Philadelphia has enjoyed some serious spotlight this last year. From the Pope's visit last fall, to this summer's Democratic National Convention -- and continuing even now, as both presidential candidates vie for Pennsylvania voters -- Philly's all over the news.

Seems a good time to check: Any gaps in the city's media narrative? What do we, as Philadelphians, want our story to be?

On September 1st, we gathered for our monthly City Lobby series to ask this question. 

Not surprisingly, many guests emphasized the city's deeply-rooted spirit of cooperation and camaraderie. “That’s one thing I love about Philadelphia," said guest Katie Monroe, "its openness and accessibility." 

Here are some other things we heard:

“It’s exciting to be in Philly. You come here and want to make things happen, but you can’t do anything alone. So you find people with the same interest. You find someone with a similar problem, and work together, and then both of your businesses succeed. All of the work I’ve done since I’ve gotten here has been surrounding that.”

--Heather Marold Thomason, Primal Meat Supply and EatRetreat

“One of Philadelphia’s greatest jewels and tools is its independent artists and underground arts scene. I think every time we talk about anything that we’re doing in any of these creative outlets -- the strength of Philly, honestly, is building off of effort and stability before we personally came into that space. And we need to keep that energy going. That’s what inspired me, because I’m not originally from here.” 

--Erica Hawthorne-Manson, Small But Mighty Arts

“If you have a good product, whether it be the guys who opened up the bagel shop in Fishtown, or a food cart somewhere, people come. Philadelphians come out and support you. So if you’re an entrepreneur, this is the city to come to.” 

--Avram Hornick, FCM Hospitality

“I think [accessibility and collaboration] has to do with our Quaker roots system. There’s more collaborative action and community here. It’s one of the reasons Philadelphia isn’t a showy city. It’s literally the city of brotherly love and sisterly affection.”

--Heather Blakeslee, Red Flag Media

“There is an openness and an ability to speak to people on a grassroots level.” 

--Michelle Nelson, Grey Dolphin

“Accessibility is what makes Philly great. Encourage people to show that to others, and lead the way for everybody else to follow, whether that’s in big ways or small ways." 

--Heather Marold Thomason, Primal Meat Supply and EatRetreat

And one of our favorites:

“When I moved to Philly, I lived on 52nd Street and my neighbors told me, ‘Look, we sit on the porch here. We talk to each other.' So I think the personality of Philadelphia is, when coming into spaces, honoring what existed there."

--Erica Hawthorne-Manson, Small But Mighty Arts


Does this reflect your Philadelphia experience? What do you want the world to know about Philly? 

Help us shape and share the story using hashtag #PhillyStory


Special thanks to Leah McGlone for reporting.


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