You can find Gwen at the Starbucks Coffee at Broadway and Roscoe in Lakeview, the Walgreens at Clark and Catalpa in Andersonville, or Starbucks Coffee at 103rd and Longwood.
What did you do before StreetWise?
I used to be a shirt presser at a Dry Cleaner in Evanston. They only needed temporary help.
How did you get started at Streetwise?
I was panhandling over on Roosevelt, and the police told me to stop. They then told me about Streetwise and what it was all about. I didn’t want to have to panhandle anymore so it seemed like a good idea to me. I went to StreetWise back in 1992, so it’s been sixteen years. It was only a quarter back then!
Where did you grow up?
In Chicago, on the south side of town. Never been out of Chicago in my life! I actually won some plane tickets at a festival! I think I might take a trip someday soon!
How long is the commute to get to your posts for StreetWise?
I live at about 56th and King Drive, so I would say about an hour. I just catch the green line to the red line.
Do you sell your paper everyday?
Yes, unless the rain messes me up, haha.
What is your favorite neighborhood to work in and why?
Well, I’ve been working at Broadway and Roscoe for years! I think that is my favorite spot in the morning. In the evening, I think the Walgreens at Clark and Catalpa is my favorite. I sell at Walgreens, but I walk up and down the street. There are a lot of stores and restaurants up there with nice friendly people.
What is your business strategy when you sell papers?
Just a smile and a God bless! (laughs) All you have to do is say “StreetWise” help the homeless. It came natural.
What are your goals for the future?
I want to retire soon. I’m 61; I’d like to retire. But I like selling my own paper and being my own boss.
Is there anything else you want to add?
I want to thank all my beautiful customers out there! They are friendly and loving and I love all of them. Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!