Shop. Save. Support. Locally

The iSWOP Story

“I Shop with Our People”

iSWOP, was founded in Philadelphia eight years ago in the kitchen of the Mt. Airy area home of the CEO and his wife, they were craving the best soul food in the Philly – in particular a recommended location. Results from the national search engines where less than helpful for ethnic businesses and local online directories or web presence for ethnic neighborhoods was virtually non-existent.

Where they found several locations was in their church small business directory, which is a nod to the historic Green Book, a black survival guide of lodging, restaurant and service providers catering to Black people traveling through the south during the era of Jim Crow through the 1960’s.

With limited resources, we conducted “mother-in-law” research at these churches to understand the needs of the business owner as well as the consumer who would support them. We learned that:

  • Black, brown and disenfranchised businesses were not prepared for the social media and digital/mobile evolution
  • The revitalization of neighborhood shopping districts circulating dollars within the communities they serve is extremely important To address their needs and to be more inclusive of all communities, we built two platforms to support small business success:
  • ShopPhilly1st.com is a digital directory of all Philadelphia businesses and for shoppers to know where to go if they are looking for a Black, Woman, LGBTQ, Latinx or Veteran owned business. Consumers said they see tremendous value in having all that information in one place to support communities they care about.
  • Commerce University a small business content repository designed to help businesses at all stages of formation

iSWOP, the parent company of ShopPhilly1st.com and Commerce University, can best be described by its’ motto, “Supporting Community Commerce”.