On some days, Kory Aversa’s dog, Buster Brown, can be found running through the Columbus Square dog park, 12th and Reed streets, about a mile north of his home on the 2600 block of South Sartain Street. In fact, most of the time, Aversa can be found out in the area, trying out the latest activity or grabbing a bite to eat at one of the avenue’s establishments.
Realizing his passion for local businesses, the eight-year veteran of the area opened the doors to his own company Aversa PR & Events in March, and already has garnered a list of more than 20 local clients, as well as recognition by industry professionals.
“We have to submit a couple hundred pages of documents, media clips, etc. and send it in. We’re competing against other PR people in town,” Aversa said of the recognition he garnered at last year’s Philadelphia Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America event. “But the President’s Award — the president gets to select one person based on their volunteerism work in the chapter. I didn’t know about that.”
Two weeks prior to the Dec. 4 dinner that saw him win a Pepperpot Award for his public relations work on the Logan Square viral picnic, Diner en Blanc, Aversa received a call from chapter president Blair Kahora Cardinal notifying him of her selection. Despite the heads up, Aversa was unprepared.
“Unbeknownst to me I had to give a speech, too. I’m new to the chapter and all the others had pages of quotations and examples. I didn’t bring anything,” Aversa, 39, said. “She said she recognized my work because I [expanded] the nonprofit mission of the chapter, and one of her goals was to get nonprofits more involved.”
Aversa has taken a proactive role after joining the organization in the last year, spearheading the growth of nonprofit involvement with the introduction of four events that facilitated communication and education among the its members and area nonprofits.
“We had a good first year,” he said.
In general, it was successful on all fronts for Aversa. In addition to the awards and recognition, he grew his Lower Moyamensing-headquartered public relations home-business from scratch and brought in clients that align with his own areas of interest.
“I’m really trying to keep it about the things I find interesting,” Aversa said about his clients as well as his coverage of local events on his blog, Philly Loves Fun. “I do cover clients [on my blog], but they have the coolest stuff in the city, why wouldn’t I cover them?”
The website, which officially launched around the same time he incorporated his business (though it includes previous work from an earlier blog) highlights Philadelphia events, dining and activities. Though he has received criticisms for focusing on his own stomping ground, he maintains it’s only natural.
“I cover things I know I’m going to go to personally,” he said. “South Philly has grown so much. I moved here seven or eight years ago … I didn’t know it as much as I know about it now. As a resident and homeowner, I think South Philly has exploded with so many things to do.”
Hailing from Utica, N.Y., Aversa made a pit stop in Albany, where he worked in local government, before heading further south. Pursuing an art degree at Mohawk Valley Community College, Aversa found he excelled on the public-facing side of business and switched majors, and schools, before graduating.
“I started my own nonprofit organization and brought the AIDS quilt to upstate New York,” Aversa said of his time at Utica College of Syracuse University, where he received his bachelor’s in 1996, “I was 18- or 19-years-old and I started this whole organization with offices at United Way.
“It was very controversial, bringing the AIDS quilt to upstate New York at the time. We received death threats, but it really solidified what I wanted to do. It was a big deal and really special. With a population of 30 or 40,000, we had 6,000 people come out that weekend.”
After some time working for government officials in Albany, Aversa wanted a change of scenery and secured a job in Philly — which he likens to Albany with its cobblestone streets and rich history. He quickly found he fit right in.
“I call myself a comfort foodie. I like cool, fun drinks and dessert. People who know me, and I’ve been called this before, call me the unofficial king of Philly desserts,” he said. “I’m always out eating desserts. I’ll blog about the food, but the main course is really dessert.”
Once here, Aversa spent a little more than a decade in the public-relations arm of organizations such as the Epilepsy Foundation and the Philadelphia Senior Center, before setting off on his own.
“Tiring is the first word that comes to mind,” Aversa said of running his own company. “I’m working all the time, but it’s been a very exciting first year. I have [accumulated] over 20 clients in nine months. I think it’s because I specialize in smaller businesses and some of the nonprofits.”
Among his clients are businesses that line East Passyunk Avenue, as well as some who come for a short stay, such as the trapeze school that sets up shop in Center City, and will return this April, offering classes and professional shows. This passion for his clients, it seems, has been the secret to success. To keep up with his growing client list, Aversa has decided to bring on an assistant.
“I want to expand my staff a bit and really continue on the path we set out on [in 2013]. I’ve received offers from other industries, such as fashion, where you can make a lot more money, but I don’t want to get out of my areas of expertise or outside my interest area,” Aversa said. “In reality, I’m doing exactly what I love and I want to do more of it.” ■
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