Philly wants to teach retiring business owners how to sell — to their workers

At least 20 percent of the stores on the corridor are owned and operated by black people who aren’t immigrants. The only corridor that rivals it in terms of percentage of black ownership is Germantown Avenue, according to Carter. But the area around 52nd Street is gentrifying. With those changes comes the threat of losing strongholds of black wealth in the neighborhood, and it’s even more likely if owners don’t have a succession plan.

Imagining new solutions to the ‘silver tsunami’ — and the city’s deep-rooted poverty
It’s not just 52nd Street. Around the country, stakeholders — from politicians to advocates to neighborhood development managers such as Carter — have raised the alarm about the “silver tsunami”: the large number of baby boomer business owners approaching retirement. It’s especially fraught in communities of color, as experts see business ownership as a way to narrow the racial wealth gap. Out of the 900,000 businesses owned by people of color in the country in 2012, the Democracy at Work Institute (DAWI) estimates that 284,000 of them are nearing retirement and more than three-quarters of them don’t have a succession plan.

Now, a diverse team in Philly is working on a solution. It’s gearing up to teach businesses to transform into worker coops.


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