Businesswomen in the River Wards

In cel­eb­ra­tion of March as Wo­men’s His­tory Month, and March 8 as In­ter­na­tion­al Wo­men’s Day, we present in this spe­cial ad­vert­ising sec­tion just a few of the hard-work­ing wo­men who own or op­er­ate loc­al res­taur­ants, schools or oth­er busi­nesses in your neigh­bor­hoods. See our im­age gal­lery at right for pho­tos.

Kath­leen Treude-Vaughan, own­er of Fishtown Jew­el­ers, 1617 Frank­ford Ave., (215) 634-3277.
When Kath­leen Treude-Vaughan pur­chased Fishtown Jew­el­ers eight years ago, she said it was be­cause she loved the area — plus, she lives there.

“I love this chan­ging neigh­bor­hood,” she said of Fishtown, “I like the feel.” 

Treude-Vaughan said the world of jew­elry is largely a man’s busi­ness, but wo­men bring a needed “something dif­fer­ent” to the con­ver­sa­tion.

“I’m con­stantly talk­ing wo­man-to-wo­man,” she said. “I love every day, work­ing for my­self. I think it’s great, the strength that comes with it.”

She said Fishtown Jew­el­ers does many es­tate sales of vin­tage-style jew­elry and jew­elry re­pairs, and loc­als know of the busi­ness largely through word-of-mouth.

She thinks “that little bit of ex­tra, that present­a­tion,” is im­port­ant for her jew­elry busi­ness, and she’s very proud of what she’s es­tab­lished in the neigh­bor­hood.

“No mat­ter if I make it or don’t make it, I’m so glad I did it, that I took the chal­lenge,” she said. ••

Soph­ie Za­lewski, own­er of Donna’s Bar, 2732 E. Al­legheny Ave., (215) 426-7618.
Soph­ie Za­lewski said she be­lieves strong wo­men build strong wo­men, and she should know.

“My moth­er made me who I am,” she said as she sat in­side Donna’s Bar, which was once owned and op­er­ated by her moth­er.

Soph­ie bought the bar in 1995 and made it her own.

“This is a small neigh­bor­hood bar,” she said, “But I worked for it.”

Za­lewski said she feel’s she’s earned the re­spect of her cus­tom­ers and is proud of the busi­ness she’s cre­ated, which is favored among loc­als and boasts what many say are the best piero­gies in town. 

Za­lewski uses some of the re­cipes her moth­er taught her, but she’s also ad­ded her own things to the menu.

One day, she said, she might open her own res­taur­ant in­de­pend­ent from the bar.

For now, she said, she tries to make the bar a fun place to be — the walls are dec­or­ated with dozens of pic­tures of people singing and dan­cing at the bar’s Fri­day night karaoke parties. Of the crowd at Donna’s, Za­lewski said, “They feel like it’s a fam­ily.” ••

Jane Lock­hart, prin­cip­al of Moth­er of Di­vine Grace School, 2612 E. Mon­mouth St., (215) 426-7325.
Jane Lock­hart began her ca­reer at the Port Rich­mond Cath­ol­ic school in a truly unique way — her first day at MDG was Septem­ber 11, 2001, and she was the young­est prin­cip­al in the dio­cese when she was first hired at age 31.

And for someone who said she nev­er saw her­self as a prin­cip­al, she’s worked hard since that very first whirl­wind day to be­come the best she can be.

Now on her 20th year in edu­ca­tion, she said the best part is see­ing “her kids” grow up to be pro­duct­ive mem­bers of the com­munity.

“They’re al­ways my kids,” she said. “My days with them are nev­er the same, nev­er bor­ing.”

She said she also works with an “awe­some” staff. “I wouldn’t be the edu­cat­or I am if it wasn’t for them,” she said.

Next for MDG, she said, she’d love to see a com­puter on the desk of every child. Tear­ing up, Lock­hart said she would love to stay at MDG forever.

“I couldn’t ima­gine my life do­ing any­thing else,” she said. “I al­ways say we’re fam­ily. The kids keep me young.” ••

Colleen Mc­Cul­lough-Trout, co-own­er of M.D. Roof­ing & Sid­ing, 3013 Liv­ing­ston St., (215) 423-8425.
A lifelong res­id­ent of Port Rich­mond, Colleen Mc­Cul­lough-Trout gets to keep her busi­ness in the fam­ily — she works along­side her fath­er at M.D. Roof­ing & Sid­ing, a cer­ti­fied wo­men’s busi­ness en­ter­prise.

Mc­Cul­lough-Trout start­ing work­ing at the busi­ness in high school, and even­tu­ally de­cided to stick with it.

“I’m def­in­itely in a unique po­s­i­tion, own­ing a con­struc­tion busi­ness,” she said. “Every day is a chal­lenge, but it’s al­ways fun.”

Mc­Cul­lough-Trout said she was ini­tially a bit hes­it­ant about tak­ing the lead po­s­i­tion in a busi­ness that’s part of a male-dom­in­ated in­dustry, but now, she “feels as though I’m ac­tu­ally pretty ac­cep­ted as a wo­man.”

She said she’s most proud of the fact that M.D. Roof­ing and Sid­ing has made it through some of the eco­nom­ic hard­ships oth­er sim­il­ar busi­ness have not.

“Things were hard for awhile, but we’re see­ing the light at the end of the tun­nel,” she said. “I set goals, and I hit them.” To set up an ap­point­ment, call the shop and leave a mes­sage. ••

Irena Smolij, own­er of Cas­bah Cater­ers, 3461-65 E. Thompson St., (215) 425-0163.
When Pol­ish im­mig­rant Irena Smolij pur­chased the build­ing that’s now Cas­bah Cater­ers al­most 33 years ago, she said the biggest chal­lenge was that she was a wo­man, and people didn’t be­lieve she would suc­ceed.

“It was de­press­ing,” she said. Now, though, dec­ades later, she’s shown them — she owns prop­er­ties around the city, and has suc­cess­fully man­aged along with her fam­ily mem­bers the Port Rich­mond ca­ter­ing busi­ness.

“I al­ways had a busi­ness sense,” she said. “I love talk­ing to people.” She said her fa­vor­ite events are wed­dings.

“I don’t know how many wed­dings, but I al­ways cry,” she said with a laugh.

Smolij said she hasn’t raised her prices in 10 years, which is a chal­lenge, but it’s worth it to keep her cus­tom­ers happy.

“I love it even when they come in to talk and book the party,” she said. Cas­bah caters for all oc­ca­sions, and Smolij her­self still cooks for events and keeps busy help­ing guests get the most from their cel­eb­ra­tions.

“I’ll be 70,” Smolij said, “And I don’t want to re­tire.” ••

Cathy Craven, own­er of Jim’s Meat Mar­ket, 2329 E. Clear­field St., (215) 634-2646.
Born and raised in Port Rich­mond, Cathy Craven al­ways en­joyed the qual­ity meats offered at Jim’s — so much so that she said that’s ex­actly why she bought the mar­ket al­most 10 years ago when it was up for sale by pre­vi­ous own­er Jim Den­nings.

“He made me an of­fer I couldn’t re­fuse,” Craven said of Den­nings, who still works many hours at the mar­ket, even in his re­tire­ment.

Craven said she knows lots of fel­low wo­men in busi­ness in the neigh­bor­hood, and strives to stay com­pet­it­ive.

She knows the res­taur­ant world, too — she and her broth­er were part­ners in own­ing Johnny B’s Place on Al­legheny Av­en­ue.

Craven said she’s still ded­ic­ated to of­fer­ing qual­ity meats along with oth­er gro­cery items, be­cause she’s used to the qual­ity offered at Jim’s.

“Our motto is ‘enter as strangers, leave as friends,’” she said. “I cher­ish the cus­tom­ers I have,” she said. “They’re good to me.” ••

Mindi Mar­tina, own­er of  G-Team Rach­ing Mo­tor­cycles, 2645 Bel­grade St., (215) 739-5847.
G-Team Ra­cing, still known some­times as Gino’s Cycles, has been in busi­ness since 1947. In the so-called “boys club” of mo­tor­cycles, Mindy Mar­tina pur­chased the shop in 2004 from Gene “Gino” Kradz­in­ski (who is still act­ive in the shop), and said she was em­braced in the cycle world with open arms.

Mar­tina said she gets calls where the caller will ask to speak to the own­er, and will be taken by sur­prise when her voice as­sures them, “You can talk to me, I’m the own­er.”

She said she even heard from a cus­tom­er that she’d been known by a not-so-nice name around the cycle world. Does it both­er her? Not for a second.

“It makes me feel that al­though it is wo­man-owned, I’m not some frail little thing, I’m the tough mo­tor­cycle girl.”

Don’t get it twis­ted, though — Mar­tina is noth­ing but kind and sup­port­ive of her com­munity.

G-Team is work­ing on part­ner­ing with the Port­side Arts Cen­ter for a mo­tor­cycle train­ing course, and has ment­or­ing pro­grams for two El Centro High School stu­dents in­ter­ested in the tech­nic­al side of the busi­ness.

Mar­tina said she’s most proud of se­cur­ing G-Team as an au­thor­ized deal­er and ser­vice cen­ter for GoPed,Ve­l­orex­USA and BAJA Mo­tor­s­ports. Vis­it gino­s­ and check out the links to the shop’s Face­book and Twit­ter pages. ••

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