The commercial corridor on Lancaster Avenue is home to many businesses and residents who are passionate about their community. The people who have opened up shop are actively participating to support their neighbors and help the community thrive.
Phyllis Jones-Carter, owner of A Part of Me, has been actively taking part in supporting local businesses in order to establish a network in the Lancaster Avenue community. She hosts small business meetings in her shop and works with People’s Emergency Center (PEC) to help the growing area thrive.
Philadelphia native Pearl Bailey-Anderson opened up her beauty salon, La Pearl Beauty Emporium, in the Hawthorne Hall in 1996. Since opening her shop, she has become passionate about helping her clients with alopecia, scalp disorders and hair shaft abnormalities. Anderson herself suffers from balding and became a trichologist in order to find solutions for herself as well as others. On Martin Luther King Jr. day, she opened her salon to homeless women in need of hair care and served more than 70 women. Anderson hopes to do this again in future months as a way to take part in her community.
Marcus Williams, owner of Styles by Marc has been successfully running his barber shop for the last four months. However, the hair stylist has a variety of other creative interests including careers in documentary film-making and interior design. Williams expressed that he would be willing to leave his career as a stylist in order to pursue other creative outlets but for now, he is continuing to run his business to indulge in his creativity. He styled hair at recent Philadelphia Fashion Week events.
Leo Gadson, 67, has made a career out of jazz music over the past three decades. No, he has never played jazz. Gadson, an event coordinator, grew up listening to his older brother play jazz and developed an ear for the genre. Gadson says that it was not until the Vietnam War, when he served in the infantry, that he gained a new appreciation and fell in love with jazz. He’s been booking shows every second and fourth Friday along the commercial corridor of Lancaster Avenue. He has also successfully put together the Lancaster Avenue Jazz Festival for the last eight years.
“The secret,” Gadson says, “is I grab the big artist, the one who everyone knows, and then surround him with local artists.
Between owning and running Reed’s Coffee and Tea House and working as a truck driver, George Reed has his hands full. Reed, 62, opened the café two years ago with his wife Kathleen after he drove by the vacant space during his work shift. He spent one year renovating the space by himself with no previous experience. Although his customers love the cozy coffee shop, Reed admitted that he was self-conscious about his café at first because it couldn’t compete with the clean cut aesthetic of Starbucks. He has since realized that the eclectic look and small space is what appeals to the neighborhood regulars. Between both jobs, Sunday is his only day off. When asked what he does with his spare time, he said, “I lay down.
– Text and Images by Milena Corredor and Katelynn Luczkow