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‘I just think about how I can support other people in our community.’

zhi zhang china show co
Zhi Zhang poses for a photo in her store, China Show Co. in September 2021 (Photo by Khysir Carter)

Zhi Zhang

Owner of China Show Co., a retail store at 3061 Kensington Ave.

Interviewed in September 2021

Editor’s Note: The following responses have been edited for clarity and brevity. This interview was interpreted by Esther Hio-Tong Castillo, the project manager at the Chinese Immigrant Family Wellness Initiative (CIFWI) from the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation (PCDC).

1. How were things for you and your business in the beginning of the pandemic? How would you compare the state of your business from then to now?

During the beginning of the pandemic, I closed down for about two months. It was from March 23 to June 5. Now, it’s about the same. Not many people come into the shop.

2. Can you describe how the City of Philadelphia has supported business owners throughout the pandemic? Have you felt supported by the city?

The City helps clean up the streets, and cops are walking around. New Kensington Community Development Corporation (NKCDC) is really helping everyone in this neighborhood. 

I didn’t apply for any grants. We are just trying to support ourselves, and I have to work all the time. So I don’t know what kind of documents are needed to apply for any assistance. And I work long hours. So, I can’t go anywhere to ask.

3. Can you share your experience with managing safety in your business throughout the pandemic? (mask mandates, capacity restrictions, social distancing, etc.)

It’s been pretty easy because I have my mask on, and other people noticed that I have it on, and they willfully just put their masks on.

4. Can you share any moments in the last year where you faced a challenge that required you to find new ways to operate due to the pandemic?

In the beginning, there were some difficulties. Like wearing masks, for example, it was hard to convince my clients to wear a mask. Now, people are so used to it. It’s hard for me to get used to not wearing a mask now.

5. What is the best way for people to support your business?

I haven’t really thought about how other people can support me. I just think about how I can support other people in our community. I have three kids, and I am grateful that I have a job.

Editors: Khysir Carter, Jillian Bauer-Reese, Solmaira Valerio, Zari Tarazona / Designer: Henry Savage

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