The Good and Bad of Philadelphia Jobs

Philadelphia, Pa.  – Just three weeks ago Jasmine Payoute and I undertook the task of covering the niche job market here in Philadelphia.  At this point in time I would like to take a quick minute to look at the job market as a whole and the good or bad happenings as of today.


Reported by Natalie Kostelni of The Philadelphia Business Journal, the company will be brining 60 new jobs to its office in the Naval Yard, you can read the full story here.  What’s an important take away from this other than the 60 jobs that are being added, is the growth and success of the Navy Yard as a growing business center.

Francis Hilario, also of The Philadelphia Business Journal, is reporting 1 in 5 Philadelphia workers are looking to change jobs, for the full story read here.  The important take away again is that if workers are looking to change job means that there are jobs available.


If you are out of work and have been out of work . . .you are out of luck.  Recently U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, Pa(R), voted NOT to extend unemployment benefits for those who are out of work.  This action is taking place at a time when the region has been hit hard by harsh weather conditions; causing families to incur additional energy, food, incidental and repair costs.  For more related content click HERE or HERE.

Bags That Can Bear The Load

Owner Rolland Burns sits at R.E. Load entrance. /Photo credit Zachary Rendin

Owner Rolland Burns sits at R.E. Load entrance. /Photo credit Zachary Rendin

Philadelphia, Pa. – Finding a place in the fast-evolving consumer-driven marketplace isn’t all high-tech software development.  There is no better example right here in Philadelphia than R.E. Load.

Rolland Burns and Ellie Lum founded R.E. Load, located at 608 N. second St., in 1998; the name came from the first initials of each of their names.  Ellie and Rolland were both bike messengers at the time striving for a better product.

“Ellie and I didn’t like our bags and she knew how to sew.  We started making new bags and people just started asking us about them,” said Rolland.  The growth occurred organically over time.

In the early stages there was no storefront, it was just run out of a warehouse and began as mostly all custom orders.  A tipping point was in 2000 when the Cycle Messenger World Championship came to town.  “It brought all kinds of people from around the world into our shop,” said Rolland.  Today R.E. Load is able to distribute their handmade-in-America product globally to distributors in Japan, Germany and Switzerland.  Rolland estimates they move roughly 1000 bags a year, mostly through the online marketplace, but are still able to meet the needs of all the riders in Philadelphia as well.  This is all accomplished with just three employees, who typically don’t come from a background with strong sewing skills.  “Our employees are mostly artist or creative people, who fit in and can learn quickly.”

Geric Forsten works at R.E. Load /Photo credit Zachary Rendin

Geric Forsten works at R.E. Load /Photo credit Zachary Rendin

According to the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia as of 2008 at least 36,000 residents commuted to work via bicycle at least once a month.  Also, The League of American Bicyclist reported in 2012 that Philadelphia had a 300.6 percent increase in commuters via bicycle since 1990.  There is clearly a market for this product not just globally, but also right here at home.

The success of the product seems to be based on quality, word of mouth being the primary means of how others found out about the product.  A commitment to quality as well as customer care is paramount to R.E. Load.

“Quality, Philly-made, great people,” were words used by Heather DeRonck, who along with husband Bryan Van Arsdale, owns Bike Revolutions on 756 S. Fourth St.  “It’s a great product that they stand behind”, she said, “Whether you grab one off the shelf or customize your own they will last forever.”  This husband and wife team has owned the shop since 2006.   She continued, “Another great feature of the product itself is Rolland . . .you want to see independent like-minded people succeed.”

Of course the product is not just for bicyclist, really anyone who wants a high-quality customizable bag, to use for anything from fly-fishing to hiking.  R.E. Load arose without a grand scheme or business plan.  It began with two like-minded people willing to work hard and create a good product.  Their success came from making the best product out of the best materials, while maintaining a commitment to remain environmentally conscious.


Philadelphian Students Cover Unique Jobs and Small Businesses that Flourish within their Community

Christian Kunkel & Ali Quest work in their shared work space at Devnuts/ Photo Credit Zachary Rendin

Christian Kunkel & Ali Wiest work in their shared work space at Devnuts/ Photo Credit Zachary Rendin

Philadelphia, PA- The Baby Boomer job market is long gone and the jobs that were once eagerly awaiting anyone with a college degree are far from a sure thing.  However, what has been called “generation next” has not sat idly by waiting for the economy to hand them the solution.

Temple University Journalism students Jasmine Payoute and Zachary Rendin will give a fresh perspective on what the new-age job markets have to offer.  Thirty years ago jobs like video game tutoring and creating and running a sports and social club didn’t exist.  Advances in technology and social networking have offered a springboard to success. These entrepreneurs have looked at the market and carved out a place to call their own by putting up for sale what they do best.

Stories will highlight establishments like Indy Hall, a Philadelphia based company that gives entrepreneurs a relaxed comfortable environment where they can share ideas, form relationships and support one another regardless of profession. All of the people involved are self employed or small business owners.

Additional storylines will include: A day in the life exposes of start-up small businesses owners and breaking into the market, branching out on your own and how to get started, Philadelphia’s most unique jobs and different looks at the those that didn’t make it.  The goal is to bring attention to small companies and show that there are different ways of existing and creating jobs within the labor force with or without a college degree.

Jasmine and Zachary will also seek to highlight what the Philadelphia city government is doing to facilitate the growth of these new industries. They will also explore movement behind supporting “locally owned” and how zoning boards have kept out corporate franchises allowing these businesses to prosper.

With Philadelphia becoming a post-modern city staying relevant with needs of the market has created immense opportunity for the growth and development of unique industries.  Shining a light on the struggle to find their place among the noise will help expose these specialized start-ups looking to serve the needs of their neighbors.

If you or anyone you know has made their living in a unique and interesting way here in the Philadelphia area and wish to share your stories, feel free to contact Jasmine & Zachary and


Recent Work

22646caWelcome to the online portfolio created by Zachary Rendin.  This site was designed by Zachary to display a variety of work he has completed as a multimedia journalist. Below you will find his current media reel as well as some of his more recent work. Please have a look and contact him with any questions or inquiries for projects.