Walking into Trolley Car Diner in Philadelphia is like traveling back in time to a period when poodle skirts were all the rage and Elvis was king. Despite the diner’s 1950s décor, its owner, Ken Weinstein, is dealing with a very present-day issue: access to healthcare for his employees.
Fifteen years ago, Andrea Deutsch decided to leave her position at a Philadelphia law practice to pursue her dreams of become a small business owner. She opened up a shop in the small town of Narberth, PA called Spot’s—The Place for Paws, where she sells healthy food, treats, toys, and accessories for dogs and cats. Despite starting a new life, this former attorney could not completely sever her ties from the Philadelphia Bar Association. That’s because before the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), they provided her only health insurance option because of her Type 1 diabetes.
I’m a small business owner, and I’m also a new dad. These identities give me insight into a topic that's been front and center lately: paid family and medical leave. It’s considered common sense that new parents are in favor of paid leave, as we want to spend time with our children and understand that others parents do as well. But what most people don’t realize is that a majority of small business owners support paid leave as well. I have nine employees on my team, and it’s important for me to maintain a strong workforce.
The mission of the Global Business Development Center (GBDC), a program of the Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians, is to be a leading resource and catalyst for commercial corridor revitalization, community integration and accelerating the growth of immigrant entrepreneurship by providing immigrant entrepreneurs with business support services to encourage the entrepreneurial development of new ventures and supporting existing small business ventures to reach the next level of business development.
It only took a six-minute drive home from a friend’s house for Andrea Deutsch to arrive at a business concept that would make the one-time lawyer into the proud owner of a pet store that’s equal parts Whole Foods and L.L. Bean.
In other words, Pennsylvania’s pampered pet utopia.
“Spot’s – The Place for Paws” is Deutsch’s six-minute epiphany come to life; still the cat’s meow after 11 years in business in Narberth, PA.