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SEPTA Celebrates Improvements Made to Malvern Station

Kristin Geiger
Press Officer

"Don't forget to smile at someone today. Have a great day at work everybody," a WMMR 93.3 FM Morning Radio show personality said to the 345 commuters who boarded SEPTA Paoli/Thorndale Regional Rail trains at Malvern Station.

On September 19th SEPTA enlisted the help of WMMR, a Philadelphia area radio station and Caffe Craze-the coffee shop located inside of Malvern Station- to commemorate the completion of a $9.2 million improvement project at the station. The early morning celebration was also a way to thank commuters for their patience and cooperation during the 24-month construction period.

During the early morning celebration, commuters were greeted by SEPTA's Constituent & Relations Coordinator Patricia Miller-Evans. She thanked each person waiting for their morning trains and presented them with small trinkets imprinted with the SEPTA logo. Courtesy of SEPTA, station patrons enjoyed free Caffe Craze coffee and biscotti while they waited. The radio station also entertained the crowd with music and encouraged everyone to participate in games to win SEPTA t-shirts and WMMR DVD's and Cd's.

Longtime SEPTA rider Natalie Katz said, "The new station is functional and aesthetically pleasing. It's wonderful to feel appreciated. I can see that these improvements were a long-term investment."

Funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, improvements to Malvern Train Station include construction of a new pedestrian tunnel, canopies, Americans With Disabilities Accessible (ADA) ramps, 46 additional parking spaces, improved storm water drainage, new energy efficient lighting, fencing, signage and electronic revenue collection of parking fees.

Benefiting commuters and local business owners, the completed project significantly improved pedestrian safety and expanded available parking at the station.

Malvern Station is the westernmost station along SEPTA's Paoli/Thorndale Line with seven-day-a-week service. It is also home base to Dawn Lewis's specialty coffee shop, Caffe Craze. Lewis opened her business in 1997 and matched her business hours with the SEPTA ticket office located next door.

A Malvern resident herself, Lewis said she recognizes the importance of mass transit to suburban communities like hers.

At one time, Lewis planned to open several coffee shops along SEPTA's Paoli/Thorndale Line. In 1998, she opened a second coffee shop in Strafford Station. Unfortunately, an electrical fire destroyed the interior of that station in 1999. The fire also destroyed her business. Instead of re-opening the Strafford coffee shop, Lewis chose to concentrate her efforts on the Malvern Shop. As it turns out she made the right decision.

When her Malvern customers began requesting chai, she wanted to add the item to her menu. The specialty tea is a mixed blend of milk, sweeteners and spices. Instead of purchasing items to sell that were already on the market, Lewis made it herself. With input from her Malvern Station customers and some kitchen experimentation, she managed to create the specialty tea they craved. Made from natural ingredients, the liquid chai concentrate is sold in her Caffe Craze shop and to various Chester County vendors.

"Even though I had to close my business due to the construction project, I eagerly awaited its completion so that I could get back to serving the community I love so much," Lewis said. "After re-opening in December, my business is booming."

Lewis has successfully expanded her business reach while fostering a loyal band of supporters. While at the Malvern Station celebration, she seems to address everyone by name. Many commuters insisted that they pay for their cups of coffee instead of taking advantage of the free cup being offered that day.

The Malvern Station appreciation celebration shed light on more than SEPTA's recently completed improvement project, it acknowledged a close-knit-community centered around its local train station coffee shop.

SEPTA's Patricia Miller-Evans greets commuters at Malvern Station.

I SEPTA Philly signs highlight Caffe Craze and Wmmr banners as commuters holding coffee and biscotti mingle in the background.

A WMMR morning show personality reminds everyone to smile as a SEPTA train approaches Malvern Station.

Pedestrians could access both sides of Malvern Station by traveling through the tunnel shown above before improvements were completed.

A new ADA accessible ramp, pedestrian tunnel and electronic revenue collection of parking fee machines are shown above on the outbound side of the station.