Lancaster Avenue has long been a must see when you visit Powelton Village. The numerous niche shops which inhabit the street seem to constantly draw shoppers’ attention. But the shops are not the only thing bringing in the crowds; the avenue also offers numerous artistic shows which contribute to the neighborhood’s already dynamic community reputation.
As the businesses on the avenue continue to grow, one business owner who recently opened her store commented on how the neighborhood has treated her.
Phyllis Jones Carter and her good friend, Ada Miller opened A Part of Me, a consignment and gift shop on 3834 Lancaster Ave., last November. The name of the shop comes from a tribute to Carter’s late son and friend.
“This building was burned out when we first bought it,” said Carter.
The state of her shop was not an unusual occurrence as the co-owner of a coffee and teashop up the street from her also commented on her space.
“This place was a mess when we bought it,” Tracey Reed, of Reed’s Coffee and Tea House, said. “There was Plexiglas where apparently the person who owned the building before us talked through a window to their customers.”
Reed’s Coffee and Tea House, a family business, sits almost on the corner of 38th and Lancaster. Although both businesses faced some hurdles when renovating the spaces, they do not seem to regret the work.
Reed boasted her shop — which opened in March — sold the most delicious tuna salads and friends race each other to get there.
Though it’s too soon to comment on how much profit this business has garnered, Reed is confident they are doing well.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for A Part Of Me right now.
Carter, who enjoyed success early on in the year, said July and August were generally bad months for consignment shops and expected to see more profit in the fall.
Both business-owners said they are integrating into the neighborhood quite well, take what the small community is known for and applied it to their own customer service.
“I want this to be more than a store,” Carter said. “I don’t want to be rich, I mean I want to make money but that’s not what this all about. I want people to know they can come into the shop, have a glass of wine, sit on the couch, relax and vent if they want.”
“We want people to be able to come and have a place to just get away from their life for a while,” Reed similarly acknowledged.
Although the customers have been a mix of people, A Part Of Me has had some problems getting students to visit the store.
“I do think it would be good to find more ways to get students this direction because I think they tend to stagger to a certain point and then they don’t go much further,” said Reed. “We’re lucky because we sell coffee and students drink coffee. But for other stores, we have to find ways to market to the students.”