The Circle of Aunts & Uncles offers qualified local entrepreneurs with demonstrated need a new vehicle for accessing local lenders offering low interest loans, as well as advice, business and connections. The Circle intentionally creates trusting relationships between lenders and borrowers, in the spirit of actual aunts and uncles, enabling investors to understand the true needs of the business and provide advice and contacts.
Bright Yellow Creamery
Joined February 2018
Received a $6,000 loan to purchase a new ice cream cart and expand marketing.
Owner Steve Dorcelien crafts small-batch ice cream from scratch in Philadelphia without GMOs, high fructose corn syrup, sugar syrups, carrageenan, or artificial coloring and flavoring. All of their flavors are made from scratch starting with organic dairy from Pennsylvania grass-fed cows at Trickling Springs Creamery and include Sea Salt Honey, Cinnamon, Ginger + Lemongrass, and Java Cookies. Hire Bright Yellow Creamery to serve at private events, buy a cone at the Rittenhouse farmers’ market on Saturdays, or pick up a pint at Green Aisle Grocery.
Fason De Viv
Joined November 2015
Received two loans for equipment and inventory for the Fason De Viv boutique at 2nd & Arch Streets. (The company is now operating an online store as they look for a new location.)
Haitian-American Hanifah Samad named her store Fason De Viv, which means ‘lifestyle’ in Haitian Creole. At the time of the loans, Hanifah's store highlighted clothes that she designed and her mother made, among other fashions. Hanifah is currently rethinking her business model as a co-retail of independent designers. She operates a curated online marketplace for selling fashion, jewelry, accessories, home decor, art, and beauty products, some of which are made by the independent artists and designers she plans to include in her cooperative retail store.
Franny Lou's Porch
2400 Coral St., Philadelphia
Joined June 2016
Received $4,000 loan to purchase a blender and a small refrigerator, and to make repairs.
Blew Kind named her coffee shop in honor of Frances E.W. Harper (19th century bold abolitionist, poet, and lecturer) and Fannie Lou Hamer (20th century civil rights activist). Kind creates space for marginalized peoples voices to be heard and understood while generating a culture of humanization and community.. Franny Lou’s follows four values: relational, local, organic, and full of love. Some highlights off the menu are The Sojourner Truth Latte (vanilla mint), a Pro-Community Sandwich (veggies & hummus), and the “Slave Mother” tea (hibiscus, chamomile, indian white). Visit the website for community event updates and catering information.
1214 South St., Philadelphia
Joined October 2017
Received $5,000 loan to purchase printing equipment and fund design construction.
Entrepreneur and artist John Graves III opened Heres2CoolStuff in 2015 to provide an ever-changing selection of new, used and vintage men and women’s clothing. The store is also used to promote local artwork, host workshops and other community events such as open mic, acoustic and movie nights.
1901 S. 9th St., Philadelphia
Joined October 2017
Received $10,000 loan for a new sewing machine and photography equipment to update online store.
In a sunny fifth-floor studio in South Philly’s Bok building, owner/designer Nicole Haddad and her brother Jordan produce distinctive clothing with quality fabrics. Their “slow fashion” approach — extensive fabric research and testing, and careful design and fitting — opposes the human and environmental exploitation of industrial clothing production. Browse their online store or make an appointment for a fitting at the studio.
4905 N. 5th St., Philadelphia, PA
Joined June 2015
Received $5,000 loan for oven and bakery equipment repairs.
Philly Bread, owned by Peter Merzbacher, is a wholesale producer of artisan bagels, baguettes, buns, focaccia, and ciabatta. They bake with local rye and corn from Castle Valley Mill in Bucks County. The bakery’s beloved Philly Muffin (a square English muffin with great flavor and an open, airy texture) is a menu staple at local cafes. You can find their muffins on the shelves at local markets including MOM’s Organic Market, Weaver’s Way Co-op, Riverwards Produce, and Di Bruno Bros.
Primal Supply Meats
Joined June 2017
Received $12,000 loan to purchase a bandsaw and new shelving and to maintain funds while expanding business.
Butcher Heather Thomason sources whole, pasture-raised animals from our regional farmers to provide Philadelphia consumers with high quality humanely-raised meat. Through their subscription service, the Butcher’s Club, members pick up weekly shares; larger cuts get delivered to local restaurants like Aldine, Vetri, Bar Hygge, Fork and High Street. The two programs ensure that the whole animal gets used. Buy meats from Heather’s company Primal Meat Supply at Riverwards Produce Market in Fishtown.
Joined February 2018
Received $12,000 loan to rehab two kilns and convert studio to natural gas.
Danielle Ruttenberg and Rebecca Davies, co-owners of Remark Glass, heat and shape recycled bottles to make new usable forms like serving bowls, glasses, carafes, and light fixtures. Bring them a bottle from a special occasion (like the champagne bottle from your wedding), and they’ll give it new life as a usable keepsake. Purchase their work at Art in the Age, Bok Market, select events throughout the year, or on their website.
5019 Baltimore Ave., Philadelphia
Joined November 2016
Received $12,000 loan to overhaul cart and install electric box for the use of small appliances.
Owner Vanessa Jerolmack serves bright and flavorful food inspired by the taco carts she misses from LA — her hometown. Patrons can enjoy specialties like tinga chicken and vegan tacos, homemade chips and salsa, and simple cheese quesadillas in an outdoor dining space with picnic tables, raised beds and an area for kids to play. Open May-October.
Tim Eads Bags
3000 N. Hope St.
Joined June 2016
Received $6,000 loan to purchase two new sewing machines, an industrial iron, and materials for inventory development.
Tim Eads designs hand printed fabrics that are sewn into eye-catching bags and clutches. The company operates a no-waste facility; even unprinted scraps of fabric are saved for future use. Bold designs are printed with water-based inks that are less toxic than plastisol. You can buy his bags locally at shops like Stadler-Kahn, The Fabric Workshop Museum store and Philadelphia Independents, at stores across the U.S. (listed on his website) and through his online store.
Weckerly's Ice Cream
9 W. Girard Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19123
Joined April 2016
Received a $2,000 loan from the Aunts & Uncles and a personal $10,000 loan from an aunt to purchase equipment for their first brick and mortar ice cream shop.
Nestled in a restored textile factory among artists, craftspeople, chefs and bakers, Jen and her husband Andy Satinsky make ice cream slowly, one batch at a time. All the milk comes from the organic dairy at Camphill Village in Kimberton, PA and each flavor is inspired by the seasons and crafted with local ingredients from small farms throughout South Eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Visit their shop on Girard and find their ice cream sandwiches at locations including Mariposa Food Co-op, Green Aisle Grocery, and Rally Coffee. More locations listed on their website.
Zsa's Ice Cream
Joined April 2017
Received a $12,000 loan for labeling and packaging.
Zsa’s is owned by Danielle Jowdy, and is known for producing "Seriously from Scratch" ice cream and ice cream sandwiches using regional high-butterfat, grass-pastured dairy and house-made inclusions and baked goods. Their signature offerings include Black Magic Ice Cream (coffee ice cream with bits of chocolate cake folded in); Buttered Brown Sugar Peach Ice Cream; and Sweet Cream & Dark Chocolate Wafer Ice Cream Sandwiches. Their pints and sandwiches are distributed to local markets including Weavers Way Co-op, Swarthmore Co-op, Green Aisle Grocery, and Kimberton Whole Foods, and can be purchased directly at the Headhouse Farmers' Market from May-November.
Lil’ Pop Shop
229 S. 20th St. & 265 S. 44th St., Philadelphia
Jeanne Chang opened Lil’ Pop Shop in 2012 in West Philly. Her pops are made with high quality local ingredients; our favorite flavors include green tea mochi, goat cheese with port-soaked figs, and raspberry lime. In 2016 she opened a location in Rittenhouse and started serving pies like rosewater cherry and peanut butter chocolate caramel pretzel.
The Kitchen Garden Series
Joined February 2019.
Received a $2,170 loan for professional camera equipment and accessories including backdrop and lighting, as well as access to professional photo editing software.
Heidi Barr creates heirloom quality kitchen textiles while supporting Philadelphia's growing urban agricultural movement.
Her products are designed and made in Pennsylvania, and The Kitchen Garden Series gives 10% of the profits to two organizations growing food inside the Philadelphia city limits; Henry Got Crops & The East Park Revitalization Alliance.
The line’s signature look comes from the up-cycled men's shirts and linen that appear in their designs.
Joined February 2019.
Received a $12,000 loan for marketing using a value-aligned firm.
Alice Alexander is a size-inclusive, ethically-made women’s apparel brand led by Mary Alice Duff with a mission to empower today's woman to wear clothes that express both her style and her values.
The aesthetic is often described as print-driven, colorful, body-aware and a touch irreverent. The collection is manufactured in Philadelphia and is designed for the modern woman who wants to make a statement.