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Community Business Collaborative Profile - Joe Boyd

Over the past few months, we have worked with 12 business owners from the West Philadelphia community to create websites for their businesses and give them the tools they need to succeed in the digital world. Now, with the launching of those websites, we want to highlight what these entrepreneurs do and how having a website has positively impacted their business. This week we are interviewing Joe Boyd, owner of Black Star Supply Company. You can check out his site at

Joe Boyd
Joe Boyd, Black Star Supply Company:

Joe has been living on the same street in Mantua since he was five years old. After marrying his wife, Pat Boyd, they decided to stay in Mantua and raise their family in the same community Joe grew up in. “I don’t sell this stuff to keep the lights on, I keep the store open so the kids know they have someone looking out for them.” Boyd also serves on the board of the Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships.

Where do you see your business in 5 years? And how can this collaborative help you achieve this goal?

We are here on 33rd St. and we started out in the Community Education Center on Lancaster Ave., and then we went to the Enterprise Center on Market St., we went from there to the Kirkbride Center. One of our biggest jobs is that we supply all of the grey paint for the Lincoln Financial Field, so we have some very big jobs that we have actually done in the past. The Market Street L, those columns that you see in the center going west on Market St. they’re materials that we supply for that renovation from 46th St. to 63rd. Another project that we did right here in Mantua was Presbyterian Homes. It is at 34th & Haverford. We provided and supplied all of the windows for that construction job. So to see where we might be in the next 5 years… there’s no telling. So we’ve done some big jobs, and the store that we have now, we actually landed here and started working here because it was available and we only live a block away. My home is a block away and my business is here. And believe it or not, the folks that work here are either family members or people that live in the community, so it’s just a fit for me. It’s a fit for the people I have known for 40 some years. Where we plan to go, where I see, my vision is to truthfully employ young folks who have a sense of entrepreneurship and bring them on as interns. Right now, we have 5 interns. We had one intern that actually went to an interview, was hired for the union, and is now working full-time as an electrician apprentice.

Why do you think it is important for your business to have a strong digital presence and how has your new website helped your business?

The importance of having a website is that folks don’t take you seriously in the digital age if you don’t have a website. It’s like not having a phone. If you stop someone on the street and say “Hey, give me your cell number” and they say “I don’t have a cellphone,” what’s wrong with this person who doesn’t have a cell phone? In business, if you tell someone you don’t have a website, they don’t take you seriously in terms of being a serious business owner. At the time that I spoke with the folks at the ExCITe Center, I was serving on the board at the Dornsife Center. They referred me of Blackstar to the ExCITe Center, and I said this is perfect timing. Because I was working with a client that said, “Joe, we are interested in doing business with you, but you don’t have a website. What we see is that the name is under construction. We need to know that you are really in business.” Another thing that came out of that was that one of my vendors sent a sales rep out and he said, “The reason we came out was that we saw your website, and we wanted to see more.” So it perked their interest, and he came out and we were able to expand our product line and increase our sales.

Name one place other than your business that you would recommend Drexel students go to within the West Philadelphia community.

Drexel student, go to the Dornsife Center. If I had to refer them to go to anywhere besides Black Star, go to the Dornsife Center.