Our Vendors 

Gerald Farmer: Drive to succeed

Wed, Apr 4, 2012

Gerald Farmer is a nine and a half year veteran vendor of StreetWise. He lost his job at a warehouse that sells wholesale auto parts in 2002. Two vendors at Farmer’s church informed him of employment opportunities at StreetWise. Farmer has worked several temporary jobs since then, but he has maintained employment at StreetWise throughout this period.

“SteetWise means a lot to me,” Farmer said. “Jobs right now are hard to find unless I go back to an agency, and then it’s quick cash. I’ve done manual labor, dock work, filling, packing, stocking, shipping, receiving and dishwashing.”

Greg Pritchett, director of distribution and vendor services at StreetWise, led Farmer’s orientation nine and a half years ago and has maintained a strong relationship with him since.

“Gerald is probably trying to find jobs some other places,” Pritchett said. “You can tell. And you can tell that maybe the some of the doors were getting closed on him. So he realized, hey, he could create his own destiny with StreetWise. Gerald takes this very seriously.”

Competition with panhandlers and complaining customers are obstacles he has overcome. After moving around to several locations, he has found a comfortable place to vend in Glencoe.

“In the city I had to compete with the panhandlers,” Farmer said. “People would give them money over me. In Glencoe I don’t receive that kind of harassment.”

Pritchett said Farmer’s persistence has paid off. “As long as his relationship with the business is fine,” he said. “Just be consistent and continue to go. There is always something that comes up that would stop someone else from working. It doesn’t stop Gerald. He still goes. He still works.”

Farmer lives with his mother and brother. StreetWise provides him with a means to help with the bills and pay for necessities. “Right now I’m just making enough money where I’m able to feed myself and pay my mother a little bit,” he said. “I can put a little money into church too.”

Farmer spends free time reading about stereo equipment. His brother is a DJ and he enjoys tooling with sound systems. Farmer also has a passion for cars. His favorite television shows are about building houses and cars. He has used his StreetWise profits to help purchase a vehicle in the past.

“Gerald does pretty well with StreetWise,” said Pritchett. “Gerald bought himself a car one time selling StreetWise. He’s probably saving up to get another one.”

Pritchett is correct. After owning several used cars that have not lasted, Farmer is looking to buy something a little newer.

“I had a ’91 Buick Regal, a Dodge Shadow and a Toyota Camry, but that didn’t run too well,” Farmer said. “I’m trying to figure out a way I can save for a new car, but I don’t have any credit because with StreetWise you get paid in cash.”

Pritchett suggested vendors who are interested in building credit and maintaining a bank account take advantage of classes like Personal Banking 101. StreetWise has teamed up with CommuniTeach, a local PNC Bank, and a Chicago attorney to show a class how to open a bank account and other money managing skills.

Written by Andrew Marciniak,
StreetWise Editorial Intern

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