Women-Owned Businesses Now Make Up 50% of This Philadelphia Business District

In a crowd, a white woman in an orange tank top spins two young girls in twirling dresses.

Women mean business on East Passyunk Avenue in South Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The East Passyunk Avenue Business Improvement District (EPABID) is a major business and culture hub in South Philly — and it has just reached the milestone of becoming 50% women-owned-and-operated

EPABID is home to over 160 independently-owned businesses — including over 50 diverse eateries — across a mile-long walkable corridor. 

Whether you’re in the area for world-famous cheesesteaks, boutique shopping, or handmade artisan goods, unique shopping and dining options are aplenty.

The equal mix of women-owned businesses is certainly a plus, and this statistic is up roughly 5% from just last year.

Why is this good news?

East Passyunk’s support of women-owned businesses depicts a significant achievement for gender equality in business and entrepreneurship. According to Motley Fool, women own 42% of all businesses in the United States as a whole. 

While women-owned businesses are on the rise, women — and Black women in particular — still lack access to necessary education, networking, and capital, making it that much harder to thrive. 

Seeing East Passyunk proud to uplift its women-owned businesses sends a message that diverse, creative entrepreneurship is not only good for gender equality and empowerment — it’s good for the local economy, too. 

“I looked around and I said ‘Wow, we really do have a lot of women who own businesses here, and the interest has not slowed down,’” the EPABID Board of Directors Chair Pam Zenzola told The Philadelphia Inquirer — back in 2018, when women-owned businesses made up just 35% of the avenue.

In honor of Women’s History Month, EPABID and nonprofit She Rocked It are hosting a panel discussion and networking event that brings together many of the area’s business owners. 

Discussions will include overcoming misconceptions about women’s business acumen, real talk about launching and sustaining a business, raising your voice in negotiations, and creating a supportive business community full of women business owners. 

Women-owned businesses on East Passyunk Avenue

These small businesses aren’t just owned by women — they’re also great for the community.

Take Urban Jungle, a plant shop and nursery hoping to bring nature to the urban environment. Co-owner Tara Alexander puts it plainly: “Plants make people happy — and we want to bring that happiness to our community in Philadelphia.” 

A newcomer to the area is the Sawubona Creativity Project, a nonprofit theater with programs that combine social emotional learning and character education with theater arts for kids and adults alike. 

Teaching artist Tanya Morgan leads the charge, creating a space that aims to “provide access to theater arts education, performance, mental well-being programs, and community resources.”

When it comes to dining, River Twice is another woman-run establishment walking the walk. The modern American restaurant builds all of its dishes around sustainable practices to the Delaware River Valley and mid-Atlantic region. 

While head chef Randy Rucker is in the kitchen, his wife, co-owner Amanda Rucker is the guiding force behind the restaurant’s sustainable design and approach, connecting to local purveyors and harvesters. 

These are only three stand-out residents on East Passyunk Avenue, but you can find the rest of the women-owned-and-operated businesses along the corridor — or online! 

They include:

  • A Novel Idea
  • A Star is Born
  • A. Criniti Realty
  • Alphabet Academy Tree House
  • Alphabet Aquarium
  • Alphabet Station
  • Amelie’s Bark Shop
  • Art of Wellness, LLC
  • August Moon
  • B2 Cafe
  • Bianca Simone
  • Big Catch Poke
  • Birds of Prey Artistry and Aesthetics
  • Black & Brew
  • Capo’s Coins & Collectibles
  • Carolyn Zinni Bridal
  • Creations by Coppola
  • Ember and Ash
  • Essen Bakery
  • Favors and Flavors
  • Frame Fatale
  • Gabriella’s Vietnam
  • Good Buy Supply
  • Ground Up Cafe & Coffee
  • Halo Hair Philly
  • Haus of Wax
  • Headhunters Hair Design
  • Heavy Metal Hair Salon
  • Hollywood Style Josie & Frank’s
  • Juana Tamale
  • Jazmin Rae & Co.
  • Kala’s Estetica Unisex
  • Kouklet Brazilian Bakehouse
  • LA Hair
  • Le Virtu
  • Lime Organic Cleaner
  • Lucidi Salon & Jewelry
  • Mamma Maria Ristorante
  • Marra’s
  • Mesh Vintage
  • Milk Jawn
  • Mockingbird Salon
  • Moon Night
  • Motherland Midwifery
  • Movement Source Pilates
  • Mr. Martino’s Trattoria
  • Mystical Life Meditation Center
  • Nice Things Handmade
  • Nicole Rae Styer Boutique
  • Noir Restaurant
  • Occasionette
  • Ocho Rios Parrilla
  • Palo Santo Wellness
  • Pasquale and Anna Scioli, Tailor
  • Primal Supply Meats Butcher Shop
  • P’unk Burger
  • Ray’s Happy Birthday Bar
  • River Twice
  • Sally’s Paw Spaw
  • Sawubona Creativity Project
  • Sermania Jewelry
  • Society Hill Dance Academy
  • South Philadelphia Chiropractic Center
  • South Philadelphia Community Acupuncture
  • Styland Beauty
  • Super Loa
  • Supreme Beauty Philly
  • The Bottle Shop
  • The Dutch
  • The Painted Lady
  • Tildie’s Toy Box
  • Today’s Nail Salon
  • Train & Nourish
  • Uprising Arts Culture
  • Urban Jungle
  • Vanilya Bakery
  • Whiplash Allure

Featured image courtesy of Melissa Moore/Moore In Focus

Article Details

March 7, 2023 3:45 PM
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