Our Vendors 

Percy Smith: 2012 ‘Vendor of the Year’

Wed, Feb 6, 2013

StreetWise Vendor Percy Smith recaps 2012 as the Vendor Representative and talks about his goals for 2013 and the honor he received as the “2012 Vendor of the Year.”

Who inspired you to want to become the Vendor Representative for StreetWise?

Two very notable vendors… Roark Moody and Everett Atkins. Moody was good at doing work inside the office and Evertt was good at community-oriented situations to make [the public] aware of what StreetWise is. Both go hand-in-hand, and that’s a part of the work I do. Moody would cook a ton of food for the vendors and help internally. He would get supporters to open up a venue where all the vendors could come and eat for free. It was great. And Everett told me about DePaul’s Free Enterprise Program, which taught me sales. It taught me to know my area, so when a customer asks me something about [the neighborhood], I should be helpful and be “street wise.” I’m wise to the streets in the area that I’m in.

What’s the greatest lesson you learned from Everett?

He was all about being a community advocate and building up the name of StreetWise. He wanted people to know that we aren’t beggars. We are really intelligent people here. ‘No, I’m not a bum begging for change. I’m a salesperson selling a magazine full of hard-to-find information.’

What’s the greatest impact that StreetWise has had on your life?

The thing about StreetWise is that it taught me how to love people. I used to have a really standoffish attitude about people. But since selling StreetWise Magazine, I’ve experienced some miraculous things. When someone takes the jacket off their back to give it to you so you could stay warm, that’s amazing. And that’s happened and I never thought someone would do that. And I didn’t ask for it.

As the Chair of the Substance Abuse Program at StreetWise, how has that developed this year?

The Substance Abuse meetings have been taking leaps and bounds, because we’ve got people coming from all over the world now, from Germany to Israel to Japan. And these people are learning to change their life and want to be a part of something good.

You won the 2012 Vendor of the Year Award. Is there anything you’d like to say?

I just appreciate it and I didn’t expect it. I was totally surprised when they said [my name]. But this year, people could see what I was doing, I was more visible. So ‘thank you’ to all of my supporters and friends. You’re more than a customer, because you’ve been supporting StreetWise and me and I am all gratitude for those things.

Written by Brittany Langmeyer,
StreetWise Staff

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