By Jabari Jones

From cafes and coffee shops, fine dining to fine jewelry, from vintage clothing to vintage records, one place has an extremely diverse array of businesses.  It’s not a mall in Bala Cynwyd or in famed King of Prussia, its right here in West Philadelphia.

I have had the pleasure of going into and speaking with business owners of over 500 businesses in West Philly; in all five of the major commercial corridors.  The number of different businesses were staggering.

No matter who you are or what you’re looking for, you can find it right here in West Philly.  Need an exterminator? Try Dynamite Pest Control, the oldest business on 52nd Street that has been serving this community for two consecutive generations.  How about office supplies for your business? Look into Supra Office Solutions on Parkside Avenue.  Are you a student who needs a quiet place to study with free Wi-Fi?  Study at Reed’s Café at 38th and Lancaster Avenue, get a cup of coffee and try their delicious red velvet muffins.

From the experiences of talking to all these business owners and visiting their businesses, I’ve come to love two things specifically about small business in Philly.  One is all the attention I get from various business owners that have come to know me and two, that these places are right around the corner.  There’s no hour drive out of the city or commute downtown.  These business owners live right here in the community, hiring others that live here and creating jobs.  They represent the community on various Boards and committees throughout the city, from the Universities to City Hall.  They raise and talk about the important issues.

So as you are considering your holiday shopping and determining where you’ll be shopping this New Year, consider the small business right around the corner before making that long commute downtown or out of the city.