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