Toledo Streets Changes Downtown Toledo Lives Through Local Paper
Toledo Streets is a local street paper published the first Thursday of every month. The content of the paper focuses on social justice issues. In everyday life, the newspaper is the catalyst for economic empowerment to men and women in our community who are facing poverty. Through selling newspapers, Toledo Street newspaper vendors receive critical income and professional development in addition to the dignity and confidence that come with running their own business.
How it works
The mission of Toledo Streets is to inspire hope, foster community and cultivate change in individuals and society. Anyone over the age of 18 can become a self-contracted vendor, receiving a badge, a sign, and a waiver of vendor fees courtesy of Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz of the City of Toledo. To be considered an active vendor, individuals attend weekly sales meetings where they enjoy a meal, network and buy papers to sell. Currently, the paper has about 50 total vendors in the city limits, including 23 active vendors.
All vendors have the opportunity to contribute content for the paper at a rate of $0.05 per word. There are three to five vendors that are contributing to the paper at this time. Program Director John Keegan said that contributions aren’t limited to vendors alone. “Ideally, all of our content would come from the vendors, we don’t always have vendors that are interested in writing, so we have contributors from local high schools or the general public that will send in stories.”
The beauty of Toledo Streets is that anyone can get involved. Those who are motivated to get out and sell will have every opportunity to do so. Papers sell for $1 apiece, and when the free papers are sold, vendors have the opportunity to buy new papers for $0.25 each, making at least a 75% profit. “The papers are sold for $1 a piece but our vendors are averaging $2.50 per paper. That says a lot about Toledo and the compassion of this community,” said Keegan.
Does it get results?
Vendors for Toledo Streets benefit from a flexible, scalable business supported by Toledo Streets staff. Vendors can come back for regular training, earn a permanent vendor badge, and build job skills while reaching sales incentives and collecting valuable income.
In addition, Toledo Street staff helps vendors write resumes and search and apply for jobs. It all leads to significant, measurable professional development and bigger, better opportunities down the road. In 2016 alone, 14 Toledo Streets vendors found full-time employment after selling newspapers.
More than just a newspaper
Toledo Streets isn’t just a paper. It’s an opportunity. Vendors are changing their lives and the lives of those around them through their hard work every day. And by finding success through selling, they’re proving that no circumstance is too much to overcome.