Yowie is one-woman empire from local entrepreneur with boutique, cafe and hotel on South Street

Alicia Vitarelli Image
Wednesday, September 27, 2023
Yowie is one-woman empire with boutique, cafe and hotel on the corner of 3rd and South Streets
Yowie is one-woman empire with boutique, cafe and hotel on the corner of 3rd and South Streets in Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- At the corner of 3rd and South Streets, a local entrepreneur, designer and dreamer is in her "manifestation" era.

Shannon Maldonado's Yowie started as an artsy, one-of a-kind boutique in Queen Village.

It has now blossomed into a full-blown community hub, with a brand new cafe and a 13-suite hotel.

"Yowie is Australian for Bigfoot," Maldonado says. "It's a mythological creature, something that may or may not be real."

That elusive, mystical narrative echoes Maldonado's own journey.

"I was feeling that I wanted to do my own project that had a totally different approach," she says.

The South Philly native started her career in fashion in New York City. Seven years ago, she brought her vision, and her business, back home.

"I love sharing all the amazing things happening in the city," she says. "I am one of our biggest ambassadors."

From pop-ups, to a shop on Fabric Row, she recently expanded to a big corner lot on 3rd and South Streets.

"We're now standing in the new Yowie that opened last month, which is a gift shop, a cafe and a 13 room hotel," she explains.

It's the kind of vibe, Maldonado says, that feels like your cool friend just gave you the keys to their apartment.

"I'd picture someone ordering food or making dinner and kind of sitting here with like the lights dimmed," she says in one of the suites, which features a kitchenette.

Each suite has its own personality, with extreme pops of color, textures and textiles. They are decorated with items you often can buy in the boutique downstairs.

"Like for example, these pillows will be available in the shop on Friday," Maldonado says. "If you love this couch and you want to customize it, you can come downstairs and we can help you order it."

Maldonado curates the shop with things she loves, like food, fashion, art and accessories.

"We can't keep sunglasses in stock," she says, "That's a new thing for us."

The cafe is called Wim. She calls it "a dream beyond dream."

"I'm really proud," Maldonado adds. "I came to South Street a lot as a teenager. 'Teenage' me is fully freaking out that that I own a space on South Street. It really is starting to feel like an anchor for the neighborhood."

Shannon also creates her own guides to the city that are specific and stacked with things she loves: her favorite French fries, cultural spots, must-sees, restaurants and more.

There's one in every suite, along with a shopping list of where you can buy everything in there - from the furniture to the bathroom tiles to the shade of paint.

For more information on Yowie, CLICK HERE.