Philly startup opens city's first PPE store

The Philly PPE Store in South Philadelphia opens on Tuesday.
Photo credit Mike DeNardo/KYW Newsradio
PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A local startup aims to make it easier for you to get personal protective equipment during the pandemic. The new venture is opening Philadelphia’s first PPE store on Tuesday, with plans to locate PPE vending machines throughout the city.

The Philly PPE Store at 1805 E. Passyunk Avenue sells disposable masks, hospital grade N95 masks and novelty Gritty masks, as well as disinfecting wipes and bottles of sanitizer. Entrepreneur and political communications pro Ben Waxman said Philly PPE also aims to put ten PPE vending machines throughout the city.

“It’s hard exactly to know the demand. Because quite frankly, there’s only a handful of these machines deployed anywhere in the country that are selling PPE as vending. So we certainly are talking a little bit of a risk there,” Waxman said.

Waxman and business partner Nathaniel Parks decided to take that risk after hearing about a New York company putting PPE machines at Suburban Station

According to Waxman, the idea was born when business partner Nathaniel Parks was trying to secure PPE for a political campaign. Then they heard about the machines at Suburban Station. And Waxman thought, “Does this have to be some New Yorker that comes and does this, or can we figure out how to do this here in Philly?”

In addition to the store which opens Tuesday, Waxman says Philly PPE is negotiating to locate ten of its own PPE vending machines at high-traffic locations in Philadelphia.

The company’s first vending machine is at the PPE store, selling disposable masks and disinfecting wipes for $1. The Gritty mask is the most expensive item in the machine, at $12.​