Councilwoman Cherelle Parker on Monday morning kicked off National Small Business Week with a news conference outside the New Olympia House restaurant, 7242 Castor Ave.
Parker was joined by officials of the Pennsylvania Community Development Financial Institutions Network, city commerce department director Anne Nadol, state Rep. Jared Solomon, Oxford Circle Christian Community Development Association executive director Shante Antrom, Greater Northeast Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce president Pam Henshall and local business owners Anitria Odum (4 Every Occasion Cakes & Cupcakes), Lola Ouo (RightChoice Services) and Luisa Hurtado (Magaly Spa).
Parker said there are some 22,000 small businesses in Philadelphia, “a number that is increasing every quarter,” adding that there are about 250,000 employees in those businesses.
The councilwoman said clean, well-lit commercial corridors attract more shoppers. She described the corridor on Castor Avenue as one of the best in the city.
Parker encouraged small business owners to attend Community College of Pennsylvania’s free Power Up Your Business class.
“All you have to do is sign up,” she said.
Henshall also spoke favorably of Power Up Your Business, along with Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Small Businesses program, of which she and Odum are graduates.
“It’s free education,” she said.
Henshall is proud that the Chamber has been supporting small businesses in the Northeast for 100 years.
“We’re going to be around for another hundred,” she said.
Solomon said Castor Avenue is redefining itself, praising the corridor for everything from the chicken souvlaki at the New Olympia House to all the businesses owned by Indians, Portuguese, Brazilians, Greeks and other ethnicities and nationalities.
“Castor Avenue is the nerve center of our community,” he said.
Nadol, the commerce director, said her department is available to the city’s “small but mighty businesses” year round for things like access to capital and technical assistance.
“In my mind, every week is Small Business Week,” she said.
Antrom said nonprofits like OCCCDA complement the commerce department with marketing and other programs for small business owners.
The Enterprise Center’s traveling van was parked on Castor Avenue. For more information, visit CurbsideBizServices.com. ••