costs:

If your loved one qualifies, Medicaid may help reduce in-home care costs. Review your PA's Medicaid program laws and benefits, and make sure your senior's financial and medical needs meet Medicaid eligibility requirements.
Attendance and aid benefits through military service can cover a portion of the costs associated with in-home care for veterans and their spouses.
Many senior care services like in-home care are included in long-term care insurance options. Research different long-term care solutions to find a plan that provides coverage for senior care.
Home care can be included as part of a senior's private insurance plan. Read over your loved one's insurance policy carefully or speak with their insurance provider to determine if in-home care is covered.
Depending on the life insurance plan, you may be able to apply your policy toward long-term care. You may be able to use long-term-care coverage to help pay for in-home elderly care.
 Senior Care Elkins Park, PA

Compassionate Care. Trusted Caregivers.

When you or your senior loved one needs assistance managing daily tasks at home, finding a qualified caregiver can be challenging. It takes a special kind of person to provide reliable care for your senior loved one. However, a caregiver's role involves more than meal preparation and medication reminders. Many seniors rely on their caregivers for companionship, too.

Our companion care services give seniors the chance to socialize in a safe environment and engage in activities at home. These important efforts boost morale and provide much-needed relief from repetitive daily routines. A one-on-one, engaging conversation can sharpen seniors' minds and give them something in which to be excited.

At Always Best Care, we only hire care providers that we would trust to care for our own loved ones. Our senior caregivers in Elkins Park, PA understand how important it is to listen and communicate with their seniors. A seemingly small interaction, like a short hug goodbye, can make a major difference in a senior's day. Instead of battling against feelings of isolation, seniors begin to look forward to seeing their caregiver each week.

Understanding the nuances of senior care is just one of the reasons why our care providers are so great at their job.

Unlike some senior care companies, our caregivers must undergo extensive training before they work for Always Best Care. In addition, our caregivers receive ongoing training throughout the year. This training ensures that their standard of care matches up to the high standards we've come to expect. During this training, they will brush up on their communication skills, safety awareness, and symptom spotting. That way, your loved one receives the highest level of non-medical home care from day one.

Assisted Living Referral Services

While it's true that many seniors prefer to age at home, sometimes in-home care isn't the best fit. For those seniors and their families, choosing an assisted living facility makes more sense. Unfortunately, finding the optimal care facility is easier said than done in today's day and age. That's when Always Best Care's assisted living referral services begin to make a lot of sense.

Assisted living is a form of housing intended for seniors who require varying degrees of medical and personal attention. Accommodations may include single rooms, apartments, or shared living arrangements. Assisted living communities are typically designed to resemble a home-like environment and are physically constructed to encourage the independence of residents.

Respite Care Elkins Park, PA

At assisted living communities, seniors receive help with daily activities such as bathing, dressing, and eating. They may also benefit from coordination of services with outside healthcare providers, and monitoring of resident activities to ensure their health, safety, and well-being. Caregivers who work at assisted living communities can also provide medication administration and personal care services for older adults.

Other services offered within assisted living communities can include some or all of the following:

  • Housekeeping
  • Laundry
  • Recreational Activities
  • Social Outings
  • Emergency Medical Response
  • Medication Monitoring
  • Family Visitation
  • Personal Care
 Caregivers Elkins Park, PA

At Always Best Care, our representatives can match your senior's emotional, physical, and financial needs with viable assisted living communities nearby. Results are based on comparative data, so you can select the best choice for you or your loved one.

Always Best Care works closely with local senior living communities to gain valuable knowledge that we then use to help seniors and their loved ones make informed decisions. This information can include basic care and rent, resident availability, and services provided. Because Always Best Care is compensated by these communities, we provide senior living referral services at no extra cost to you.

Some of the most popular assisted living communities to consider in our area include the following:

  • Elkins Crest Health & Rehabilitation Center
  • Orth Home Care
  • Senior Helpers Greater Philadelphia
  • Oak Assisted Living Community
  • Parkview at Cheltenham
  • Hopkins Center
Home Care Elkins Park, PA

For many seniors, moving into a senior living community revolves around how and when they want to make a transition to more involved care. Some seniors are more proactive about transitioning to independent living. Others choose to remain home until their care needs or other requirements are satisfied. Remember - our staff is here to help. Contact our office today to learn more about assisted living communities and how we can find a facility that exceeds your expectations.

 In-Home Care Elkins Park, PA

Taking the First Step with Always Best Care

The first step in getting quality in-home care starts with a personal consultation with an experienced Always Best Care Care Coordinator. This initial consultation is crucial for our team to learn more about you or your elderly loved one to discover the level of care required. Topics of this consultation typically include:

A discussion of your needs and how our trained caregivers can offer assistance in the most effective way


A draft of your care plan, which includes highly detailed notes and a framework for the care that you or your senior will receive


Discuss payment options and help coordinate billing with your insurance provider


Our caregivers are trained to spot changes that clients exhibit, like mental and physical decline. As your trusted senior care company, we will constantly assess and update your Care Plan to meet any new emotional, intellectual, physical, and emotional needs.

If you have never considered in-home care before, we understand that you and your family may have concerns about your Care Plan and its Care Coordinator. To help give you peace of mind, know that every team member and caregiver must undergo comprehensive training before being assigned to a Care Plan.

At the end of the day, we only hire the best of the best at Always Best Care. Whether you need home care in Elkins Park, PA 24-hours a day or only need a respite for a couple of hours, we are here to serve you.

When you're ready, we encourage you to contact your local Always Best Care representative to set up a Care Consultation. Our Care Coordinators would be happy to meet with you in person to get to know you better, discuss your needs, and help put together a personalized Care Plan specific to your needs.

 Elderly Care Elkins Park, PA

Latest News in Elkins Park, PA

Touring Frank Lloyd Wright’s Beth Sholom Synagogue in Elkins Park, PA

Disclosure: This article may contain affiliate links. We will make a small commission from these links if you order something at no additional cost to you.Frank Lloyd Wright is America’s most celebrated architect, and he created wondrous works throughout the country. However, he only designed one synagogue: Beth Sholom Synagogue in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania.Beth Sholom Synagogue sits in a residential area about nine miles north of Center City Philadelphia in the ...

Disclosure: This article may contain affiliate links. We will make a small commission from these links if you order something at no additional cost to you.

Frank Lloyd Wright is America’s most celebrated architect, and he created wondrous works throughout the country. However, he only designed one synagogue: Beth Sholom Synagogue in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania.

Beth Sholom Synagogue sits in a residential area about nine miles north of Center City Philadelphia in the Montgomery County suburb of Elkins Park. The Beth Sholom Congregation that it serves was established in the city in 1919 but moved out to the suburbs in the 1950s to support the Jewish community in that area.

Rabbi Mortimer J. Cohen, who led the congregation, had a dream of creating a grand American synagogue and felt that only Frank Lloyd Wright could help him achieve his vision. And, despite Wright having turned down many similar projects in the past, he was impressed by Cohen’s words and vision and decided to design this impressive structure.

Over the course of six years, Wright worked with Cohen to create a building that was both profoundly a Wright design, as well as profoundly in line with Cohen’s vision and filled with Jewish symbolism. Despite budget and building issues, the structure was completed in September 1959, shortly after the death of Frank Lloyd Wright.

Today, the Beth Sholom Synagogue is one of Wright’s finest works and the only intact example of his work in the Philadelphia area.

Visitors wanting to explore this still active synagogue can take the public tours that are offered every Sunday throughout the year. Unlike many of the other Frank Lloyd Wright buildings in PA, photos are allowed on the tour and children are welcome (though they might find the tour a little boring).

Tours of Beth Sholom Synagogue are approximately one hour long and take you through a portion of the building including a small museum, the main sanctuary, and a smaller chapel.

After a brief introduction to the building, tours begin with a quick stop in the museum and a viewing of a 20-minute film about the building of the structure. This film is very well done and really provides great insight into Cohen’s vision and Wright’s design.

As you walk through the synagogue, docents do an excellent job pointing out some of the smaller and larger details in the construction that make this building incredibly unique and unquestionably Jewish in design. It’s really amazing how much thought Wright put into creating a unique American synagogue.

One of my favorite details during my visit was the little lights in the foyer that cast light in the shape of the Star of David. I also really enjoyed all of the symbolism in the altar at the front of the large sanctuary.

As someone who isn’t Jewish and has only been in synagogues a handful of times, I found it very interesting to learn about these little touches, and also about the parts of Jewish that they relate to. I can imagine for those that are Jewish, these touches will be even more meaningful.

The most impressive spot within Beth Sholom Synagogue is the main sanctuary.

This space is awe-inspiring thanks to the towering pyramid of glass that stretches 110 feet over the 1,020 seats within the sanctuary. Lit up at night, this pyramid is designed to evoke the image of Mount Sinai, where Moses is said to have received the Ten Commandments.

Above the seats, there is a large and colorful chandelier that is strikingly beautiful to gaze upon and is filled with symbolism that is quite fascinating to learn about.

Sadly, needed repairs to the deteriorating plexiglass panels mean that portions of the space are often covered with tarps and buckets line the pathways. Still, this space is truly beautiful and an amazing work of art by both Wright and Cohen.

The tour ends in the small chapel where the congregation typically meets for their weekly services. While not as grand as the main sanctuary, this is still a beautiful space that is interesting to see and features a lot of design touches that are reminiscent of many other Wright designs.

After the tour is finished, visitors are allowed to reenter the museum to spend time looking over some of the preserved artifacts and signage, as well as visit the gift shop.

Once back outside the synagogue, make sure to take the time to walk around to the front of the building to see this incredible place from outside.

Views from afar will give you a sense of the grandeur of the building while closer inspection will let you see some of the exterior details including the beautiful entry doors and the spot where Wright “signed” the structure.

Having toured several of Wright’s works in the past, including Fallingwater and Kentuck Knob, both in southwestern PA, I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Beth Sholom Synagogue near Philadelphia. I found it especially interesting to contrast the homes I had previously visited with Wright’s work on a more public project, as well as learning about the symbolic details that were designed into the structure.

If you are a fan of Wright’s work, architecture, or simply love history, consider Beth Sholom Synagogue a must-visit spot in the Philly suburbs.

Looking for more places to visit nearby? Check out the Ryerss Museum, Wissahickon Gorge, and the Stoogeum.

Beth Sholom Synagogue

Hours: Sundays: 10a-3p Advanced Tickets Recommended

Cost: Adults: $15, Kids: Free


Address: 8231 Old York Rd Elkins Park, PA 19027

See map for other area attractions.

Inside historic Gilded Age mansion Lynnewood Hall's long-awaited restoration

ELKINS PARK, Pa. (CBS) -- After sitting vacant for decades, an Elkins Park mansion from the Gilded Age is undergoing a long-awaited restoration.Tucked away on Spring Avenue is one of the largest private residential homes in the entire country. But for the better part of the last 30 years, not many people have seen behind these walls."Lynnewood Hall is a house that has long been forgotten about, unfortunately," Lynnewood Hall Preservation ...

ELKINS PARK, Pa. (CBS) -- After sitting vacant for decades, an Elkins Park mansion from the Gilded Age is undergoing a long-awaited restoration.

Tucked away on Spring Avenue is one of the largest private residential homes in the entire country. But for the better part of the last 30 years, not many people have seen behind these walls.

"Lynnewood Hall is a house that has long been forgotten about, unfortunately," Lynnewood Hall Preservation Foundation executive director Edward Thome said, "and that is what we're here to change."

Step inside the front doors, and its grandeur is immediately clear.

"This is the great hall," Thome said. "It's the largest room in the building. Lynnewood is, quite truly, the last American Versailles."

Certainly, fit for a king.

"This is one of the largest residential ballrooms in the eastern seaboard," Thome said. "And that's 18th-century Italian, which came out of a palace in Italy."

The nonprofit Lynnewood Hall Preservation Foundation bought the 110,000-square-foot property in June, largely through the help of an angel donor, with the intent of restoring the home and opening it to the public.

"This is arguably the most important preservation project in America right now," facility site manager Tyler Schumacher said. "The opulence, the incredible history, the architecture of this building. Losing a building like this is something you can never get back."

Losing it was a real concern.

After changing hands several times, the home sat empty for decades. The foundation feared the property and its 35 acres would land in the hands of a developer, or fall victim to neglect.

"Thirty years of abandonment, usually in most buildings, leads to collapsing floors and caving-in roofs, and as you walk through this building, you're not going to see a lot of that," Schumacher said.

Lynnewood Hall was built to last. It's an entirely brick building, with a steel I-beam cage and a foot of concrete between each floor.

Dating back to 1897, the Gilded Age mansion was originally built as the private home of Peter A.B. Widener. His purpose was family and art.

"The Widener family had 14 Rembrandt's in their collection," Thome said.

Today, it's the massive art galleries that are in some of the worst shape.

"Our first steps must be asbestos remediation and also stabilization," chief operating officer Angie Van Scyoc said. "You cannot begin restoration until you no longer have water coming in the building."

The foundation is now raising money to fund the work. The goal is a slow, phased opening over time.

"Because we want to have the ability to have master craftsmen come in with universities and students from all around the country," Thome said.

And craftsmen from around the world.

First up, opening the grounds next year and eventually hosting public tours, turning Lynnewood Hall into a cultural center for education, architecture and art.

The foundation raised $9.5 million that went toward the purchase of Lynnwood Hall. It's estimated they now need $100 million more for the restoration project.

Jan Carabeo

Jan Carabeo joined CBS3 Eyewitness News as a reporter in March 2014 and was named weekend morning anchor in January 2017.

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Elkins Park medical marijuana dispensary workers vote to unionize

Dispensary workers in Elkins Park, an unincorporated community just north of Philadelphia, told their bosses they wanted to unionize on the biggest marijuana holiday of the year — April 20.After that, the vibe at work changed for 26-year-old Robert Franco, who commutes from Kensington to the Restore Integrative Wellness Center, a medical marijuana dispensary on Old York Road.“Everybody was always anxious,” Franco said. “It was like walking on eggshells the entire time.”The company was &ldquo...

Dispensary workers in Elkins Park, an unincorporated community just north of Philadelphia, told their bosses they wanted to unionize on the biggest marijuana holiday of the year — April 20.

After that, the vibe at work changed for 26-year-old Robert Franco, who commutes from Kensington to the Restore Integrative Wellness Center, a medical marijuana dispensary on Old York Road.

“Everybody was always anxious,” Franco said. “It was like walking on eggshells the entire time.”

The company was “extremely adverse to the idea of their workers unionizing,” said Wendell Young, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union president for Local 1776.

Union organizers said that over the past few months, Restore Integrative Wellness Center hired anti-union educators to hold meetings with workers before the vote. Workers also said that even the company’s top management sent an email to employees one day before the vote, pleading with them not to unionize, saying it would destroy the relationship between the employees and the company.

The union currently represents more than 1,000 cannabis workers across 20 dispensaries in Pennsylvania.

“[Restore] utilized a lot of the typical scare tactics and intimidation,” Young said. “They created a hostile work environment.”

But on June 1, nearly 69 percent of workers voted to unionize the Elkins Park store, according to results on file with the National Labor Relations Board. Out of 16 ballots cast, 11 were in favor of the union and five voted against it. There were 24 employees eligible to vote, records show.

Restore did not respond to repeated requests for an interview with WHYY News.

This was not the first cannabis dispensary across the region to unionize, and union leaders say it won’t be the last either — especially as the industry is poised to grow in the coming year.

If recreational marijuana is legalized in Pennsylvania, there may be an even bigger push to unionize those stores, both industry experts and union officials say.

Restore’s Elkins Park location opened about five years ago, but since there is a high turnover of retail workers, Robert Franco, with only two years of service, is one of the most senior employees.

Franco began working part-time at $15 an hour, and is now earning $18.50 an hour as a full-time employee. He’s offered health insurance, but it’s a limited plan with few doctors in the region. It’s from the for-profit giant United Healthcare.

Cannabis industry insiders say it’s the only health insurance company willing to underwrite group policies for a business that’s still illegal on the federal level. That same reality means 401K retirement plans are off the table for cannabis business employees too.

UFCW Local 1776 union president Wendell Young said that total compensation for unionized cannabis workers is typically about 30 percent higher than non-unionized workers when healthcare benefits and retirement plans are factored in.

Dispensary workers at Restore are expected to cross train as janitors, security officers, inventory specialists, and retail sales cashiers for a starting wage of $17 an hour, but are often denied overtime and holiday pay, employees say. There are no sales bonuses either.

Lindsay Alston is 31 years old and has a college degree, and says she can’t afford to give the company more of her time.

“They keep you at a wage where they can say that it’s the highest of the industry,” she said. “But like I had told management — industry standard doesn’t mean that it’s a livable wage.”

In May 2018, Restore along Frankford Avenue in Fishtown was the first medical marijuana dispensary to open in Philadelphia. In March 2022, Restore ran into issues when it sought to open a sixth location, this time in Delaware County, when the Yeadon zoning board reversed its decision to allow the dispensary.

While cannabis companies acknowledge that dealing with unions is part of the equation, it can be difficult to turn a big profit with the tax structure that doesn’t allow businesses to use common tax deductions such as overhead expenses like advertising, salaries and travel expenses.

“It is expensive to operate a cannabis business, particularly because of the lack of access to traditional banking,” said Meredith Buettner, executive director of the Pennsylvania Cannabis Coalition. “The effective tax rate of a cannabis business hovers somewhere around 70 percent, whereas a normal legal business operates with a tax burden of somewhere around 30 percent.”

Philadelphia attorney Justin Moriconi of Moriconi Flowers Ltd. has worked with many cannabis businesses in the licensing process. Moriconi said some clients are eager to offer employee compensation packages to attract talent, but it’s not always feasible at first.

“I’ve had clients who wanted to do profit-sharing plans, incentive bonus plans and that’s all good,” Moriconi said. “But you have to have the money there to do it. I think that will change, but we’re not really there yet.”

There were more than 425,300 patients across Pennsylvania who purchased $7.3 billion in medical cannabis products across 173 dispensaries as of March 2023, according to a presentation to the state Medical Marijuana Advisory Board in April.

According to state data, monthly dispensary sales of medical marijuana regularly hit about $140 million each month statewide, and have grown steadily since 2020. Not all dispensaries share individual revenue data or final profits after expenses.

“Cannabis companies always struggle to be profitable,” Moriconi said. “The reason for that isn’t necessarily the pricing, although certainly that can affect it. But it’s taxes.”

Since the medical marijuana business was legalized in 2016, the market has significantly consolidated as smaller operations sold licenses to larger corporations, he said.

If Pennsylvania lawmakers approve recreational cannabis sales for adults like Delaware, New Jersey, Maryland ,and New York have already done, unions are likely to play a leading role in that industry too, according to Meredith Buettner, of the Cannabis Coalition.

“We’ve seen pieces of legislation filed in both the House and the Senate here in Pennsylvania that have pointed to the state liquor store system as a possible avenue for adult-use cannabis,” she said. “That signals that labor is a really important part of this conversation as the workforce of those stores is unionized. I think the industry acknowledges that and is prepared to have productive conversations with labor partners as we develop a comprehensive adult-use plan.”

In New Jersey, regulators already require labor peace agreements where unions are allowed to pitch the idea to cannabis workers.

“It takes a lot of the friction away between business owner and employee and union having that labor peace agreement in place,” Moriconi said. “So every new business in New Jersey has to have a labor peace agreement in place. Doesn’t mean they’re all going to be unionized, but they have to have this procedure.”

“Safety is a huge issue within these grow facilities,” UFCW Local 1776 union president Wendell Young said. “There’s a lot of potential exposure with the products that are used to help cultivate and protect plants that aren’t necessarily good to humans. We do a lot of work around trying to understand the best practices for ventilation and the kind of safety gear that should be worn.”

In the coming year, UFCW Local 1776 expects to represent another 800 workers as contracts are still being hashed out.

“We expect to continue to organize at a fairly rapid rate,” Young said.

There’s a Monument to the Nazi SS in an Elkins Park Cemetery. Jewish Groups Are Getting it Covered

The Saint Mary’s Ukrainian Cemetery sits at 438 Cedar Road in Elkins Park. Like at most area cemeteries, you can drive in on a narrow road, park your car on the pavement or a patch of grass and walk up to almost any stone.But there is one monument near the back, to the left and standing in front of trees that has a “Please Keep Off” sign dangling from the chain surrounding it. And that stone commemorates Ukrainian soldiers who fought with the Nazi Schutzstaffel (SS) during World War II.The Jewish Federation of...

The Saint Mary’s Ukrainian Cemetery sits at 438 Cedar Road in Elkins Park. Like at most area cemeteries, you can drive in on a narrow road, park your car on the pavement or a patch of grass and walk up to almost any stone.

But there is one monument near the back, to the left and standing in front of trees that has a “Please Keep Off” sign dangling from the chain surrounding it. And that stone commemorates Ukrainian soldiers who fought with the Nazi Schutzstaffel (SS) during World War II.

The Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, the ADL’s Philadelphia office and the American Jewish Committee Philadelphia/Southern NJ were among those calling for its removal.

And the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia is listening: It met with the AJC on Sept. 8 and announced on Sept. 12 that it would temporarily cover the monument.

“Both parties acknowledged concerns about the monument and agreed that we need unity, support of each other and to have an ‘open, scholarly and compassionate dialogue.’ To this end, the AJC was invited to and plans to attend such a dialogue, which the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy proposed in its statement of September 8. Both parties also understand that the Archeparchy will temporarily cover the monument, per a statement that it is publishing on its social media and on its website,” according to a statement from both organizations.

“Both communities agreed that the bridge that was built is strong enough to bear the weight of any issue and will not divide us. We reiterate: no genocide should be forgotten; no genocide should be allowed. Never again. We sincerely hope that the friendship and support that the Jewish and Ukrainian peoples have established since Ukraine regained its independence will only flourish and be stronger,” the statement continued.

The Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy is the association for the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in the eastern United States. The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, based in Philadelphia, is a member of the archeparchy and the owner of the cemetery site.

Taking down the monument is important for two reasons, according to Jason Holtzman, the director of the Jewish Community Relations Council within the Jewish Federation.

“No. 1, it will be one less Nazi memorial in the world,” Holtzman said. “No. 2, it will show that the archeparchy doesn’t stand with this SS unit.”

“1943-1945,” the stone reads in the middle. “In Memory of Ukrainian Soldiers,” it says at the bottom. In between the years is a shield with a lion and crowns inside. It’s the symbol for the Ukrainian unit, SS Galichina, in the SS. It’s also a sign of hate, according to the Anti-Defamation League. The same symbol is engraved into the stones of many veterans of the unit who are buried behind the memorial.

The monument was erected in 1993, according to Moss Robeson, who reports on Ukrainian nationalist groups. It stood unnoticed until Robeson tweeted a picture of a Ukrainian far-right leader posing alongside it in May. Then in August, The Forward added the stone to its global list of Nazi monuments. In September, The Philadelphia Inquirer spread the story to a local audience.

Veterans’ groups built the stone to “celebrate the 50th anniversary of the creation of the unit,” according to the Inquirer article. They did not need approval or supervision from the archeparchy, according to an association spokeswoman. “Volunteers and conscripts from Nazi-occupied Ukraine” were part of the unit. Many came from a region called Galicia, now part of modern-day Poland and western Ukraine.

Since the soldiers decided to fight Adolf Hitler’s war against the Soviet Union, some saw Nazi collaboration “as a means toward establishing an independent Ukrainian state.” And after the war, “8,000 soldiers from the division were allowed to emigrate.” Many ended up in Philadelphia.

The argument that these soldiers were freedom fighters does not stand, according to Holtzman and Andrew Goretsky, the regional director of ADL Philadelphia.

“It was an SS unit,” Holtzman said.

“Any monument dedicated to a Nazi or Nazi-adjacent group needs to be removed and replaced,” Goretsky added.

Elkins Park native NariYella stuns coaches in audition for 'The Voice'

The coaches on "The Voice" were swept away by a talented young singer from Montgomery County on Tuesday night's episode.NariYella, 20, of Elkins Park, drew rave reviews for her performance of "One Night Only," the hit song from the Broadway musical "Dreamgirls." The singer is an undergraduate student at the University of the Arts, where she's pursuing a degree in music business entrepreneurship and vocal performance.The 23rd season of "The Voice" debuted in early March and is still in the...

The coaches on "The Voice" were swept away by a talented young singer from Montgomery County on Tuesday night's episode.

NariYella, 20, of Elkins Park, drew rave reviews for her performance of "One Night Only," the hit song from the Broadway musical "Dreamgirls." The singer is an undergraduate student at the University of the Arts, where she's pursuing a degree in music business entrepreneurship and vocal performance.

The 23rd season of "The Voice" debuted in early March and is still in the blind audition stage, when the coaches pair up with singers to round out their respective teams. The coaches this season are Kelly Clarkson, Chance the Rapper, Blake Shelton and Niall Horan.

During blind auditions, the coaches sit facing away from the performers. If they like what they hear, they turn their chairs.

NariYella's performance got all four coaches to turn their chairs and vie for her to join them the rest of the way.

Chance the Rapper opened the conversation by asking NariYella about herself, but she was still overcome by the reception she received.

"Hold up, let me get my life together, Chance, please," NariYella said. "I've been singing since I could talk. I've been taking it seriously for the majority of my life, the past decade."

Host Carson Daly predicted a fight among the coaches to bring NariYella onto their teams — and he was right.

"Your voice is actually shocking to me how powerful you are," said Shelton, who's coaching his final season on the NBC show. "Anybody that can be that open and connected to the moment, those are the artists that make it all the way. I would be honored to have you on my last team that I am ever going to put together on 'The Voice.'"

"You have a personality that is just so incredibly captivating," Clarkson said, inviting NariYella to join her team. Horan did the same.

NariYella ultimately chose to go with Chance The Rapper, who gloated about getting her on board.

"It feels good to beat the other coaches," Chance said. "To beat all of them at one time is crazy."

NariYella's website says her musical interests are in R&B, neosoul and hip-hop. Below is a video of "What You Like," a single she released last year.

NariYella tweeted Tuesday that she's still blown away by the reception she got on "The Voice."

Viewers can expect to hear a lot more of NariYella in the weeks to come.

Michael Tanenbaum PhillyVoice Staff

[email protected]

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