There’s No Place Like LOMA

Film Brothers Co-op is a picture-perfect example of the spirit of Wilmington’s Lower Market Street.



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The sidewalks of Wilmington’s creative business district along Lower Market Street vibrate with foot traffic, and the air resonates with music and savory scents spilling out of storefronts, especially on first Friday Art on the Town nights. It’s reliably lively on weekdays, too, in contrast to the silent street it was a few years ago, says Christian Winburn.

The transformation didn’t happen by accident, says Winburn, vice president of the urban redevelopment firm Preservation Initiatives, a group that worked with investors to revitalize LOMA. It’s the result of a deliberate plan to populate LOMA with creatives, artists and entrepreneurs who “understand that a community is more than bricks and mortar, that beautiful buildings are the stage we set to bring the actors—the innovative participants in revitalization.”

Film Brothers Co-op is the epitome of that spirit, says Mike Schwartz, owner of the Lofts at 2nd & LOMA building that houses the cooperative work-and-play space, and founder of the Mike’s Famous Harley-Davidson dealerships. Every business in the mixed residential and retail building makes a contribution, Schwartz says. But Gordon DelGiorno is a standout.

DelGiorno became a standout by negating the Hollywood filmmaker stereotype rather than conforming to it. Far from a prima donna or a ruthless climber, the Wilmington producer and event promoter is a passionate advocate for the hometown he loves and a workhorse for connecting people, says Ken Grant, director of sales and marketing at Analtech Inc. in Newark.

That kind of partner is valuable to have at the table, says Rich Neumann, the city of Wilmington’s communications director and local Fringe Festival co-founder and director.

“The film co-op could have been just another occupant, but it’s not,” Neumann says, adding that DelGiorno’s got a knack for seeing opportunities. For example, Neumann says, providing space for monthly Fringe Unhinged performances during the popular Art on the Town first Fridays raises the visibility of LOMA’s profile while it raises participation in the art loop and the grass roots Fringe.

That’s good for everyone, says Tina Betz, Wilmington Cultural Affairs and Fund Development director.

“People gravitate to places where others are having a good time,” Betz says. “Raising interest in LOMA raises interest in the entire downtown.”

Film Brothers got its start more than a decade ago with “Franks and Wieners,” a script that Gordon and Greg DelGiorno wrote in fits and starts over two years. Today, Film Brothers has morphed into a company that excels at event promotion, independent films, sales, marketing and video production, and its roomy visual media workspace doubles as a hub for community events. 

Positioned between Wilmington’s Riverfront entertainment center and Rodney Square’s corporate district, LOMA is at the center of Wilmington’s rebirth. And Gordon DelGiorno has been in the middle of it all figuratively, too.

Take the Wilmington parking meter situation. Officials and business owners have successfully worked together to improve signage that once contained ambiguous messages that contributed to confusion, frustration and excessive fines. It’s a great example of what happens when stakeholders work together, he says. But when the issue was brewing back in October 2011, no one could be certain it would turn out so well.

Grant, DelGiorno and others brought the issue to the fore with some tongue-in-cheek videos that got a lot of play. DelGiorno also asked his 5,000 Facebook friends about their parking tickets, and the conversation “lit up like you wouldn’t believe,” says DelGiorno. While it may have seemed inflammatory to some, it was productive to get people talking out in the open.

“It’s like this: Most people won’t tell you your hamburger stank, they just won’t come to your restaurant anymore,” he says. “But they will whisper it to all their friends, and then they won’t come in either.”

Ultimately, raising awareness of the parking issue was the right thing to do for the city, says Grant, even though it was personally risky for DelGiorno.

“I live in Newark so I didn’t have a lot of skin in the game,” Grant says. “For Gordon, this was everything. He lives in the city. His business is in the city. He knew his reputation was on the line.”

That kind of action for positive change is typical for DelGiorno, says Carrie Gray, managing director of Wilmington Renaissance Corporation, which exists to increase downtown’s economy, activity and reputation.

“He’s not going to let people sit on the sidelines for long,” Gray says. “Everyone should take that kind of personal investment in the city.”

DelGiorno says he’s nothing special, just a guy who works hard.

He’s the kind of guy who cooks up a dozen zany business ideas before lunch, says his brother, Greg DelGiorno. More telling: He’ll set up a four-course Greek dinner event for Steve’s Deli across the street and pack the dining area with 45 guests, just because the shop owners mention that they enjoy cooking their native food.

To DelGiorno, it’s a no-brainer. “They’ve been on Market Street for a long time, they’re still passionate about cooking, and they’ve got a lot of fight left. That’s the kind of thing that this block needs.”

He’s the kind of guy you can count on in a pinch, Betz says. “If he says he’ll sell out Theatre N’s 221 seats, he will.”

To DelGiorno, it’s no sweat. “It gets me juiced to get a few hundred people into Wilmington to experience unique stuff like our Festival of Shorts.”

The kind who’s got more than 8,000 contacts. More telling: He pretty much knows them all, and regularly dials them up one by one to make personal invitations to events he promotes.

To DelGiorno, it’s just common sense. “Everyone wants a quick, easy way, but there is none. The ones who show up are the ones who get the worm,” he says. “I get on the phone. I write people. I don’t use an intern or HootSuite to automate social media. I do it in myself in real time.”

Comparing DelGiorno’s tenacious team spirit to the former Philadelphia Eagles safety and renowned locker room leader Brian Dawkins, Schwartz says that the Lofts of 2nd & LOMA – and all of Wilmington – got more than it bargained for when DelGiorno became one of his first tenants in the now filled-to-capacity 86-residential, 26-business units mixed-use building.

If people think Wilmington has gotten a lot of mileage out of DelGiorno, he says he’s been able to contribute because they’ve helped him.

“This place gives Film Brothers a face, and they cut me a sweet deal here early on to help revitalize LOMA,” DelGiorno says. “So I try to over-deliver.”

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February 2018

A winter warm up of colorful, vibrant paintings. Marlene Dubin - bold mixed media abstracts; Elaine Lisle - regional landscapes in oil; Mary Ann Weselyk – whimsical animals and still life...

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Sponsor: Rehoboth Beach Film Society
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Cost: $10-$15

Where:
Wilmington Drama League
10 West Lea Blvd.
Wilmington, DE  19802
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Cost: Free

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Mezzanine Gallery
Carvel State Office Building, 2nd Floor
820 N. French St.
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Sponsor: Delaware Division of the Arts
Telephone: 302-577-8278
Contact Name: Roxanne Stanulis
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A winter warm up of colorful, vibrant paintings. Marlene Dubin - bold mixed media abstracts; Elaine Lisle - regional landscapes in oil; Mary Ann Weselyk – whimsical animals and still life...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
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Cost: $15 adults; $10 UD faculty/staff/alumni & seniors; $5 students

Where:
Gore Recital Hall
110 Orchard Rd
Newark, DE  19716
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Sponsor: University of Delaware Department of Music
Telephone: 130-283-12578
Contact Name: Megan Everhart
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Cost: Free

Where:
Mezzanine Gallery
Carvel State Office Building, 2nd Floor
820 N. French St.
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Sponsor: Delaware Division of the Arts
Telephone: 302-577-8278
Contact Name: Roxanne Stanulis
Website »

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A winter warm up of colorful, vibrant paintings. Marlene Dubin - bold mixed media abstracts; Elaine Lisle - regional landscapes in oil; Mary Ann Weselyk – whimsical animals and still life...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
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View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
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Cost: Call for cost.

Where:
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801 Middleford Road
Seaford, DE  19973
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Telephone: 302-629-6611 x2288
Contact Name: Nanticoke's Diabetes Education Department
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Cost: Varies

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"What the water said…Flowers, Places, & Faces," an exhibition of watercolor paintings by Hugh Phibbs, will be on view in the Mezzanine Gallery from February 2-23, 2018. A free...

Cost: Free

Where:
Mezzanine Gallery
Carvel State Office Building, 2nd Floor
820 N. French St.
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Sponsor: Delaware Division of the Arts
Telephone: 302-577-8278
Contact Name: Roxanne Stanulis
Website »

More information

A winter warm up of colorful, vibrant paintings. Marlene Dubin - bold mixed media abstracts; Elaine Lisle - regional landscapes in oil; Mary Ann Weselyk – whimsical animals and still life...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
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View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

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301 Commonwealth Avenue
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1810 N. Dupont Street
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Cost: Free

Where:
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Newark
420 Willa Road
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"What the water said…Flowers, Places, & Faces," an exhibition of watercolor paintings by Hugh Phibbs, will be on view in the Mezzanine Gallery from February 2-23, 2018. A free...

Cost: Free

Where:
Mezzanine Gallery
Carvel State Office Building, 2nd Floor
820 N. French St.
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Sponsor: Delaware Division of the Arts
Telephone: 302-577-8278
Contact Name: Roxanne Stanulis
Website »

More information

A winter warm up of colorful, vibrant paintings. Marlene Dubin - bold mixed media abstracts; Elaine Lisle - regional landscapes in oil; Mary Ann Weselyk – whimsical animals and still life...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

This community-curated exhibition brings together three painters—Alan Soffer, Brian Dickerson, and Moe Brooker—who are attuned to harmonies and contrasts in abstract forms. Each artist...

Cost: Free with Museum admission

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »


Website »

More information

By Simon Stephens (playwright of "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time") Directed by Matt Pfeiffer REGIONAL PREMIERE! Amidst the bustle of a crowded London train...

Cost: Varies

Where:
Delaware Theatre Company
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STAR Health Sciences Complex
540 S. College Ave
Newark, DE  19713
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Cost: $20 members; $30 non-members

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Delaware Center for Horticulture
1810 N. Dupont Street
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Sponsor: Delaware Center for Horticulture
Telephone: (302) 658-6262
Contact Name: Mackenzie Knight-Fochs
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Tickets are $15 adults; $10 UD faculty/staff/alumni & seniors; $5 students. Tickets are available at the door. Cash or check only.

Cost: $15 adults; $10 UD faculty/staff/alumni & seniors; $5 students

Where:
Gore Recital Hall
110 Orchard Rd
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View map »


Sponsor: University of Delaware Department of Music
Telephone: 130-283-12578
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"What the water said…Flowers, Places, & Faces," an exhibition of watercolor paintings by Hugh Phibbs, will be on view in the Mezzanine Gallery from February 2-23, 2018. A free...

Cost: Free

Where:
Mezzanine Gallery
Carvel State Office Building, 2nd Floor
820 N. French St.
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Sponsor: Delaware Division of the Arts
Telephone: 302-577-8278
Contact Name: Roxanne Stanulis
Website »

More information

A winter warm up of colorful, vibrant paintings. Marlene Dubin - bold mixed media abstracts; Elaine Lisle - regional landscapes in oil; Mary Ann Weselyk – whimsical animals and still life...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

The area’s largest sale of gently used books has been scheduled by the Wilmington branch of the American Association of University Women. The 49th annual Dollars for Scholars Used Book Sale, to...

Cost: free

Where:
Concord Mall
4737 Concord Pike
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Sponsor: American Association of University Women
Telephone: 302-428-0939

More information

This community-curated exhibition brings together three painters—Alan Soffer, Brian Dickerson, and Moe Brooker—who are attuned to harmonies and contrasts in abstract forms. Each artist...

Cost: Free with Museum admission

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
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View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: Free to Members, $5 per child and one adult free for Non-Members

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
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View map »

More information

By Simon Stephens (playwright of "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time") Directed by Matt Pfeiffer REGIONAL PREMIERE! Amidst the bustle of a crowded London train...

Cost: Varies

Where:
Delaware Theatre Company
200 Water Street
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More information

Meeting every Friday, Bayhealth Kent General Hospital, 640 s. State Street, Dover, 7:30 pm., Private Dining Room #3 in the basement. For those who have, or think they may have a gambling problem....

Cost: 0.00

Where:
Bayhealth Kent General Hospital
640 S. State Street
Private Dining Room #3
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View map »


Telephone: 800-855-2CALLGA
Website »

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Show More...
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A winter warm up of colorful, vibrant paintings. Marlene Dubin - bold mixed media abstracts; Elaine Lisle - regional landscapes in oil; Mary Ann Weselyk – whimsical animals and still life...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

The area’s largest sale of gently used books has been scheduled by the Wilmington branch of the American Association of University Women. The 49th annual Dollars for Scholars Used Book Sale, to...

Cost: free

Where:
Concord Mall
4737 Concord Pike
North Wilmington, DE  19803
View map »


Sponsor: American Association of University Women
Telephone: 302-428-0939

More information

This community-curated exhibition brings together three painters—Alan Soffer, Brian Dickerson, and Moe Brooker—who are attuned to harmonies and contrasts in abstract forms. Each artist...

Cost: Free with Museum admission

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Gore Recital Hall
110 Orchard Rd
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Sponsor: University of Delaware Department of Music
Telephone: 130-283-12578
Contact Name: Megan Everhart
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free; donations accepted

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: Varies

Where:
Delaware Theatre Company
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Where:
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200 Hagley Creek Road
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Telephone: 302-658-2400
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Cost: *VIP $125.00; *Silver Mirror Ball $50.00

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Sponsor: Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition
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Cost: 0 - $20

Where:
Newark United Methodist Church
69 E. Main St.
Newark, DE  19711
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