There’s lots of love in Philly; Brotherly love, love displayed via public art — and love for vegan food. With spots like Vedge, Charlie Was a Sinner, and Miss Rachel’s Pantry, the metropolis is known for being very vegan-friendly.
Now, the city might be adding a vegan convenience store to its list of attractions. Bloggers Carmella Lanni and Carlo Giardina (known as The Food Duo) have launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund a new retail concept: V Marks the Spot.
The plan is to create a vegan convenience store that offers locally-sourced products, vegan specialties, and familiar favorites — both in store and online. Given the lack of all-vegan retailers, the couple wanted to create something that made accessing cruelty-free products a lot easier for everyone.
“We want [V Marks the Spot] to be a meeting place for vegans and non-vegans alike to learn and share about compassionate living,” explains Lanni. “We want people to feel good about where they shop and what they buy. We want people to feel that a business ‘gets’ them and vice versa. It’s about supporting one another.”
The store will also offer an online community support network with discussion boards, a blog, videos, and event listings. If they’re able to rent a big enough spot, the couple also plans to host cooking demos, events, and other on-site activities. Currently, they’ve scoped out four potential Philly neighborhoods.
For Lanni and Giardina, convenience means more than just on-the-go eats. “We really see the store being ‘convenient’ in bringing people together and showing that a vegan lifestyle is inclusive and diverse,” Lanni adds. They want it to be a local meeting place, as well as a larger resource for vegans and veg-curious folks who may be further away.
“While we’ll be based in Philadelphia, we look at the idea of ‘Community. Compassion. Convenience’ as being global. Ultimately, we want to show that veganism is for everyone. It’s not a goal to be attained.”
As far as support and guidance, the couple’s family has over 50 years of experience in the food industry, and offers plenty of input. They also have a mentor from SCORE through the Small Business Administration.
As far as the future, the duo has big ideas. “Five to 10 years from now, I’d love to see V go the next level,” says Lanni. “What’s that? Maybe a B&B with a little shop inside or a second location. Who knows. We’re just excited to see what the future holds for us, the shop, veganism and all animals.”