Our Vendors 

Wilton Kimbrough: Hard worker & loving father

Fri, Jun 13, 2014

Wilton Kimbrough and Gregory Pritchett, StreetWise Director of Vendor Services and Distribution

Wilton Kimbrough and Gregory Pritchett, StreetWise Director
of Vendor Services and Distribution

StreetWise Vendor Wilton Kimbrough has been a vendor for about 14 years. He currently sells his magazines at Madison and Wells in front of Walgreens and at West Diversey in fromt of Market Place, seven days a week. He is 74 years old, but full of vibrance and pep.

How did you come to Chicago?

I’ve been in Chicago since I was 12 years old. I was born in Mississippi and raised by my grandmother. Then we came to Chicago.

Why do you enjoy selling StreetWise?

I’m the kind of a person that likes people and I like to be with people that are sensible or people that are trying to do something good. I like to be involved with people, and that’s mainly what I’m about.

Have you always been a hard worker?

I had a paper route when I first [came to Chicago]. I was 12 and it was up on Taylor Street. I used to get up at 5 a.m. in the morning and go and sell my newspapers. Then I’d come back in time to go to school. I did this, because my mother didn’t have a lot of money, so then I got a job after school at the hot dog stand. I would peel the onions and [cook hot dogs]. Those are the things that I learned from my parents, which is how to make a living and how to be alright with people. And everything will come out alright for you.

How do you connect with your customers?

I just say, “Good morning” or “How are you today?” I don’t make a big deal and I don’t try to cross nobody out. I don’t talk down to nobody. That’s the kind of person I am. Like I said, I have respect for people, both men and women.

Looking back, would you change anything about your life?

I don’t think I would change anything. My wife passed away and I never got married no more. It was just something that I never did. You can’t go in pieces when something like that happens. That’s the way it is. I really don’t make changes too much. I just smile when something is good and I just keep on going.

Do you have any family nearby?

My children, I have a son and a daughter. One of my sons died from a cocaine addiction. He did something that I told him that he should never do. But the other ones, they’re working and going along. And they all care about their dad. My daughter is married. [My son and daughter] come around me every day. And if I get sick, they’re right there for me. Because I never throw my kids under the bus, that’s not me.

What do you like to do for fun?

If I have spare time, I like to go fishing in the summer time. I come from a farm. But mostly I’m at home, especially if it’s colder. And when my son-in-law and daughter come by the house, we have barbecues and stuff. And they look out for me. So I’m comfortable with who I am now and with what I’ve done. And I’m happy for my kids.


Felicia Nichols & Brittany Langmeyer
StreetWise Intern & StreetWise Staff

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