Amid all the headlines about mega-projects coming to Camden, a small store with big goals has opened in the city's Parkside section.
The Made in Camden Store at 1216 Haddon Avenue aims to showcase local goods and support local entrepreneurs, Ajeenah Riggs says from behind the counter. "We want this to be a community friendly space."
Riggs, 38, is a partner in the store with Eric Powell, the founder of the My Heart BeatZ clothing line. She sees the modest establishment -- which currently offers a few racks of hoodies, sweatshirts and T-shirts -- as a catalyst for local artisans, craftspeople, and producers of all kinds.
"A 16-year-old girl who came here for an open mic night wrote a book, so we had a book-signing for her," Riggs says, calling my attention to a window display of 'Words in My Head,' by Zhariya Amani. "We had a full house. It was beautiful."
I arrive at the store just after Craig and LaKenya Linton, who design a line of Christian-themed apparel called Hustling Spirit. The West Deptford couple heard about the Made in Camden Store through social media.
"We have an online store, but we need a brick-and-mortar" outlet, Craig says.
Made in Camden also will host a toy and clothing drive, Operation Heart Beatz, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, December 13. Call 856-379-6036 for information.
"We're still a work in progress," Riggs says. 'People give up so fast in Camden! But I didn't come here to fail."