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One of the founding tenets of The Philadelphia Citizen is to get people the resources they need to become better, more engaged citizens of their city.

We hope to do that in our Good Citizenship Toolkit, which includes a host of ways to get involved in Philadelphia—whether you want to contact your City Councilmember about supporting Philly’s veterans and military families, get those experiencing homelessness the goods they need, or simply go out to dinner somewhere where you know your money is going toward a greater good.

Find an issue that’s important to you in the list below, and get started on your journey of A-plus citizenship.

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It's every citizen's first duty

Veterans Day and Memorial Day honor those who gave their time and their lives to protect our way of life. The least you can do is cast your vote.

Veteran-Owned Businesses in Philadelphia

Support these dozen-plus local businesses opened by local veterans after their military service

Veteran-Owned Businesses in Philadelphia

Support these dozen-plus local businesses opened by local veterans after their military service

On Veterans Day and Memorial Day, we honor members of the U.S. Armed Forces. Here in Philadelphia, we continue honor military every day in our museums, parks, cemeteries and historic sites. Another way to show you value military service: Support veterans by patronizing veteran-owned businesses.

Veterans are among the most civically minded citizens in the country. Many of them are also entrepreneurs: Some 2.4 million businesses nationwide are majority-owned by veterans, about 9 percent of all small businesses in the country.

Consider this guide just a start. The Greater Philadelphia Veterans Network (GPVN), founded by Navy veteran Alex Archawski in 2011, helps veteran small business owners increase their economic success.

Archawski hopes that, through learning about vet-owned businesses, people will gain a new perspective on the success of our veterans. “I think that the misconception is that we are all broken and that we all need help,” Archawski says. “And while there’s a percentage of people who do need services and care, there’s a high percentage who are exceptional leaders — they are bringing in skills learned in the service and applying them directly to their businesses. That’s not being spoken about enough.”

Below, a sampling of the consumer-facing businesses in and around Philly run by vets. For more, bookmark GPVN’s directory — and be sure to check back frequently as the list grows.



Mike Maher’s growing, Philly-based real estate company has launched a new nonprofit set to raise close to $200,000 to help underserved people buy homes
Mike Maher (center) with employees at Houwzer, a veteran-owned business

The real estate company formed in Philly by Navy vet Mike Maher offers home buying, selling and mortgage services, with salaried realtors, rather than commission-based — which the company says saves consumers on average $15,000 each.

Veteran plumbing, heating and cooling

Founded by a 10-year Air Force vet, Veteran promises “military grade” service, and also has a do-good mission: The company seeks other veterans to train and hire for the skilled work, and says it donates a portion of profits to veteran charities.

JDog Junk Removal & Hauling

A pickup truck hauls a trailer for JDog, a veteran-owned business in Philadelphia.
JDog, a vet-owned hauler, is known for its splashy fleet.

If you’ve spotted the telltale JDog trucks in your neighborhood (or seen the TV show), you probably already realized this: Military service is a huge part of the brand and the business. A national company founded by Army vet Jerry Flanagan and his wife, Tracy, in Berwyn, JDog has franchises owned exclusively by, and employing, veterans and their families around the country. (They offer a discount to customers who are vets, as well.) As the name says, they’ll remove all kinds of junk from your property, recycling or repurposing as much of it as possible to keep it out of the landfill.


Bellevue Strategies

Journalists and politicos know Bellevue Strategies for its government relations and strategic communications work, including lobbying on behalf of the African American History Museum to retain funding in the City budget. Less known might be that Mustafa Rashed, the company’s president and CEO is a former Navy officer who served in Iraq and Somalia.

Layer 8 Security

Kevin Hyde, a Marine Corps veteran who served at the National Security Agency, U.S. Cyber Command, co-founded Layer 8 to help companies strengthen their defenses against cyber threats. The Philadelphia Business Journal recognized the company as one of the Best Places to Work for three years in a row — many of the staff still serve in the military Reserve.

M3 Printing

A group of veterans stand together in front of a painted wall.
The M3 Printing crew, founded by an Air Force veteran

T-shirts, business cards, banners, calendars — you name it, M3 Printing has you covered with same-day and next-day printing. Founded by a U.S. Air Force vet, they also offer graphic design, binding and mailing services, and take jobs both big and small.

Milligan & Company, LLC

Founded by John Milligan, a Navy veteran, Milligan & Co is an African American-owned accounting and financial services company, which also consults on diversifying workforces for clients including SEPTA and the City of Philadelphia. The Philadelphia Business Journal named CEO Milligan a “Veteran of Influence” in 2018, for the work he has done in the community.

Agio Brand Solutions

Agio’s founder, Michael Tolassi, Jr., served four years in the Army before starting his swag business in 2013, with a civic-minded mission: The LGBTQ– and veteran-owned business based in University City hires its employees from the surrounding under-utilized business zone, a designation for communities in need of economic empowerment, gives them time off for civic engagement, and has worked to source its products from minority- and women-owned manufacturers. They also donate part of their proceeds to national nonprofits, including Wounded Warriors, 1% For the Planet and Rainforest Trust.


Farina Pasta & Noodle

Chef and U.S. Army veteran Daniel Lee tosses a carrot in the air for Farina Pasta and Noodle, his vet-owned restaurant
Farina Pasta and Noodle owner Daniel Lee

U.S. Army vet Daniel Lee and partner Joe Liang launched their noodle-focused biz during the pandemic — and it grew to be a wildly successful ghost kitchen. Now they’ve got a brick-and-mortar in Rittenhouse and continue to serve a mix of Asian and Italian noodle dishes like Thai peanut noodles and South Philly alfredo.


C Silhouette

Celeste Kenton, a Black woman, wears a floral dress and sits on a white seat while flower petals drift in the air in front of her. This is a photo for C Silhouette, her veteran-owned business.
C Silhouette owner Celeste Kenton

Army vet Celeste Kenton notes that she is probably one of few veterans in her particular line of work: A certified aesthetician, she specializes in body hair removal in her Black woman-owned business. C Silhouette calls East Falls home — and carries body and beauty care supplies to use at your home.


Former U.S. Navy Seal Jonathan Cleck is chief operating officer of this movable salon, founded by his wife, Stephanie Cleck, whose busy mom lifestyle inspired the company’s concept: Concihairge will send stylists to do your hair in your home in the Philly suburbs and Northern Virginia. The West Chester-based company also provides free haircuts to families at Ronald McDonald House.

Dub Fitness

When Erica Webster, an Army veteran, first started her women-exclusive fitness company, she told Forbes a few years ago, she found it hard to shake her military training. Turns out yelling at clients like a Staff Sergeant wasn’t exactly the kind of encouragement she needed. The toughness, resilience and experience, though, have served her and her clients well, even through the pandemic, when Webster had to pivot to online training. You’ll also find Dub Fitness as a sponsor for several local charities, including Laurel House, and the Veterans Multi-Services Center.

My Independence At Home

Founded by U.S. Army veteran Lisa Robinson, My Independence at Home offers home care for elderly folks and people with intellectual developmental disabilities. They also offer convenient services like prescription delivery and personal emergency response systems that can help keep your loved one safe in their own home.


Frag Out Clothing

Frag Out — a term for throwing a fragmentation grenade towards an enemy — sells men’s and women’s apparel and military-themed goods, like The General’s Hot Sauce, and offers custom screen printing. They provide a 10 percent discount for current and former U.S. military members and first responders and aim to continue hiring vets as they grow. According to founder Nicholas Franz, U.S. Air Force vet, “We want to provide local veterans with a smoother transition from military service while they find their new mission in life.”

Remastered InKind

This marketplace aims to help Black visual artists monetize and promote their work. Check out the splashy designs — including this Salute T, “to pay tribute to the millions of African descendants who’ve added to the American narrative.”


The merchandise floor at Trunc in Philadelphia, a veteran-owned boutique.
The merch display at Trunc in Philadelphia.

A lifestyle boutique whose tagline is “rooted in the cycle of life,” Trunc is a partnership between two life partners, Dorothea Gamble and Dagmar Mitchell. It’s a woman, African American and veteran-owned housewares shop in Northern Liberties that specializes in local, sustainable goods, including furnishings, clothes, scents and other accessories — including a line of “socially-responsible” goods.



At Attention Dog Training

Still trying to figure out how to live with your pandemic puppy? This King of Prussia dog training company, founded by CEO David Shade, after serving as a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division, promises to get your pooch sitting “at attention” was founded by. (You can see more of Shade’s Army-to-trainer story here.)


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Photo by Tiffany Edmundson / USDA

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