Women's History Month

15 Women-Owned Businesses to Support in Philly

From bookstores to auto shops and everything in between.

Shannon Maldonado, owner of YOWIE
Shannon Maldonado, owner of YOWIE | YOWIE
Shannon Maldonado, owner of YOWIE | YOWIE

Sure, Philly may be well known as the City of Brotherly Love, but the women who live and work here more than make the city vibrant, unique, and vital. From stellar dining to top-notch auto services, Philly is home to one-of-a-kind businesses led by fearless female entrepreneurs.

And local business owners say that feeling is mutual. “Philadelphia and its creative community have been huge supporters of YOWIE,” says Shannon Maldonado, owner of the Queen Village boutique YOWIE, which she opened in 2017. “Since our inception, we have held workshops and events to bring people together and I think many connected with us outside of our products.”

While the pandemic has dealt a considerable blow to small businesses across the board, the COVID-19 crisis has hit women-owned businesses profoundly. According to a U.S. Chamber of Commerce survey, just 47 percent of women-owned businesses felt that business was good in July, down from 60 percent before the pandemic. (That compares to 62 percent of male-owned businesses were confident in their company’s health during the pandemic.) Platforms like IFundWomen, which provides startup funding for female entrepreneurs, are helping to empower more female entrepreneurs, especially women of color, in the face of the ongoing crisis. “We have to continue to push for an equitable society that knows that women founders have a unique perspective and so much to offer,” Maldonado says.

This Women’s History Month—and all months, really—it’s important to support local female entrepreneurs. Here are a few places to start.

When Ariell Johnson first opened the doors of Amalgam in 2015, she became the first Black woman to own a comic book store on the East Coast. With a wide assortment of comics (they stock DC, Marvel, Image, Boom! Studios, and more), games, figurines, comic-related magazines, plus coffee, smoothies, and snacks, Amalgam is the ideal place to leaf through comics while sipping a bev.
How to support: Shop online and curbside ordering at the shop

Art Star

Northern Liberties

Famous for their pop-up art bazaars, Art Star features the work of working studio artists and crafters, both locally and beyond. Founders Megan Brewster and Erin Waxman adorn their charming Northern Liberties shop full of whimsical kitchen items, jewelry, art, and apparel. The local mainstay since the early 2000s, Art Star is perfect for hard-to-shop-for loved ones (and easy-to-shop-for yourself).
How to support: Shop online

Freedom Apothecary

Northern Liberties

Stocked with products from women-owned beauty and wellness lines, Freedom Apothecary, which opened their doors in 2019, was co-founded by Morrisa Jenkins and Bonkosi Horn with the mission of empowering women. With virtual skin consultations and a storefront full of all-natural face oils, balms, masks, toners, and serums, your skin will thank you.
How to support: Shop online

An auto shop owned, operated, and geared toward women, Girls Auto Clinic was founded in 2016 by Patrice Banks and offers both automotive and beauty services at their on-site beauty bar. A one-stop shop for your beauty needs while you get your oil changed, Girls Auto Clinic empowers women to learn about their cars in a supportive, non-threatening way.
How to support: Call 484-461-4693 for appointments

Since opening their doors in early 2020, Harriett’s has become a beacon during these dark times. With a focus on Black empowerment, female authors, and education, under founder Jeannine Cook’s leadership, a visit to Harriett’s ensures you’ll learn something new and discover a new favorite author in the process. 
How to support: Shop online and at the shop Thursdays through Sundays

This family-run Indonesian restaurant, founded by Ena Widjojo and now run by her daughters Diana and Maylia, has been the talk of the town since it was nominated for a James Beard Award in 2018. Open for carryout, the restaurant is known for its showstoppers like beef rendang, tempe and tofu sate, and collard greens. A new pandemic offering served in a pizza box offers a hearty, constantly-changing variety of Indonesian delicacies—just make sure you order it ahead of time. 
How to support: Order #NotPizza online (bookings open on Mondays), order carryout at the restaurant

HipCityVeg

Center City

Restaurateur Nicole Marquis’ trio of plant-based restaurants satiate all tastes, from Latin favorites (Bar Bombon) to expertly mixed cocktails (Charlie was a sinner.). Whether you’re looking for a quick wrap on the go or are looking for a seriously dreamy date night, Marquis’ spots give you options that fit all diets and tastes. 
How to support: Order online or make a reservation

Plant and People

West Philly

If you found yourself embracing the plant parent lifestyle during the pandemic, stop by this local plant shop for all of your green needs. Founded by a mother-daughter duo, Plant and People aims to be an educational hub for the benefits of plant-based healing as well as a shop for house plants, supplies and plant wellness.
How to support: Order online

Pretty Girls Cook

Olde Kensington

Don’t miss the decadent brunches of French toast, chicken and waffles, and sky-high breakfast sandwiches at this restaurant off of Girard (open only for delivery and takeout right now). The good eats don’t stop at brunch, either. Fan favorites include the salmon, salmon grilled cheese, and loaded lobster fries.
How to support: Order online

Primal Supply Meats

Multiple locations

Since 2016, Pirmal Supply Meats has been providing local, pasture-raised meats to city restaurants and in 2018, their first brick and mortar opened on East Passyunk, providing residents with a retail space for sustainable meat. Since the pandemic, founder and butcher Heather Marold Thomason has pivoted to an online sales model, making it easier than ever to shop for beef, pork, poultry, veal, lamb, and more.
How to support: Order online or at retail locations in South Philly, Fishtown, and Brewerytown

Lolita

Midtown Village

Between four restaurants—Lolita, Barbuzzo, Little Nonna’s, and Bud & Marilyn’s—a retail space, and artisanal chocolate, chef Marcie Turney and Valerie Safran’s 13th Street empire, Safran Turney Hospitality, has transformed the area. Between the can’t-miss salted caramel budino at Barbuzzo and the fried chicken at Bud & Marilyn’s, the hospitality group appeals to all moods and occasions.
How to support: Order online or make reservations

South Philly Barbacoa

Italian Market

The James Beard nominated chef Cristina Martinez made a name for herself not only as one of the premiere chefs in the city (with probably the best tacos in town) but as an immigrants’ rights activist. South Philly Barbacoa’s signature slow-cooked lamb usually sells out early, so make it a weekend morning routine to head down to the Italian Market to get your fill.
How to support: Order at the restaurant

Train & Nourish

East Passyunk

This South Philly fitness studio offers personal and small group training both IRL, virtually, and on demand as well as nutrition counseling and meal planning—plus founder Jenna Fisher provides workouts and serious inspiration on her Instagram. Regardless of where you are in your fitness journey, two-year-old Train and Nourish is designed to be a supportive place for women to train.
How to support: Book a training online

Triple Bottom Brewing, which opened in September 2019, was founded on a mission to elevate employees with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and skill sets. With a female founder and a workforce that is 50 percent people of color and 50 percent women, Triple Bottom Brewing has continued to brew throughout the pandemic, offering pickup and delivery. Try their newest, Moving Pieces, a Bohemian-style pilsner with notes of honey and spring flowers.
How to support: Order online


 

Yowie

Queen Village

Shannon Maldonado’s delightful boutique, which opened in 2017, has everything you need (and maybe didn’t know you needed): Vases, candles, prints, zines, and other aesthetic goodies to make your space pop. The cozy storefront is expertly styled and welcoming. Plus, stay tuned for the future of YOWIE: a boutique hotel with a test kitchen, a shop, and a community center.
How to support: Shop online, pickup online orders or shop at the boutique Fridays and Saturdays

Allie Volpe is a writer based in Philadelphia. She hasn't slept in days. Follow her on Twitter: @allieevolpe.
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