BRONZEVILLE — Kenya Reaves says shoppers don't need to leave the neighborhood to find great gifts.
“We want our community to know that you don't have to go up north, but you can shop right in your own community for great things,” said Reaves, the owner of Absolutely Anything Essential Gift Shop in Bronzeville, which operates as a one-stop-shop for customers on the South Side seeking unique gifts.
The gift shop, at 3521 S. King Dr., which opened Oct. 22, is a central hub, offering products for 20 different vendors. Options include handmade greeting cards, accessories, jewelry, gourmet chocolates, art, books and more.
The gift shop is located at 3521 S. King Dr. [Photo/Andrea V. Watson]
On Sunday, from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., dozens of vendors will be on site and customers can take 20 percent off their purchase with the coupon, which can be found online at www.absolutelyanythingessential.com.
Many of the predominantly black entrepreneurs she works with now, she met at past vendor events.
Reaves has been making her own body scrubs for a year and a half and sells her Absolutely Anything Essential Signature Line in the Bronzeville store. She carries products with more than two dozen scents, some made with essential oils and others have fragrances like apple or almond.
“We want to give customers the option, so we have holistic oils, but if you want to go Bath and Body Works, then we have fragrances for you, too,” she said.
Reaves also hosts craft-making classes, with professionals coming in to teach “Deck your Table Out” and “Ornament Painting” classes. The plan is to host weekly classes and events.
Entrepreneur Renee Tucker of Gream Bling Fashion Nee sells her blinged-out T-shirts with art, African pride or spiritual quotes at the gift shop. She said she loves Reaves’ idea to bring similar products all together under one roof.
“It’s awesome,” said Tucker, a Bronzeville resident. “It gives a lot of people who started out as vendors the opportunity to get more exposure.”
Tucker said she’s able to network with the other small business owners.
Besides the gift shop, Reaves has been working on a theater company included in the three-story building she owns: the first floor is the gift shop and the other two will be for FAM Entertainment Theater Company. She won’t fully start using the space until January, but said people can inquire now about renting the space, which can seat up to 100.
She envisions people using the theater for private parties, television show viewing parties, poetry events, auditions and more.
She wanted it in Bronzeville, she said.
“They walk to their entertainment venues on the North Side, so if you’re looking for a place you can walk to in your own community, this is it,” she said.
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