Ariell Johnson owns Amalgam Comics & Coffeehouse, the East Coast’s only comic book store owned by an African-American woman. Photo by J. Fusco for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®. Featured Image
Philadelphia is rich in Black culture, heritage and history. The tradition carries on in Philly’s array of Black-owned and -operated shops, restaurants, galleries and bars. Need some serious comics? Amalgam Comics & Coffeehouse. A made-to-measure suit with Super Bowl cred? Damari Savile. Place to spend the night? West Philadelphia’s Philly music-maker-themed Akwabaa Inn. Have a long list of great people to gift shop for? Options for the perfect something abound.
Here’s a traveler-tailored list of some of the city’s standout Black-owned businesses:
Boutiques & Shops:
Amazulu Collections – Charita Powell, owner. Seven days a week and for nearly 30 years, this popular Reading Terminal Market stand has represented artists from all over the world and lived the motto, “where cultures meet.” For sale: handmade folk dolls, original paintings, body care, cultural clothing—including Urban Karma, Powell’s pattern-rich clothing collection for women and men—and her signature sterling silver jewelry of her own design, made by Indonesian artisans. 12th & Arch Streets, (215) 627-8667, @amazulucollections
Blue Sole Shoes – Steve Jamison, owner. A specialist in fine Italian footwear, Jamison established his sunny Rittenhouse boutique in 2007 to cater to high-end tastes in men’s shoes, socks, accessories—and customer service. Among the designers in stock: Harris, John Richmond, Jo Ghost and Tateossian. 1805 Chestnut Street, (215) 496-9244, bluesoleshoes.com
3rd Element Spa – Tomika Branch and Chyvonne Shackelford, owners. Proving sisters make the best small business partners, this nail specialist and esthetician established their busy, full-service day spa in the West Oak Lane community where they grew up. Popular here: Oxygen facials, gel manicures, detox pedicures, plush waxing, lash and brow enhancements, massages and 3rd Element lip balm and body butter and wash. 7175 Ogontz Avenue, (215) 276-2633, @3rdelementspa
BeautifitStrong – Audra Anusionwu, owner. Anusionwu, a wellness coach and health advocate, helps bodybuilders and all her clients achieve their ideal physique. Her intimate East Falls studio offers small group and personal training. 3510 Scotts Lane, Suite 3018, (215) 432-0414, beautifitstrong.com