Shop ’til you drop on this Philly tour.
Jeannine Cook, owner of sister bookshops Harriett’s in Fishtown and Ida’s in Collingswood, created the Sisterhood Sit-in Trolley Tour, a two-hour shopping tour that stops riders at half a dozen businesses along the Cherry Street Pier and Baltimore Avenue.
According to The Philadelhphia Inquirer, the tour is sponsored by Harriett’s and is a celebration of Black women in business.
“Welcome,” tour guide Sequoia “Starfire” Starre said to 18 women participating in the tour on Saturday, March 4. “We are here to celebrate Black businesses, Black womanhood, Black sisterhood, and maybe learn about some places we’ve never been to before.”
“We want to bring more attention, resources, and camaraderie to Black women’s businesses,” said Minista Jazz, events coordinator for Harriet’s. “We want to continue to support these women’s businesses after the initial buzz fades away. We are trying to create a congregation, a church experience.”
Nyambi Royster, owner of Nyambi Naturals, a beauty and apothecary shop on the Cherry Street Pier, is one of the business women who riders can support during the tour. Her shop sells handmade soaps, body butters, and skincare.
“The tour brings shoppers who are intentional about supporting Black businesses,” Royster said. “At least 85% of the people who have come by have made purchases, and 20% to 25% of them come back for return business.”
The tour also stops at French Toast Bites, a food truck at the Cherry Street Piers; Booker’s Restaurant; Ceramic Concept, a boutique that sells handmade pottery; and Modest Transitions, a specialty store that sells naturally dyed yarn.
According to a 2021 article in the Harvard Business Review, Black women are the fastest-growing group of American entrepreneurs. Statistics showed 17% start businesses, compared to 10% of white women and 15% of white men. Although percentages are higher for launching businesses, only 3% of Black women business owners see a profitable or repeat customer base.
Cook launched the shopping tour in February 2022, and it returned this year with a new theme, Rebel Ride, inspired by Rosa Park’s historic act of defiance. The tours depart from Harriett’s Bookshop on Saturdays, until April 15. Tour organizers are looking to eventually expand to Germantown Avenue, Main Street in Manayunk, and South Street.