Who is Jeff Brown?

The affable, community-minded grocery store magnate has thrown his hat into the race for Mayor of Philadelphia. Here’s what you need to know about him.

Who is Jeff Brown?

The affable, community-minded grocery store magnate has thrown his hat into the race for Mayor of Philadelphia. Here’s what you need to know about him.

Jeff Brown is the first non-elected official to announce his intention to run for Mayor of Philadelphia. The popular founder, president and CEO of Brown’s Super Stores has a baker’s dozen Philly grocery stores, all ShopRites and Fresh Grocers, most intentionally located in food deserts. In addition to stocking fresh foods and local brands, these markets serve as what The Citizen has described as “de facto community centers.”

Although he’s largely a businessperson, not a politician, the Northeast Philly native has collaborated closely with Congressman Dwight Evans and has an impressive record of supporting equity, youth, and development in Philadelphia — and charisma to spare. The Citizen has referred to him as a “sophisticated political player.”

Brown chairs the Pennsylvania Workforce Development Board and serves on the boards of the Pennsylvania Food Merchants Association and Philadelphia Lawyers for Social Equity. For 20+ years, he chaired the board of the Philadelphia Youth Network. He and his wife founded and chair Uplift Solutions, a national nonprofit that supports food businesses, government and other nonprofits working to sustain underserved communities.

But, he’s decidedly unlike most Philadelphians, in that he and his family live in a $4 million+ home in Rittenhouse Square. In this way, however, Brown is a lot like fellow candidate Allan Domb, only Domb has done his time on Philadelphia City Council.

In January, Brown was endorsed by the city’s largest labor union, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees’ District Council 33, which represents 9,500 blue-collar city workers. 

Here’s what else we know about Jeff Brown

Brown takes a selfie with customers at the Parkside ShopRite. Photo from Brown’s Facebook page.


  1. HIS STORES HAVE EMPLOYED 700+ RETURNING CITIZENS. He’s also partnered with Ya Fav Trashman, Terrill Haigler, on an expungement clinic for returning citizens.
  2. IN ADDITION TO GROCERIES, BROWN’S STORES have offered onsite nutrition guidance, social work services, walk-in medical clinics for people without health insurance, credit unions, and low-cost bill pay.
  3. DURING COVID, HE JOINED JEFF BARTOS to create the Pennsylvania 30-Day Fund to provide small businesses with $3,000 forgivable loans.
  4. ALSO DURING COVID, HE HELPED PHA RESIDENTS ACCESS HIS STORES through a partnership with Uplift and Lyft.
  5. HE OPPOSED THE SODA TAX. He says it causes customers to do all their food shopping outside the city — and has caused him to eliminate jobs.
  6. HE’S A FOURTH-GENERATION GROCER. His dad, Lenny, had a neighborhood food store at 40th and Girard.
  7. HE WAS MICHELLE OBAMA’S GUEST AT THE 2011 STATE OF THE UNION, honored for his work bringing fresh foods to Philly neighborhoods without markets. (See video below.)

  1. Endorsements for Jeff Brown

AFSCME District Council 33. The city’s largest union of city workers — 9,500 blue-collar municipal employees — endorsed Brown. President Ernest Garrett told the Inquirer, “When you talk to Jeff Brown, it’s not like talking to a politician. It’s almost like you fall in love with the words that come out of his mouth.”

United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) locals 1776, 360 (cannabis workers), and 152. These UFCW members work in local grocery stores, drugstores, food processing plants, government services, manufacturing facilities, nursing homes, professional offices, PA Wine and Spirits Shops, medical cannabis facilities, healthcare, manufacturing, and the public sector.

Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) Local 108. Workers in clothing stores, jewelry stores, automotive service, parts and accessory stores, supermarkets, warehouses, manufacturing and the public sector.

Transport Workers Union Local 234. Represents SEPTA workers, among others. In a press release, TWU Local 234 President Brian Pollitt said, “The city needs to go in a new direction with leadership. As far as Mr. Brown is concerned, he’s our guy.”

Teamsters Joint Council 53. This drivers’ union consists of 29 local groups of 60,000 members in and beyond our region.

Citizen coverage of Jeff Brown

Videos featuring Jeff Brown


PBS Newshour:

Take it from Michelle Obama:

More ways to learn about Jeff Brown

Check out Jeff Brown’s campaign website.

Follow Jeff Brown on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram.

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The Philadelphia Citizen updates this profile and all our Philadelphia mayoral candidate profiles on a regular basis.

Every Voice, Every Vote is a collaborative project managed by The Lenfest Institute for Journalism. Lead support is provided by the William Penn Foundation with additional funding from The Lenfest Institute, the Wyncote Foundation, and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, among others. To learn more about the project and view a full list of supporters, visit Editorial content is created independently of the project’s donors.


Jeff Brown greeting the public at an event in Gorgas Park October 8. Photo via Brown's Facebook page.

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