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Saving Philadelphia’s Family-Owned Eateries

By Ava Olsen

The Baldwin School '21

Lil’ Pop Shop, a small business that sells popsicles, pies, and other baked goods, closed its storefront in Rittenhouse Square on September 27th, 2020. While they continue to operate out of their location in West Philly (as well as take online orders and catering requests), this small bakery is just one of the many restaurants and eateries that had to close its doors during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As of December 2020, in Old City alone, 26 locally owned businesses shut down due to COVID-19. The number of customers also decreased from 362,563 to 85,774 this year, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.

According to the U.S. of Labor Statistics, more than 93,000 leisure and hospitality jobs were lost in Philadelphia by August 2020. In fact, the Philadelphia region’s unemployment rate was higher than that of the United States: Philadelphia’s unemployment rate in leisure and hospitality jobs was a whopping 32%, versus the 23% decrease on a national scale.

Going forward, Lil’ Pop Shop, as well as other delicatessens, hope to continue expanding their business by appearing in the Rittenhouse Farmers Market on Saturdays and Di Bruno Brothers on Chestnut Street.

However, there are still other ways customers can support small food businesses, even if their storefronts are closed. Many family-owned restaurants have turned to food delivery services and online ordering to keep bringing in revenue.

For example, Lil’ Pop Shop has a pre-order system on their website that customers can use to buy a mixed assortment of unique popsicles for pickup at their West Philly location.

If you have a favorite restaurant in Philadelphia that is “temporarily closed” for in-person dining or food service, make sure you check online to see if the business offers delivery or pickup options. Helping these mom-and-pop shops through this time of economic instability is incredibly important to not only business owners’ families, but also to supporting the financial fortitude of Philadelphia as a whole.

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