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The Great Equalizer

October 20, 2010

This is a post from our early days that was lost in our drafts – I recently edited the post and made it available to our readers:

Co-located with the local morgue in a bland building that is mis-marked on Google maps, the Philadelphia Department of Health is a marvel of modern municipal government.  Although this department is a daunting obstacle for any entrepreneur to navigate I have one observation that warms my heart when I go back there again and again for licenses, certifications and the like.  We’ve been there about six times and each time there are people of all stripes, clothing types, races, ethnicities, classes – you name it, this is a department with a diverse clientèle.

Today there was an Amish man inquiring as to where he was supposed to put a 3-basin sink on his produce stand (good question).  We also ran into our mentor/adviser who was in the process of re-opening a restaurant and was turned away because the Health Dept doesn’t accept checks anymore.  And even though the new Le Meridien Hotel opening on Broad and Arch has a full corporate real estate and management company (Starwood Hotels) operating their mega-biz they still have to send some executive in a fancy suit down to 321 S. University Ave to deal with health inspections and food safety certifications.   He had to show his own ID to get his certificate – couldn’t send his admin assistant.  I tried to make him feel at home by offering him a seat on a make believe sofa and a pretend cup of coffee.  The guy didn’t so much as smile but it felt good knowing we were both in the same boat, at least for a minute.

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