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Through a new funding grant from Wells Fargo, the Enterprise Center will help 52nd St entrepreneurs improve their businesses. Photo: Jensen Toussaint/AL DÍA News.
Through a new funding grant from Wells Fargo, the Enterprise Center will help 52nd St entrepreneurs improve their businesses. Photo: Jensen Toussaint/AL DÍA News.

Wells Fargo announces $250,000 grant to revitalize the 52nd Street business corridor

The funding will aid The Enterprise Center, and is a continuation of Wells Fargo’s pledge to support small businesses in a variety of ways.

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The 52nd Street business corridor in West Philadelphia will be receiving an extra boost!

On Monday, June 13, Wells Fargo announced that it will provide $250,000 in funding to The Enterprise Center to support revitalization efforts along the 52nd Street business corridor ahead of the Juneteenth Festival on Sunday, June 19. 

This effort is a continuation of Wells Fargo’s HOPE, USA initiative — dubbed HOPE 2.0 — which is a pledge of more than $1 million to support small businesses that was originally announced in late 2021.

Wells Fargo has pledged $1 million in support of small businesses in the region. Photo: Jensen Toussaint/AL DÍA News.
Wells Fargo has pledged $1 million in support of small businesses in the region. Photo: Jensen Toussaint/AL DÍA News.

“The goal is two-fold,” said Stephen Briggs, vice president of social impact and sustainability at Wells Fargo. “To create a brighter, more inviting and more festive place to do business, and to continue fostering an inclusive recovery and to help strengthen the small business sector here in Philadelphia for the long term.” 

Councilmember Jamie Gauthier noted that The Enterprise Center has been a critical partner in keeping West Philadelphia’s diverse-owned businesses successful.

“Small businesses are the lifeblood of our community,” said Gauthier.

Born and raised in West Philadelphia, Councilmember Jamie Gauthier advocates for the area and its constituents. Photo: Jensen Toussaint/AL DÍA News.
Born and raised in West Philadelphia, Councilmember Jamie Gauthier advocates for the area and its constituents. Photo: Jensen Toussaint/AL DÍA News. 

The 52nd Street corridor, in particular, has been a pillar for the region’s Black and other diverse business owners of color, which has been heavily impacted by the pandemic.

“That’s why we need to be doing everything we can to bolster and support our small businesses,” she added. 

Lakita Scott is one of business owners on 52nd Street, and has been owner of Cotton’s Place since 2013. The business, formerly known as Family Variety & Deli has been on that corridor since 1991, and was founded by her late father, Terry “Cotton” Scott. 

Cotton’s Place is one of the businesses that will be benefitted by the new Wells Fargo funding with The Enterprise Center. 

“I'm just grateful that I was chosen… because a lot of people don't get this opportunity,” Scott said to AL DÍA.

She noted that due to the pandemic, her business had to shut down for nearly two months. Therefore, she had to come up with a game plan, relying on delivery platforms like DoorDash and UberEats. 

While it was very challenging to navigate through the pandemic, she made a promise to her late father that she would take care of her mother and brother, and not let the business fail. 

Lakita Scott is the owner of Cotton's Place, which has been a staple on 52nd Street since 1991. Photo: Jensen Toussaint/AL DÍA News.
Lakita Scott is the owner of Cotton's Place, which has been a staple on 52nd Street since 1991. Photo: Jensen Toussaint/AL DÍA News.

Through hard work and determination, she was able to keep things running and with this new funding can use it to continue pushing the business forward in a positive direction. 

“I’m super excited about this,” Scott told AL DÍA. “This will definitely give us a nice facelift and curb appeal… I can actually go with my plan to sit little tables outside. If people come to order food, they can sit outside and wait, take in the scenery and enjoy the view.”

The new funding will help a number of businesses along the 300 block of 52nd Street make improvements and street enhancements within its commercial corridors, which includes new signage, gates and doors, awnings, power washing, graffiti removal, sidewalk repairs, street cleaning and more.

“The commitment has to be 100%. It’s not just about providing the resources, but we have to demonstrate that we're also looking to support these businesses and ultimately support these communities,” said Timothy Roundtree, Enterprise Center vice president. 

The Enterprise Center works with businesses, residents, property owners and more to revitalize the 52nd Street corridor. Photo: Jensen Toussaint/AL DÍA News.
The Enterprise Center works with businesses, residents, property owners and more to revitalize the 52nd Street corridor. Photo: Jensen Toussaint/AL DÍA News.

For Wells Fargo, the goal is to continue providing these investments for these diverse businesses on 52nd Street, and other business corridors across the region. 

“We know that our initial funding is not nearly enough to address some of the challenges, but we hope that with our investment, it will spur additional resources being brought to the corridor so we can see the vibrancy brought back,” Briggs told AL DÍA.

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