Walking tour of Reading celebrates Small Business Week

Cris Collingwood//May 2, 2022

Walking tour of Reading celebrates Small Business Week

Cris Collingwood//May 2, 2022

Celebrating Small Business Week, Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) Acting Secretary Neil Weaver toured downtown Reading today to highlight the importance of small businesses in the commonwealth. 

Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) Acting Secretary Neil Weaver PHOTO/PROVIDED –

The celebration is taking place May 1-7, as proclaimed by Governor Tom Wolf and Weaver encouraged Pennsylvanians to support their favorite local shops.  

“The commonwealth is home to more than one million small businesses that employ about 2.5 million workers, and we are celebrating them during this special week,” Weaver said. 

 “I encourage every Pennsylvanian to take Small Business Week as an opportunity to support their favorite local businesses by visiting, shopping online, providing positive online reviews and recommendations, and tagging them on social media,” he said. “Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, so let’s do all that we can to support them this week, and every week.”  

The tour celebrated the diversity and impact of small businesses on Pennsylvania’s economy and communities. Weaver outlined them as: 

  •  39.4 percent of small business owners are women  
  • 16.6 percent are racial minorities  
  • 4.2 percent are Hispanic/Latino  
  • 6.3 percent are veterans  
  • 13,690, or 88.2 percent, of Pennsylvania firms that exported goods in 2019 were small businesses – and small firms exported goods worth $12.5 billion  
  • For every $100 spent at a small business, $48 goes back into the local economy in which the business is located  

 Weaver was joined by Mayor Eddie Moran and others on the walking tour that highlighted:   

  • New Heightz Grocery Store – a bodega  
  • The Great American Creamery – a micro creamery that makes soft serve and hand-dipped ice cream cones, sundaes, milkshakes and specialty frozen desserts  
  • La Casa Del Chimi Restaurant – a Latin American restaurant  
  • Juice Bar – a maker of healthy juices, smoothies, and bowls  
  • American Barber and Beauty Academy – a beauty school that develops leading industry professionals  

“Undoubtedly, we have a history of entrepreneurial excellence that has long lived in our city for decades. Small businesses allow our economy to progress — they are the heart and soul of our community,” Moran said, adding he is proud of the city’s small businesses. Their diversity, creativity, and resilience are remarkable, he said. 

Moises Abreu, owner of New Heightz Grocery Store said being a business owner for the last nine years in the City of Reading has taught him a lot about himself. “It has developed a hidden gift from within me, which has been the compassion of the community. The success in my business is due to the community. So, when the question comes up of why I chose Reading to open up my business, I say Reading chose me!”  

“We live here, work here, and play here,” said Lucine Sihelnik, owner, Great American Creamery. “We know that Reading is Ready – Reading is ready for entrepreneurs & investors; Reading is ready to host visitors for world-class entertainment; Reading is ready for a larger, more diverse workforce and industry; Reading is ready to grow into its role as the fourth largest city in the commonwealth.”  

In addition to Reading, DCED will be visiting local businesses in several cities across the commonwealth as part of Small Business Week: Philadelphia (May 2); Bedford (May 3); Scranton (May 4); Erie (May 5); and Zelienople (May 6).