Brooklyn, New York—A black-owned, arts and crafts store called Afrikaan Crafts is opening its doors in Harlem.
The store is located in the historic, former African American district of Midtown, just down the street from the Museum of Modern Art.
“We want to give the African American community a place to shop, eat, drink and play together,” Afrikaas co-owner, John Williams, told the Daily News.
Afrikaans Crafts, a community-owned craft store in Harlem, opened in the Harlem neighborhood of Midland Heights, Queens, in March of 2018.
The retail chain hopes to have the store open in early 2019.
According to the Daily Beast, Williams said the store has a long list of patrons who are African American.
“We have people coming in from all different walks of life,” he said.
Williams is the first African American to own a retail store in the US, according to the Atlantic.
He plans to hire a full staff of African American employees, who will be expected to bring their own African American accents.
The store will also have an “Afro-centric” vibe, Williams explained.
The African American and Hispanic community will be represented by a mix of African and Hispanic vendors, and he hopes the space will create a “homey, community feel” for the shoppers.
Alfre Woodard, the co-founder of Harlem’s Afrikan Black Art Museum, told The New York Times that the Afrikaani Crafts store “provides a safe space for young artists to learn, connect, and collaborate with each other.”
“The Afrikans Craft is a great opportunity for African American artists and black entrepreneurs to find a new community of like-minded individuals who share a passion for art, culture, and creativity,” Woodard said.
“As the nation continues to grapple with race relations, we need more opportunities to celebrate the history, diversity, and spirit of Afrika.”